South Africa’s first democratic elections


Nelson Mandela casting his vote source: http://notsoindependentnews

Wednesday, 27 April 1994

Following a series of tense negotiations and years of liberation struggle, the first democratic election was held in South Africa on the 27th April, 1994. This election changed the history of South Africa. It paved the way towards a new democratic dispensation and a new constitution for the country. For the first time all races in the country were going to the polls to vote for a government of their choice. Nineteen political parties participated and twenty-two million people voted. The election took place in a festive atmosphere, contrary to fears of political violence. The African National Congress (ANC) won the election with 62.65 % of the vote. The National Party (NP) received 20.39 %, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.54 %, Freedom Front (FF) 2.2 %, Democratic Party (DP) 1.7 %, Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) 1.2 % and the African Christian Democratic Party 0.5 %. Although the ANC gained a majority vote, they formed the Government of National Unity, headed by the ANC’s Nelson Mandela who became the first black President of the country.

• SA.Info, ‘South African History: the death of apartheid’, from South Africa. Info [online], Available at [Accessed: 18 March 2012]
• Boddy-Evans, A. ‘This Day in African History: 27 April’, from About African History, [online], Available at [Accessed: 18 March 2013]

Last updated : 23-Apr-2015

This article was produced for South African History Online on 25-Apr-2013