‘Apartheid’ is an Afrikaans word, which roughly means ‘being apart’, or more specifically, ‘the state of being apart’.
Apartheid, (Afrikaans: “apartness”) policy that governed relations between South Africa’s white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites. The implementation of apartheid, often called “separate development” since the 1960s, was made possible through the Population Registration Act of 1950, which classified all South Africans as either Bantu (all black Africans), Coloured (those of mixed race), or white. A fourth category—Asian (Indian and Pakistani)—was later added.
1913 Land Act
This was the first formal move to establish apartheid in South Africa. It compelled colored people to live in reserve areas. These reserve areas was about 10% of the total land mass of the country. This act restricted their movement to certain areas, unless they had a document authorizing their presence under the ‘pass law.’ They were equally restricted from working on lands owned by the whites.
1948 General Elections
The 1948 general election in South Africa saw the National Party in power. The all white government then officially adopted a system of segregation called apartheid, which aimed at enforcing the previous racial segregation policies.
Population Act 1950
By 1950, the ruling government classified the people of South Africa into four races: Bantus (blacks), coloured (mixed), Asian (Pakistan and Indian), and Whites. This went further to ban marriages between non-whites and whites.
Education Segregation Law
In 1953, the education segregation law was passed, denying the non-whites access to quality education. Hendri Verwoer, the minister of native affairs affirmed that the law was meant to lure the blacks into manual labour in his speech saying, “there is no place for the Bantus in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour… what is the use of teaching a Bantus child mathematics when he cannot use it in practice”.
In 1958, the PM, Dr. Herdwikverwoer introduced the policy of separate development, which divided the Blacks into ten distinct groups. Each with a local leader, thus giving them a view of local independence and limiting their chance of national coalition. It was also meant to denounce their claim as one Bantu and a majority race in South Africa.
The Soweto Uprising
16th June 1976 marked the beginning of the Soweto uprising when over 20,000 high school students protested the use of Afrikaan as a language of instruction in the non-white schools. The police opened fire on the protesters. At least 176 citizens lost their life during the Soweto saga. Consequently, the UN Security Council placed an embargo on sale of arms to South Africa. The US and UK equally imposed economic sanctions on South Africa in 1985.
Apartheid Facts As Collected By: TRTWolrd
Rights of people
The laws enacted during the apartheid era demanded the registration of people according to their race. It created the physical separation between whites and non-whites in public areas such as parks and bathrooms.
It also forced non-whites to live in different areas, and created a separate educational system for them. Additionally, the policy prohibited mixed race marriages, and banned and censored publications and political parties.
ANC banned and Mandela arrest
The government banned the African National Congress, a political party that had been campaigning against apartheid, in 1960. Nelson Mandela, a prominent leader of the ANC, was arrested in 1962, and was handed down a life sentence in 1965.
As a result of its discriminatory laws, South Africa was facing international isolation, including suspension of UN and Commonwealth membership, as well as a cultural and sports boycott.The country was also placed under an arms embargo, with Israel being the most notable exception, among a few others, to flout the arms sanctions.
Internally, South Africa was at the brink of civil war with rampant communal violence, crime and a crackdown on political parties and activists seeking equal rights.
The then ruling National Party’s President de Klerk, on February 2, 1990, legalised the African National Congress and other banned anti-apartheid groups. He also went on to free Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, clearing a path for the referendum on a negotiated constitution and shared transfer of power.
At the time the referendum took place, about 12 percent of the population (4.2 million) was white. The rest of the population was comprised of 28 million blacks and 4.5 million coloured/Asian and other races. Even though whites constituted a minority of the total population, 87 percent of the land was reserved for them.
The referendum held on March 17,1991, asked white voters whether or not they supported the negotiated reforms begun by State President F. W. de Klerk two years earlier, in which he proposed to end the apartheid system that had been implemented since 1948.
In a landslide victory for change, the government swept the polls in all four provinces, and all but one of 15 referendum regions. Only whites were allowed to vote in the referendum.
The government won 68.6 percent of the vote in a record turn-out, which in some districts exceeded 96 percent.
It was also a test of President de Klerk’s government.
If the referendum outcome had been negative, de Klerk would have resigned and general elections held.
First multiracial polls
Two years after the referendum, South Africa held its first multi-racial elections on April 27, 1994, which resulted in a huge victory for the African National Congress and made Nelson Mandela the first black president of South Africa.
This brought with it a lifting of sanctions, restored membership of the Commonwealth, along with South Africa retaking its seat in the UN General Assembly after an absence of 20 years.
Nobel Peace Prize
Both Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their very different but effective assaults on apartheid and the progress of South Africa
South Africa under Mandela
Mandela signed South Africa’s new constitution into law on December 10, 1996, that went into effect in February 1997, putting an end to all discriminatory laws from the apartheid era.
Changes after end of apartheid
Demographically there wasn’t much change in South Africa and it remains divided along racial lines as far as income gap is concerned. The most significant change is the increase in the growth rate of its black population.
The lifting of sanctions also resulted in an increase in the per capita income of whites and Asians (mostly of Indian descent).
Over the years since the end of apartheid, the country did see development with regards to the number of people living in proper houses and number of households with access to electricity.
Murder rates have fallen but rape has been a persistent crime, according to Statistics South Africa.
Right direction for South Africa
South Africans in general feel more satisfied with the country’s direction, the highest number since 1994 which marked the end of apartheid and Mandela’s rise to power, according to a Pew satisfaction survey on South Africa.
Corruption does remain a major concern for citizens.
Change in land ownership
Black people make up 80 percent of the 54 million population yet, two decades after apartheid, most of the economy in terms of ownership of land and companies remains in the hands of white people, who account for 8 percent of the population.
Apartheid In South Africa History
Racial segregation, sanctioned by law, was widely practiced in South Africa before 1948, but the National Party, which gained office that year, extended the policy and gave it the name apartheid. The Group Areas Act of 1950 established residential and business sections in urban areas for each race, and members of other races were barred from living, operating businesses, or owning land in them. In practice this act and two others (1954, 1955), which became known collectively as the Land Acts, completed a process that had begun with similar Land Acts adopted in 1913 and 1936; the end result was to set aside more than 80 percent of South Africa’s land for the white minority. To help enforce the segregation of the races and prevent blacks from encroaching on white areas, the government strengthened the existing “pass” laws, which required nonwhites to carry documents authorizing their presence in restricted areas. Other laws forbade most social contacts between the races, authorized segregated public facilities, established separate educational standards, restricted each race to certain types of jobs, curtailed nonwhite labour unions, and denied nonwhite participation (through white representatives) in the national government.
Under the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 the government reestablished tribal organizations for black Africans, and the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959 created 10 African homelands, or Bantustans. The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970 made every black South African, irrespective of actual residence, a citizen of one of the Bantustans, thereby excluding blacks from the South African body politic. Four of the Bantustans were granted independence as republics, and the remaining had varying degrees of self-government; but all remained dependent, both politically and economically, on South Africa. The dependence of the South African economy on nonwhite labour, though, made it difficult for the government to carry out this policy of separate development.
Although the government had the power to suppress virtually all criticism of its policies, there was always some opposition to apartheid within South Africa. Black African groups, with the support of some whites, held demonstrations and strikes, and there were many instances of violent protest and of sabotage. One of the first—and most violent—demonstrations against apartheid took place in Sharpeville on March 21, 1960; the police response to the protesters’ actions was to open fire, killing about 69 black Africans and wounding many more. An attempt to enforce Afrikaans language requirements for black African students led to the Soweto riots in 1976. Some white politicians called for the relaxation of minor restrictions, referred to as “petty apartheid,” or for the establishment of racial equality.
Nelson Mandela speaking from his jail cell (1964) in this video from the apartheid era that discusses the struggle for racial equality in South Africa.Stock footage courtesy The WPA Film Library
apartheid in Cape Town and Robben IslandLearn about the history of apartheid in Cape Town, South Africa, and nearby Robben Island, where a number of black activists, most notably Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned.
Apartheid also received international censure. South Africa was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth in 1961 when it became apparent that other member countries would not accept its racial policies. In 1985 both the United Kingdom and the United States imposed selective economic sanctions on South Africa. In response to these and other pressures, the South African government abolished the “pass” laws in 1986, although blacks were still prohibited from living in designated white areas and the police were granted broad emergency powers.
In a more fundamental shift of policy, however, the government of South African president F.W. de Klerk in 1990–91 repealed most of the social legislation that provided the legal basis for apartheid, including the Population Registration Act. Systematic racial segregation remained deeply entrenched in South African society, though, and continued on a de facto basis. A new constitution that enfranchised blacks and other racial groups was adopted in 1993 and took effect in 1994. All-race national elections, also in 1994, produced a coalition government with a black majority led by antiapartheid activist Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president. These developments marked the end of legislated apartheid, though not of its entrenched social and economic effects.
South Africa Apartheid In Pictures
Everyday scenes—children playing, Archbishop Desmond Tutu praying—make up the bulk of “Rise and Fall of Apartheid,” an exhibition now on display at Museum Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. Composed of more than 800 images and 27 films by more than 70 South African photographers and a handful of notable Westerners, the exhibition is a comprehensive visual history of apartheid, focusing on the normalization of racism—the banality of evil.
While most collections of images from apartheid—which began in 1948 with the election to office of the National Party and ended legally in 1994—focus on images of violence and the struggle for emancipation, this exhibition’s curators made the deliberate choice to focus on everyday life in the apartheid state.
The collection resembles Robert Frank’s The Americans, in which he captured life in post-war 1950s America. With funding from the Guggenheim Foundation, Frank traveled around the United States shooting gritty street scenes, making the mundane seem spectacular.
In Johannesburg, the exhibition has drawn record numbers of visitors. The experience of looking at these images in South Africa is personal in a way it couldn’t possibly be elsewhere. “It is a very different experience for local audiences: much more personal and complicated, as we know more about our own history and are much more sensitive about it than a foreign audience,” wrote Lesley Perkes, the exhibition’s publicist. “People have found themselves and friends and family in the images.”
Johannesburg’s Museum Africa is the last stop of the exhibition’s global tour, which included New York, Milan, and Munich. “No one else photographed South Africa and the struggle against apartheid better, more critically, and with deeper pictorial reflection, complexity, and insight than South African photographers,” wrote Okwui Enwezor, the exhibition’s curator in the catalogue’s preface. “Rise and Fall of Apartheid” will be on display at Museum Africa in Johannesburg until April 30, 2015.
End Of Apartheid In South Africa
Apartheid developed from the racism of colonial factions and due to South Africa’s “unique industrialization”. The policies of industrialisation led to segregation of and classing of people, which was “specifically developed to nurture early industry such as mining and capitalist culture”. Cheap labour was the basis of the economy and this was taken from what the state classed as peasant groups and the migrants. Furthermore, Philip Bonner highlights the “contradictory economic effects” as the economy did not have a manufacturing sector, therefore promoting short term profitability but limiting labour productivity and the size of local markets. This also led to its collapse as “Clarkes emphasises the economy could not provide and compete with foreign rivals as they failed to master cheap labour and complex chemistry”.
The contradictions[clarification needed] in the traditionally capitalist economy of the apartheid state led to considerable debate about racial policy, and division and conflicts in the central state. To a large extent the political ideology of apartheid had emerged from the colonisation of Africa by European powers which institutionalised racial discrimination and exercised a paternal philosophy of “civilising inferior natives.” Some scholars have argued that this can be reflected in Afrikaner Calvinism, with its parallel traditions of racialism; for example, as early as 1933 the executive council of the Broederbond formulated a recommendation for mass segregation.
External western influence can be seen as one of the factors that arguably greatly influenced political ideology, particularly due to the influences of colonisation. South Africa in particular is argued to be an “unreconstructed example of western civilisation twisted by racism”.
In the 1960s, South Africa experienced economic growth second only to that of Japan. Trade with Western countries grew, and investment from the United States, France and Britain poured in.
In 1974, resistance to apartheid was encouraged by Portugal’s withdrawal from Mozambique and Angola, after the 1974 Carnation Revolution. South African troops withdrew from Angola in early 1976, failing to prevent the MPLA from gaining power there, and black students in South Africa celebrated.
The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith, signed by Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Harry Schwarz in 1974, enshrined the principles of peaceful transition of power and equality for all. Its purpose was to provide a blueprint for South Africa by consent and racial peace in a multi-racial society, stressing opportunity for all, consultation, the federal concept, and a Bill of Rights. It caused a split in the United Party that ultimately realigned opposition politics in South Africa, with the formation of the Progressive Federal Party in 1977. It was the first of such agreements by acknowledged black and white political leaders in South Africa.
In 1978, the defence minister of the NP, Pieter Willem Botha, became Prime Minister. Botha’s white regime was worried about the Soviet Union helping revolutionaries in South Africa, and the economy had slowed down. The new government noted that it was spending too much money trying to maintain the segregated homelands that had been created for blacks and the homelands were proving to be uneconomical.
Nor was maintaining blacks as a third class working well. The labour of blacks remained vital to the economy, and illegal black labour unions were flourishing. Many blacks remained too poor to make much of a contribution to the economy through their purchasing power – although they were more than 70 percent of the population. Botha’s regime was afraid that an antidote was needed to prevent the blacks from being attracted to Communism.
In July 1979, the Nigerian government claimed that the Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) was selling Nigerian oil to South Africa, although there was little evidence or commercial logic for such sales. The alleged sanctions-breaking was used to justify the seizure of some of BP’s assets in Nigeria including their stake in SPDC, although it appears the real reasons were economic nationalism and domestic politics ahead of the Nigerian elections. Many South Africans attended schools in Nigeria, and Nelson Mandela several times acknowledged the role of Nigeria in the struggle against apartheid.
In the 1980s, the anti-apartheid movements in the United States and Europe were gaining support for boycotts against South Africa, for the withdrawal of US firms from South Africa and for the release of Mandela. South Africa was becoming an outlaw in the world community of nations. Investing in South Africa by Americans and others was coming to an end and an active policy of disinvestment ensued.
In the early 1980s, Botha’s National Party government started to recognise the inevitability of the need to reform apartheid. Early reforms were driven by a combination of internal violence, international condemnation, changes within the National Party’s constituency, and changing demographics – whites constituted only 16 percent of the total population, in comparison to 20 percent fifty years earlier.
In 1983, a new constitution was passed implementing what was called the Tricameral Parliament, giving Coloureds and Indians voting rights and parliamentary representation in separate houses – the House of Assembly (178 members) for whites, the House of Representatives (85 members) for Coloureds and the House of Delegates (45 members) for Indians. Each House handled laws pertaining to its racial group’s “own affairs”, including health, education and other community issues. All laws relating to “general affairs” (matters such as defence, industry, taxation and Black affairs) were handled by a cabinet made up of representatives from all three houses. However, the white chamber had a large majority on this cabinet, ensuring that effective control of the country remained in white hands. Blacks, although making up the majority of the population, were excluded from representation; they remained nominal citizens of their homelands. The first Tricameral elections were largely boycotted by Coloured and Indian voters, amid widespread rioting.
Reforms and contact with the ANC under Botha
Concerned over the popularity of Mandela, Botha denounced him as an arch-Marxist committed to violent revolution, but to appease black opinion and nurture Mandela as a benevolent leader of blacks. the government moved him from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison in a rural area just outside Cape Town, where prison life was easier. The government allowed Mandela more visitors, including visits and interviews by foreigners, to let the world know that he was being treated well.
Black homelands were declared nation-states and pass laws were abolished. Black labour unions were legitimised, the government recognised the right of blacks to live in urban areas permanently and gave blacks property rights there. Interest was expressed in rescinding the law against interracial marriage and also rescinding the law against sex between the races, which was under ridicule abroad. The spending for black schools increased, to one-seventh of what was spent per white child, up from on one-sixteenth in 1968. At the same time, attention was given to strengthening the effectiveness of the police apparatus.
In January 1985, Botha addressed the government’s House of Assembly and stated that the government was willing to release Mandela on condition that Mandela pledge opposition to acts of violence to further political objectives. Mandela’s reply was read in public by his daughter Zinzi – his first words distributed publicly since his sentence to prison twenty-one years before. Mandela described violence as the responsibility of the apartheid regime and said that with democracy there would be no need for violence. The crowd listening to the reading of his speech erupted in cheers and chants. This response helped to further elevate Mandela’s status in the eyes of those, both internationally and domestically, who opposed apartheid.
Between 1986 and 1988, some petty apartheid laws were repealed, along with the pass laws. Botha told white South Africans to “adapt or die” and twice he wavered on the eve of what were billed as “rubicon” announcements of substantial reforms, although on both occasions he backed away from substantial changes. Ironically, these reforms served only to trigger intensified political violence through the remainder of the eighties as more communities and political groups across the country joined the resistance movement. Botha’s government stopped short of substantial reforms, such as lifting the ban on the ANC, PAC and SACP and other liberation organisations, releasing political prisoners, or repealing the foundation laws of grand apartheid. The government’s stance was that they would not contemplate negotiating until those organisations “renounced violence”.
By 1987, South Africa’s economy was growing at one of the lowest rates in the world, and the ban on South African participation in international sporting events was frustrating many whites in South Africa. Examples of African states with black leaders and white minorities existed in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Whispers of South Africa one day having a black President sent more hardline whites into Rightist parties. Mandela was moved to a four-bedroom house of his own, with a swimming pool and shaded by fir trees, on a prison farm just outside Cape Town. He had an unpublicised meeting with Botha. Botha impressed Mandela by walking forward, extending his hand and pouring Mandela’s tea. The two had a friendly discussion, with Mandela comparing the African National Congress’ rebellion with that of the Afrikaner rebellion and talking about everyone being brothers.
A number of clandestine meetings were held between the ANC-in-exile and various sectors of the internal struggle, such as women and educationalists. More overtly, a group of white intellectuals met the ANC in Senegal for talks.
Early in 1989, Botha suffered a stroke; he was prevailed upon to resign in February 1989. He was succeeded as president later that year by F.W. de Klerk. Despite his initial reputation as a conservative, de Klerk moved decisively towards negotiations to end the political stalemate in the country. In his opening address to parliament on 2 February 1990, de Klerk announced that he would repeal discriminatory laws and lift the 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the United Democratic Front. The Land Act was brought to an end. De Klerk also made his first public commitment to release Nelson Mandela, to return to press freedom and to suspend the death penalty. Media restrictions were lifted and political prisoners not guilty of common law crimes were released.
On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after more than 27 years of confinement.
Having been instructed by the UN Security Council to end its long-standing involvement in South West Africa / Namibia, and in the face of military stalemate in Southern Angola, and an escalation in the size and cost of the combat with the Cubans, the Angolans, and SWAPO forces and the growing cost of the border war, South Africa negotiated a change of control; Namibia became independent on 21 March 1990.
Apartheid was dismantled in a series of negotiations from 1990 to 1991, culminating in a transitional period which resulted in the country’s 1994 general elections, the first in South Africa held with universal suffrage.
In 1990 negotiations were earnestly begun, with two meetings between the government and the ANC. The purpose of the negotiations was to pave the way for talks towards a peaceful transition towards majority rule. These meetings were successful in laying down the preconditions for negotiations, despite the considerable tensions still abounding within the country. Apartheid legislation was abolished in 1991.
At the first meeting, the NP and ANC discussed the conditions for negotiations to begin. The meeting was held at Groote Schuur, the President’s official residence. They released the Groote Schuur Minute, which said that before negotiations commenced political prisoners would be freed and all exiles allowed to return.
There were fears that the change of power would be violent. To avoid this, it was essential that a peaceful resolution between all parties be reached. In December 1991, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began negotiations on the formation of a multiracial transitional government and a new constitution extending political rights to all groups. CODESA adopted a Declaration of Intent and committed itself to an “undivided South Africa”.
Reforms and negotiations to end apartheid led to a backlash among the right-wing white opposition, leading to the Conservative Party winning a number of by-elections against NP candidates. De Klerk responded by calling a whites-only referendum in March 1992 to decide whether negotiations should continue. A 68 per cent majority gave its support, and the victory instilled in de Klerk and the government a lot more confidence, giving the NP a stronger position in negotiations.
When negotiations resumed in May 1992, under the tag of CODESA II, stronger demands were made. The ANC and the government could not reach a compromise on how power should be shared during the transition to democracy. The NP wanted to retain a strong position in a transitional government, and the power to change decisions made by parliament.
Persistent violence added to the tension during the negotiations. This was due mostly to the intense rivalry between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the ANC and the eruption of some traditional tribal and local rivalries between the Zulu and Xhosa historical tribal affinities, especially in the Southern Natal provinces. Although Mandela and Buthelezi met to settle their differences, they could not stem the violence. One of the worst cases of ANC-IFP violence was the Boipatong massacre of 17 June 1992, when 200 IFP militants attacked the Gauteng township of Boipatong, killing 45. Witnesses said that the men had arrived in police vehicles, supporting claims that elements within the police and army contributed to the ongoing violence. Subsequent judicial inquiries found the evidence of the witnesses to be unreliable or discredited, and that there was no evidence of National Party or police involvement in the massacre. When de Klerk visited the scene of the incident he was initially warmly welcomed, but he was suddenly confronted by a crowd of protesters brandishing stones and placards. The motorcade sped from the scene as police tried to hold back the crowd. Shots were fired by the police, and the PAC stated that three of its supporters had been gunned down. Nonetheless, the Boipatong massacre offered the ANC a pretext to engage in brinkmanship. Mandela argued that de Klerk, as head of state, was responsible for bringing an end to the bloodshed. He also accused the South African police of inciting the ANC-IFP violence. This formed the basis for ANC’s withdrawal from the negotiations, and the CODESA forum broke down completely at this stage.
The Bisho massacre on 7 September 1992 brought matters to a head. The Ciskei Defence Force killed 29 people and injured 200 when they opened fire on ANC marchers demanding the reincorporation of the Ciskei homeland into South Africa. In the aftermath, Mandela and de Klerk agreed to meet to find ways to end the spiralling violence. This led to a resumption of negotiations.
Right-wing violence also added to the hostilities of this period. The assassination of Chris Hani on 10 April 1993 threatened to plunge the country into chaos. Hani, the popular general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), was assassinated in 1993 in Dawn Park in Johannesburg by Janusz Waluś, an anti-communist Polish refugee who had close links to the white nationalist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB). Hani enjoyed widespread support beyond his constituency in the SACP and ANC and had been recognised as a potential successor to Mandela; his death brought forth protests throughout the country and across the international community, but ultimately proved a turning point, after which the main parties pushed for a settlement with increased determination. On 25 June 1993, the AWB used an armoured vehicle to crash through the doors of the Kempton Park World Trade Centre where talks were still going ahead under the Negotiating Council, though this did not derail the process.
In addition to the continuing “black-on-black” violence, there were a number of attacks on white civilians by the PAC’s military wing, the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA). The PAC was hoping to strengthen their standing by attracting the support of the angry, impatient youth. In the St James Church massacre on 25 July 1993, members of the APLA opened fire in a church in Cape Town, killing 11 members of the congregation and wounding 58.
In 1993 de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”.
Violence persisted right up to the 1994 elections. Lucas Mangope, leader of the Bophuthatswana homeland, declared that it would not take part in the elections. It had been decided that, once the temporary constitution had come into effect, the homelands would be incorporated into South Africa, but Mangope did not want this to happen. There were strong protests against his decision, leading to a coup d’état in Bophuthatswana on 10 March that deposed Mangope, despite the intervention of white right-wingers hoping to maintain him in power. Three AWB militants were killed during this intervention, and harrowing images were shown on national television and in newspapers across the world.
Two days before the elections, a car bomb exploded in Johannesburg, killing nine. The day before the elections, another one went off, injuring 13. At midnight on 26–27 April 1994 the old flag was lowered, and the old (now co-official) national anthem Die Stem (“The Call”) was sung, followed by the raising of the new rainbow flag and singing of the other co-official anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (“God Bless Africa”).
The election was held on 27 April 1994 and went off peacefully throughout the country as 20 million South Africans cast their votes. There was some difficulty in organising the voting in rural areas, but people waited patiently for many hours to vote amidst a palpable feeling of goodwill. An extra day was added to give everyone the chance. International observers agreed that the elections were free and fair. The European Union’s report on the election compiled at the end of May 1994, published two years after the election, criticised the Independent Electoral Commission’s lack of preparedness for the polls, the shortages of voting materials at many voting stations, and the absence of effective safeguards against fraud in the counting process. In particular, it expressed disquiet that “no international observers had been allowed to be present at the crucial stage of the count when party representatives negotiated over disputed ballots.” This meant that both the electorate and the world were “simply left to guess at the way the final result was achieved.”
The ANC won 62.65 percent of the vote, less than the 66.7 percent that would have allowed it to rewrite the constitution. 252 of the 400 seats went to members of the African National Congress. The NP captured most of the white and Coloured votes and became the official opposition party. As well as deciding the national government, the election decided the provincial governments, and the ANC won in seven of the nine provinces, with the NP winning in the Western Cape and the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal. On 10 May 1994, Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s president. The Government of National Unity was established, its cabinet made up of 12 ANC representatives, six from the NP, and three from the IFP. Thabo Mbeki and de Klerk were made deputy presidents.