Celebrate Freedom Day in Cape Town with these proudly South African activities!

Freedom and democracy are at the heart and soul of South Africa. Every year on 27 April, the country celebrates Freedom Day.

Freedom Day is a public holiday that marks the anniversary of South Africa's first democratic national elections which took place on 27 April 1994 - 27 years ago! This was the first time that everyone of voting age could vote in South Africa; regardless of race. After the turbulent and dark history of apartheid, the country’s first democratic elections were a time of hope. Now every year on this day people across South Africa enjoy a public holiday to commemorate the long journey to freedom.

Freedom Day

Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

If you are in Cape Town this year, celebrate Freedom Day with these proudly South African activities:

Visit Robben Island

Situated just off the coast of Cape Town is Robben Island. This small island is most well-known for housing the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years. Numerous freedom fighters served time here and today, the island and prison are open to visitors as a museum.
Hop on a ferry and cruise across to Robben Island to embark on a museum tour. You’ll see a number of points of interest across the island including the prison itself and Nelson Mandela’s cell. It’s a sobering experience which offers insight into the country’s history and the sacrifices it took to get to where we are today.

Boats depart from the V&A Waterfront and you can book tickets online.

Robben Island

Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

Robben Island Tour

Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

Explore one of the city’s museums

Cape Town is home to a number of incredible museums. They cover art, culture, history, religion and the natural world - so there is something for everyone to enjoy! In the Company's Garden in the city centre you’ll find a number of fascinating Iziko Museums of South Africa including the South African Museum and the South African National Gallery which is filled with amazing artworks! Also in Company’s Garden you’ll find the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome which is the most advanced planetarium in Africa! Here you can watch amazing shows depicting our planet and the wider universe in the state of the art digital dome - it’s a super unique experience! Check out the show schedule here. Afterwards, why not take a walk around the picturesque gardens and enjoy tea and cake in the Company’s Garden restaurant? You can also explore the nearby Iziko Slave Lodge, the South African Jewish Museum and the District Six Museum.

Any art lovers out there? You should treat yourself to a visit to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa - the only one of its kind on the whole continent! It’s located in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront and there are several captivating permanent and temporary exhibits to explore. See more info on the website. You can also venture into the southern suburbs to explore the Norval Foundation. Here you can see visual art from South Africa and beyond, peruse the galleries and meander through the sculpture garden!

Norval Foundation

Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

Support local arts and crafts

Feel proudly South African by supporting local arts and crafts creators! The city and surrounds are bursting full of unique local finds. Take a walk through the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront which is a center for South African design. Here you will find small businesses selling fashion, art, ceramics, textiles and furniture. Green Market Square is in the heart of the city and is a colourful flea market filled with tons of arts, crafts and souvenirs. Woodstock is a hub for creatives! Pay visits to the Woodstock Foundry and the Old Biscuit Mill for your pick of beautiful local products.

The city center isn't the only place for gorgeous local finds. Montebello Design Center is situated in Newlands and is a project that supports local art, craft and design. Visit to explore the studios, workshops and nursery!

Montebello Design Center

Photo courtesy of Gesant Abed & Cape Town Tourism

Treat your taste buds and eat local

What could be more proudly South African than some great locally-produced food? Cape Town is a dream destination for foodies thanks to the cosmopolitan mix of restaurants and cuisines. Classic South African treats include koeksisters, gatsbys, milktark and, of course, a good old braai. Grab your favourites to enjoy on Freedom Day. Go super local and enjoy African fare at Gold Restaurant, Mama Africa or Marco’s African Place. For something different, seek out a small locally-owned restaurant and show them your support! Take a walk down one of your nearby streets or head somewhere slightly out of your normal routine to experience something new. One of the best places to find a number of local eateries in one place is at Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay. It is open from Friday - Sunday and is a vibrant mix of restaurants and small artisanal stores - it also has great views over the bay!

Bo Kaap

Photo courtesy of Gesant Abed & Cape Town Tourism

Enjoy a walking tour of the city

Get out and explore the city on a free walking tour! These are a great way to get to know more about Cape Town’s culture and history There are a number of walks to choose from depending on the company you choose to go with; from historic walks to exploring the colourful neighborhood of Bo Kaap. If you are looking for something more creative, you can embark on a street art tour in Woodstock (these walks you will have to pay for). Put on your comfiest shoes, grab some sunscreen and let's get walking!

neighborhood of Bo Kaap

Photo courtesy of Gesant Abed & Cape Town Tourism

If you can’t make it to any of these places on Freedom Day - don’t worry! They are open throughout most of the year for you to explore and celebrate South Africa’s history, culture and people.

South Africa’s history, culture and people

Photo courtesy of Cape Town Tourism