What Happened at the First Post-Apartheid Elections?

The Rainbow Nation votes

By Africa Media Online

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

A landmark event that ended the Apartheid

On the 27th of April 1994 South Africans of all nationalities were able, for the first time, to cast their vote in a national election.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

The end of Apartheid
The election took place between 26-28 April across the country. The landmark event and an official symbol of the end to the Apartheid rule.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

The long walk to freedom
On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison after serving 27 years behind bars. Four years later, all South Africans were able to vote.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Working together for jobs, peace, and freedom
Tokyo Sexwalo, Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu campaigned for ANC.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Chris Ledochowski / South Photos

Campaigning across the country
An ANC - African National Congress publicity stand.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Paul Weinberg / South Photos

South Africa's first free and fair election
Judge Johan Kriegler was the head of the Independent Electoral Commission who conducted the election. He visited President Mangope then premier of the Bophutatswana who was threatening to leave the election process. This was one of the last times he sat in parliament as he was massively outvoted.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Paul Weinberg / South Photos

Mandela votes
Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his life at Ohlanga School in Durban. Former President Jacob Zuma stands in queue behind.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Former president FW de Klerk votes
President FW de Klerk and his wife and Marietjie also voted in South Africa's first free and fair election.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Paul Weinberg / South Photos

The result
The outcome was decisive, the once-banned African National Congress (ANC), under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, won 62.65% of the votes. FW de Klerk's national party took 20.39%.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Paul Weinberg / South Photos

'The Mandela shuffle' of victory
'The Mandela shuffle' at a party to celebrate the ANC victory.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Paul Weinberg / South Photos

The turn-out was incredible!
All around the country millions of people queued for hours to cast their vote.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Voting in Johannesburg
Voters queuing in Johannesburg centre.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Queuing in Johannesburg
Voters queued for up to four hours to cast their vote.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Voting in Pretoria
Voters queue at dawn at a polling station north of Pretoria.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Voting in Shoshonguwe
Voters queue at Shoshunguwe Township polling station north of Pretoria. 

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Voting in Kwazulu Natal
Voters queue to cast their votes for the first democratic elections.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Polling station in Johannesburg
Voting at the polling station in the first non-racial elections.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Polling station at Shoshonguwe
Voting at the polling station at Shoshungove township, north of Pretoria.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Graeme Williams / South Photos

Counting the votes in Tembisa Township
Election officials check the ballot boxes after South Africa's first democrat elections.

First Democratic Elections (1994-04-27)Original Source: Paul Weinberg / South Photos

Celebrating Freedom Day
To celebrate the landmark event, the 27 April is now known as ‘Freedom Day’ and a public holiday in South Africa.

Credits: Story

Photographer — Graeme Williams / South Photographs
Photographer — Paul Weinberg / South Photographs
Text — Africa Media Online

Credits: All media
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