On April 27 South Africa will mark 25 years since its first democratic election. Greg Ardé was a reporter in KwaZulu-Natal on that heady day and witnessed Nelson Mandela casting his vote. He reflects now on the difficult journey the country has travelled.
The weather in South Africa’s major cities on Saturday, April 27 is expected to be a mild 20 degrees Celsius. For the middle classes, it will be a good day to kick back, relax and maybe do a spot of shopping.
For the poor, in a country with the world’s highest Gini coefficient, (measuring the gap between the haves and the have nots), Freedom Day presents a similar opportunity to mooch around, sans the shopping.
Greg Ardé is a journalist based in Durban, South Africa. He has written three books and currently edits a magazine.
In the course of his 30-year career Greg has been involved with a number of media, including newspapers, radio and television. He is the former bureau chief of the Sunday Times in Durban and editor of a monthly magazine which appeared in that newspaper.
He was previously deputy editor of the Sunday Tribune, property editor of the same publication and business editor of The Mercury.
He was political reporter on the Daily News and worked for the South African Press Association in the run-up to South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994. In that time he covered political violence extensively. Greg has a national diploma in journalism from the erstwhile Technikon Natal.
As part of this, he served a year’s internship at the Daily Dispatch in East London and later ran the Dispatch's Umtata bureau, close to the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. He is deeply committed to issues of justice, accountability and development and wrote a weekly column for 15 years.
Greg has a keen interest in the evolution of cities and in 2013 and 2014, contributed to the Resilient Cities series, an initiative sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Greg’s passion for politics, cities and development nurtured a curiosity in business and entrepreneurs and he has run three publications in that vein.
In the course of his career, Greg has also facilitated a number of roundtable talks aimed at improving education, economic development and job creation in Durban, the city he calls home.