There was a sarcastic twist at the venue before the surging crowd on the historic day. Freedom Day on Thursday was marked by the jokes and jeering of a defiant President Jacob Zuma, as various detractors continued a chorus of calls for his political demise.

Dubbing those protesting against him as people “who spent lots of money just to insult a certain party and individual instead of celebrating Freedom Day,” Zuma enjoyed his time addressing the crowd at Manguzi, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“I’ve heard through the news that they’ve spent money on insulting a certain party and an individual the whole day. We’re happy here; we are celebrating while they are throwing insults, oh my God,” said Zuma before he burst into laughter.

Zuma also advised those who wish to one day govern the country to stop criticising but tell people their views and win them over by the way they conduct themselves instead of acting like “a mentally disturbed person”.

 A freedom movement rally of various opposition political leaders, as well as civil society and religious organisations at the Caledonian stadium in Tshwane, promised those gathered that a Zuma-free future was possible.