27 April 1994, South African Democracy Day One
24 years ago, for the first time, the South African people went to the ballot box to elect their president democratically. Multiracial elections that officially moved on the Apartheid system and that gave birth to the true democracy.
Previously, since 1910, only white people had unrestricted voting rights, while the electoral rights of black people, formerly acquired by the South Africa Act when the South African Union was formed, had been removed by an Apartheid Act in 1956. Later, the 1983 South African Constitution established a tricameral parliament where Indian people and Métis could elect their representatives in separate chambers while black people still didn’t get to have any nationally elected representatives.
On the morning of 27 April 1994, South Africans form endless queues leading to polling stations. White people, Métis, Indian people, black people, all mixed, are allowed to vote freely for the first time, a historic moment in the history of the country. They are nearly 23 million, including more than 16 million of black people, lining up to name their representatives in the National Parliament and in the new provinces.
“Today is a day like no other before it. Voting in our first free and fair election has begun. Today marks the dawn of our freedom”, declares Mandela, before becoming the first black president of the South African history at the age of 75.
Among the 19 political parties involved, most are extras. Finally, the African National Congress (ANC) of Nelson Mandela wins 63% of the votes, that is to say 252 seats out of 400 in the new Assembly and the majority of the votes in 7 out of the 9 new provincial legislatures. Because they hasn’t reached a two-thirds majority, the ANC decides to form a government of national unity with Frederik de Klerk’s National Party (NP), the political party that had established Apartheid, and the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
Two weeks later, on 9 May 1994, the 400 newly elected MPs elect Nelson Mandela as President of the Republic of South Africa. From the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall, where he appeared four years earlier after his release, Mandela speaks to the ten thousands people who has come to acclaim him: “My fellow South Africans, today we are entering a new era for our country and its people”.
The years of growth for South Africa are beginning, its GDP doubles in 20 years, poverty declines and a wealthy black social class emerges. The country is renowned for the quality of its education, as for example in medicine (the world’s first human heart transplant in 1967), for its efforts in Research and Development, for artistic creation and advertising.
Freedom Day (Vryheidsdag in Afrikaans) has been a public holiday in South Africa since 1995, commemorating, in particular, the end of the political domination of the South African white minority.
To celebrate this triumph, Moneytrans is offering a free transfer to South Africa on 27/04/2018.
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