And Now the Hard Work Begins in South Africa

1 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2012

Date Written: May 16, 1994


On April 26-29, (1994) all South Africans, irrespective of their color, had the opportunity to vote. This was truly. a historic moment in South Africa's history. The exhilaration forced me to reflect upon the despair created by South Africa's election in 1948. History was also made then: The National Party was brought into power and racial segregation and discrimination were officially sanctioned by the government. Under these new laws, which became known collectively as apartheid, blacks had no right to equal or integrated housing; no right to freedom of movement, assembly or association; no right to equal political representation; no right to equal or integrated education; and, most tragic of all, no right to vote in a national election.

The April election established Nelson Mandela as a dominant leader in South Africa, the African National Congress as the dominant party and an interim constitution. Ironically, the election was the first time Nelson Mandela, now president of South Africa, had the right to vote in a national election in the country of his birth. A country that he refused to leave in 1962 and subsequently convicted him of treason and sentenced him to life in prison for plotting to overthrow the apartheid regime. Most significant, however, the election established an assembly empowered to draft a final constitution.

Keywords: South Africa, elections, apartheid, Nelson Mandela, African National Congress, oppression, racial segregation, racial discrimination, affirmative action, colonialism, National Party, history, politics

JEL Classification: O55, N47, N37, K19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Higginbotham, F. Michael, And Now the Hard Work Begins in South Africa (May 16, 1994). Boston Globe, May 16, 1994, p. A14, University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN:

F. Michael Higginbotham (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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