It’s 30 years since apartheid ended. South Africa’s celebrations are set against growing discontent


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By Nqobile Ntshangase and Gerald Imray, Associated Press

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Lenasia Eidgah in 2017 (Government Communication and Information System / Siyabulela Duda, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

South Africa marked 30 years since the end of apartheid and the birth of its democracy with a ceremony in the capital Saturday that included a 21-gun salute and the waving of the nation’s multicolored flag.

But any sense of celebration on the momentous anniversary was set against a growing discontent with the current government.

President Cyril Ramaphosa presided over the gathering in a huge white tent in the gardens of the government buildings in Pretoria as head of state.

He also spoke as the leader of the African National Congress party, which was widely credited with liberating South Africa’s Black majority from the racist system of oppression that made the country a pariah for nearly a half-century.

The ANC has been in power ever since the first democratic, all-race election of April 27, 1994, the vote that officially ended apartheid.

But this Freedom Day holiday marking that day fell amid a poignant backdrop: Analysts and polls predict that the waning popularity of the party once led by Nelson Mandela is likely to see it lose its parliamentary majority for the first time as a new generation of South Africans make their voices heard in what might be the most important election since 1994 next month.

AP has more details.

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