It seems like an age away now. 27 April, 1994 – the first democratic elections in South Africa. It was a day of patience, of quietly waiting in queues. Shuffling forward, a human chain looping and spiralling back on itself, secure in the knowledge that eventually, everyone's time would come. You just had to stand. And wait.
There was the unspoken and unanimous agreement that it was worth the effort to dedicate a whole day to slipping a piece of paper into a box. Unspoken because it was clear that we were riding an unstoppable wave of optimism towards a better future for all. We were turning this corner together and – despite the fact that after casting our votes, we would all disperse to our different corners – in that queue, together, we were all the same.
The picture is not quite so rosy, 21 years into South Africa's democracy. Those who need it most are not quietly waiting for the better life they thought freedom would bring. It is impossible to reflect on this national holiday without acknowledging the pitiful depths we have sunk to in meting out our rage on other Africans living in our midst.
Today, we look back on some moments in time when things were different, to remind us of what was and what still perhaps could be.