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New South Africa
(page 4)
1994 Elections
Many powerful images characterise South Africa's first democratic election. The turnout was huge and very long queues developed at voting stations. But the atmosphere among voters was relaxed, even festive. The image of people from all race groups waiting patiently to vote caught the world's imagination, it provided a new picture of South Africa - so different from the divided queues of apartheid.

There were poignant moments. The beaming, joyful smiles of leaders like Desmond Tutu as, for the first time, they cast their democratic vote. At midnight, on Whale Street, a crowd gathered to watch the solemn lowering of the South African Republic flag, to the tune of the anthem 'Die Stem', and raised a great cheer as the new flag and anthem replaced them.

Delays in voting resulted from confusion and a lack of materials in many places, due to the dramatic last minute changes, inexperience and complex security measures. Judge Johann Kriegler, head of the election, looked increasingly haggard as he extended voting day after day until finally he declared them 'substantially free and fair'. The prophets of doom, however, had been confounded, the days of voting were the most peaceful South Africa had experienced in years, they augured well for the future.

Nelson Mandela returned to speak at the Grand Parade in Cape Town prior to his inauguration as President on the 10th May in Pretoria . He was introduced by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and spoke from the balcony of the city hall - as he had done the day of his release from jail. The vast crowd was jubilant, and his effort to include Cape Town in these historic days was appreciated, and typical of his inclusive approach.

The ANC had won an overwhelming majority of the vote (62%), followed by the National Party with 20%. The popularity of de Klerk and the latent fear of black domination had rallied minorities to support the NP. In the 1999 election their support crumbled.

Voters also elected a Provincial government and in the Western Cape (Cape Town's Province) and the National Party won a dramatic victory, based on considerable Coloured support. It was ironic that after years of forced removals and hardship Coloureds supported the National Party. The result was repeated in the 1996 municipal elections and demonstrated a failure by the ANC to win the trust of Coloured voters, and perhaps anxiety over affirmative action.

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In this period of Cape History:


Mandela's Release




New Government

& Change



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