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Billboard In New York City’s Times Square Celebrates South Africa’s Freedom Day
There’s a new digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square that celebrates South Africa’s Freedom Day. The campaign is a collaboration between the South African Consulate General New York and South African Tourism.
Starting on April 27, South Africa’s Freedom Day, the digital billboard will be played on the 120-foot high screen on the NASDAQ building right in Times Square. Similar to the day Americans celebrate on July 4, South Africa celebrates Freedom Day as the day the country first began to have open, democratic elections, just 28 years ago.
South Africa’s first president, Nelson Mandela, will be featured on the digital display. Nelson Mandela fought to stop apartheid in South Africa, and endured prison time for inciting workers to strike while traveling outside of South Africa without the proper permits. He was released from prison and, according to the Nelson Mandela foundation he, “won the Nobel Peace Prize and on 27 April 1994 he voted for the first time in his life.” The election he voted in that year was the same election that made him President of South Africa.
Miriam Makeba will also be featured on the Times Square Billboard celebrating Freedom Day in South Africa. Born in Johannesburg, she was exiled for using her fame as a singer to boost her stance on ending apartheid. Specifically Makeba, “became known for songs that were critical of apartheid. In 1960 she was denied re-entry into South Africa, and she lived in exile for three decades thereafter,” reports Britannica. The country’s government even went as far as banning her records and revoking her passport.
The final person to be part of the digital display in Times Square will be Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Known as “Africa’s Peace Bishop”, Desmond Tutu was the first Black Anglican Archbishop in the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg. According to Nobel Peace Prize facts, Desmond Tutu presented a non-violent approach to ending, “South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime. Tutu was saluted by the Nobel Committee for his clear views and his fearless stance, characteristics which had made him a unifying symbol for all African freedom fighters.”
Motumisi Tawana, Consul General of South Africa in New York spoke about the importance of the Times Square digital billboard: “To realize our vision for the future, we must never forget our past… Join us as we commemorate the 28th anniversary of freedom in South Africa in one of the most vibrant locations in the world in Times Square on April 27.. This joint campaign with South African Tourism is a visual reminder that the price of our freedom was paid by generations of patriots. May their legacies continue to inspire the world toward a brighter future.”
These three were chosen for this billboard display because they each represent the fight for South Africa’s liberation. Miriam Makeba, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be proudly played in front of millions of people from around the world in Times Square starting April 27. The display can be found at West 43rd St. and Broadway until at least the end of May.