The South African general election of 1994 was held in South Africa to mark the end of Apartheid. The Apartheid laws were no longer followed making this election the first democratic election South Africa has ever seen. According to the U.S. Library of Congress, national and provincial elections were held with nineteen political parties representing the country’s diverse constituencies in the electoral process. Each voter received two ballots (similar to the picture to the left) and cast two votes (enabling each voter to choose different parties at the national and the provincial levels). Voters selected a political party, not an individual candidate, to represent them in the National Assembly and in the provincial legislature. There was an estimated 21.7 million eligible voters in this election- however, roughly 16 million individuals had never voted. There were about 2.5 million voters that didn’t have identity books, so they had get temporary identity papers in order to vote. South Africans went through a lot in order to vote in the first democratic elections, but many would say it was worth it because they were making history. (2)
South Africa’s First Free Elections in 1994, ABC News gets footage of the difficulties for older voters in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. (3)
The outcome of the election was that Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress won the first ever democratic election in South Africa. Now April 27th is a public holiday in South Africa, known as Freedom Day.
(1) Mandela Memorabilia. “Original Ballot Paper 1994 South Africa first democratic election”. Web. 2011. <http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/20378129/Original_Ballot_Paper_1994_South_Africa_first_democratic_election.html>
(2) Rita M. Byrnes, ed. South Africa: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1996.
(3) “South Africa’s First Free Elections 1994”. Web. 21 January 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFD-0Um9FjI>