'If they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love': S. Africans unite to celebrate #FreedomDay

Story highlights

  • South Africa marks 21 years since the first free election
  • Nation celebrates amid recent violent attack on immigrants

(CNN)April 27 is celebrated as Freedom Day in South Africa, commemorating the country's first democratic elections in 1994 election which saw Nelson Mandela elected as president.

The day is widely seen as marking the start of a free South Africa after the fall of apartheid, a system of racial segregation implemented by the white-minority government in South Africa for decades.
    This year's celebrations come against the backdrop of a spate of anti-immigrant attacks earlier in April in which a number of people lost their lives.

    #FreedomDay Twitter Reaction

    Using the #FreedomDay hashtag, people across the country and beyond took to Twitter to celebrate this year's event, express their views and send out their wishes -- including the South African government.
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed the people of South Africa and sent out a message of hope.
    Many South Africans used Twitter to denounce the recent violence...
    ... whilst others remembered iconic South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.
    Freedom Day didn't go unnoticed by Google, who've changed the doodle to honor the day.
    Here's a selection of some of other #FreedomDay tweets.