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Art and culture are the hallmarks of Freedom Day activities in Joburg, with concerts and festivals planned. There is also a fun run.
JOBURGERS are in for a treat this Freedom Day with plenty of events scheduled across the city to celebrate this historic day. The day, on 27 April, marks the first post-apartheid democratic elections held in the country, in April 1994, which led to its first black president, Nelson Mandela.

hip hop heavy weight HHPHip-hop heavy weight HHPEvents in Joburg on Freedom Day include the Back to the City Hip-Hop Festival, an extravaganza concert by singer Sibongile Khumalo at the Lyric Theatre, as well as a fun walk for those who would like to celebrate in a healthy way.

About 14 000 young people are expected to head to Newtown for Back to the City, a music and art gathering with a sizzling lineup. It is the sixth time the annual festival is taking place, and it promises yet another fun day packed with artistic activities.

Back to the City
It takes place on the corner of Bree and Henry Nxumalo streets. The area will be closed to traffic on the day.

The lineup includes big names such as the multi-award winner, HHP, whose hit song Bosso ke Mang is all over the airwaves across the country. AKA, who walked away with three statues – including Best Newcomer – from the Metro FM awards in 2011, is also performing.

The new kid on the block, Zakwe, who surprised many when he scooped five nominations at the 18th annual South African Music Awards, which will be held two days after the event, is on the list.

Other well-known MCs who have taken South African hip-hop to the next level are also signed up, including Tuks Senganga, who is known for his Setswana rhymes, the number one Soweto boy, Pro Kid, L-Tido, Lez, Kanyi, Morale, Kwesta and 27 others.

Sibongile KhumaloSibongile Khumalo is performing at the Lyric TheatreThere will be two stages, 12 graffiti crews, dance crews, BMXers, skaters, a beer garden, a game zone and a chill zone. The activity-packed event is aimed at bringing the vibrant youth back to the city to celebrate Freedom Day, hip-hop and youth culture. Entrance is R60.

There is also a mini educational summit on the cards, where industry experts will share their knowledge with aspiring artists. The summit will be hosted by Ritual Stores at Museum Africa from 10am to 12noon.

Its aim is to use hip-hop culture as a tool to encourage critical thinking, social change and unity, while empowering communities through media, arts, education and independent initiatives. City of Johannesburg, Gauteng department of sport and recreation, Hype Magazine and Channel O are the festival sponsors.

Breath of Life
For those who prefer a different kind of music, Gold Reef City is the place to be, where the Lyric Theatre hosts Khumalo in her Breath of Life concert, a celebration of the day as well as of her two decades in music.

Freedom Day MarathonThe singer, whose voice is loved internationally, hopes to re-assert the importance of music as a powerful healing tool. She will take to the stage on April 27 and 28 in a demonstration of her performance prowess.

Khumalo says: “Each breath we take in love and gratitude comes out and fills the world with more love and beauty. Breath of Life appeals to all of us to live consciously and literally breathe life into our dreams.”

She shares the stage with another musical legend, Victor Masondo. Tickets prices range from R186 to R315, and the show time is 8.30pm on both days.

Freedom Day Marathon
Then, for those who like keeping fit and healthy, there is a Freedom Day Marathon where they have a choice of an 8km or 5km fun run or walk. The marathon will take place at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication in Kliptown, Soweto.

The marathon starts at 7am and the first 1 000 people to cross the line will get medals. Loads of fun is planned for afterwards, with live music performances and DJs. For children there’s jumping castles. Entery fee is R30 for adults and R15 for children.

A cultural parade will take place during the main celebrationsA cultural parade will take place during the main celebrationsFreedom Day’s national celebrations take place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, as usual. It has been 18 years since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, a journey filled with great growth. In celebrating this milestone, thousands are expected to gather at the Union Buildings.

The occasion also recognises the role played by the martyrs of the liberation struggle and celebrates those who continue doing good deeds for the upliftment of the country. The theme for the years is: “Working together to build unity and prosperity”.

Cultural parade
Celebrations begin with the annual 2km cultural parade organised by the national Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with the City of Tshwane. It is scheduled to set off at7am, and comprises people from various ethnic groups walking the streets of the capital city dressed in their traditional attire.

Drumming, singing and dancing are also to be expected, with international cultural groups from Zimbabwe, Burundi, Angola and Rwanda also participating. President Jacob Zuma is the speaker at the main event at the Union Buildings. He is expected to talk about the achievements that have been made in entrenching democracy and creating a better life for all.

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