TikTok creators share what Freedom Day means to Gen Z

Today marks 28 years of Freedom in South Africa. But times have drastically changed over the years with the digital age has infiltrated our lives and changed the way we see and do things.

We have a digital generation of stars made famous by platforms like TikTok.

The social media app has established itself as a place where culture starts and where creativity knows no bounds and people are able to freely express their beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and emotions.

Through the hashtag #FreedomToBeMe to express themselves, some of these self-made stars spoke about what this day means to them and their generation. These include KaylaKimKay, Sphokuhle. N, Chadjones957, and Baby Daiz.

Kayla Kim Lathitha, whose content is that of fashion, hair, and food, said she celebrates freedom everyday. A fan of Winnie Mandela or Rosa Park, a character she would play in a movie, Lathitha says to her freedom day means, being unapologetically you.

“Our ancestors have fought and gone through enough for us to walk in shackles. Stand up for what is right. Stand up when being excluded on the bases of race and gender. We are the change for the generations to come. We still have a long way to go.”

Chad Jones is famous for being a South African Asian, acing ekasi dance styles, with his mom and dad playing in on the fun. He says to him freedom is exactly what he does: “express myself freely through the music I dance to and the people I love.”

If he was the star in a Freedom titled movie he would call it, Do You. He said though that freedom may be a blessing, but it comes with certain responsibilities.

“Let’s appreciate the freedom we have as well as respect it,” said Jones.

Baby Diaz (David Manda Nzapa) is known for sharing skits, dances, and lip-sync performances. He said on this day he makes sure to go out and celebrate those that fought for freedom. He would love to play Chris Hani in a movie if he ever had the chance to.

“We must appreciate those that fought for us to have a better future with their lives. It’s our responsibility to keep their names alive and to also continue the narrative by never going back to our old ways,” said the social media sensation.

Sphokuhle. N who is best recognized for their dance and lip-sync videos says freedom days means “being able to do what I love without being judged for it”. In celebrating the day he binges on commemoration movies with friends and family and would happily take on a role of Sarafina – one of his favourites. Given the opportunity to create a Freedom day film, he says he woudl call it Gen Z fighters!

The TikTok community has been encouraged to join in the fun and celebrate their wins, gains, changes, and achievements that have come as a result of being unashamedly themselves.

Head of Content Programming Boniswa Sidwaba said: “the platform strives to provide the community with a space for freedom of expression, balanced with a safe and joyful environment for positive impact. With this campaign, we encourage South Africans to share stories on TikTok stories of how they continue to create and share their personal journeys while emphasizing how being online has empowered them to feel free to be themselves.”

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Mbalenhle Zuma

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