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South African Liberation Day – March 23, 2023

South African Liberation Day is observed on March 23 every year. The day is significant for the region since it is considered a watershed moment in the history of South Africa. The day commemorates the Cuito Cuanavale combat, which took place in 1988 in the Angolan province of Cuando Cubango, between the Angolan Army, assisted by Cuban forces, and invading troops from South Africa’s former apartheid state.

The combat in Angola’s southwestern region resulted in the withdrawal of the South African, A.N.C., and Cuban forces, as well as Namibia’s independence. The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale is remembered in various countries in the south of the continent.

History of South African Liberation Day

While versions of the combat and the larger conflict differ, the general crux is that the invaders were defeated, resulting in the freedom of neighboring Namibia and the eventual end of apartheid in South Africa.

At the time, South Africa controlled former German Southwest Africa and Namibia and was attempting to quell rebel outbreaks there. Communist Cuba and the Soviet Union backed communist-allied armies in Angola and Namibia. The United States, South Africa, and the rest of the world backed the opposing side.

It was a crucial fight of the larger Cold War, and not just a random South African invasion of Angola. Nevertheless, conflict was unavoidable when Namibian insurgents fled to Angola for refuge and South Africa supported pro-Western rebels in Angola.

South African soldiers fought the forces of Cuba and Angola in southern Angola from November 1987 to March 1988, but were decisively defeated on March 23, 1988. The victory at Cuito Cuanavale changed the face of southern Africa and was the region’s last major liberation battle. It was quickly followed by successful negotiations for Namibia’s independence in 1990 and the end of South Africa’s apartheid administration in 1994, allowing the region to progress toward regional development and integration.

This is a relatively new holiday with no established customs. However, during the first celebration in 2019, honors were awarded to people who had fought in the conflict and were still alive. The first commemoration took place on March 23, 2019, in Cuito Cuanavale. A museum has since been erected there and military weaponry has been preserved.

South African Liberation Day timeline

1988
The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale

The Cuito Cuanavale battle comes to an end on March 23.

1990
Nelson Mandela's Release

Mandela is released from prison.

1990
Namibian Independence

Namibia gains independence on March 21.

2019
The Inaugural Celebration

The first celebration takes place on March 23 in Cuito Cuanavale.

South African Liberation Day FAQs

What principles or ideas can South African Liberation Day teach us?

It is a day of contemplation and reaffirmation of our commitment to combat all forms of injustice and exploitation perpetrated on Africans. It is a day to ponder the significance of true liberty and African unity.

What is South Africa famous for?

South Africa, the African continent’s southernmost country, is known for its varied topography, remarkable natural beauty, and cultural diversity, all of which have made the country a popular tourist destination since the formal end of apartheid in 1994.

Which African country got independence first?

Ghana was the first African country to be free of colonial authority.

How to Observe South African Liberation Day

  1. Make South Africa your next vacation spot

    Southern Africa is an excellent choice for your next vacation. Its natural richness includes mountain ranges, wildlife habitats, beaches, plains, the Black Sea Coast, rivers, and hot springs.

  2. Enjoy the cuisine

    The majority of South African food is among the best in Africa. To celebrate, try culinary pleasures like biltong and droewors.

  3. Understand your legal rights

    Even if South Africa represents a distinct episode in history, it is critical to understand the fundamental meaning of freedom and your rights. Many individuals are uninformed of their legal rights and freedoms, and they must be educated about them.

5 Fascinating Facts About Africa

  1. It's the best location for bungee jumping

    The Bloukrans Bridge is the world's highest bungee jumping bridge.

  2. It could be the origin of Samba

    Samba is the traditional dance of Angola, and it is thought to be the origin of what evolved into samba in Brazil.

  3. The giant sable was rediscovered here

    The giant sable antelope, thought to be extinct for a long time, was recently discovered in Angola and has become a national symbol.

  4. It has the highest dune in the world

    Big Daddy is the highest dune in the Sossusvlei area.

  5. Namibia has the world's oldest desert

    The Namib Desert, the world's oldest desert, has existed for thousands of years, devoid of surface water but divided by numerous dry riverbeds.

Why South African Liberation Day is Important

  1. A significant date in history

    South African Liberation Day is a significant date in the history of the country. The celebrations have a feeling of breaking the rules for freedom.

  2. Remembering the fallen heroes

    Several attempts to liberate this area of Africa failed, with many people killed. The commemoration is an occasion to recognize all those who contributed to the unification of southern Africa.

  3. A day of reflection

    South African Liberation Day provides an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to be in a country where people may live freely. We don't always realize that some areas in the world are still under siege.

South African Liberation Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 23Thursday
2024March 23Saturday
2025March 23Sunday
2026March 23Monday
2027March 23Tuesday

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