On 25 October 1993, South Africa was invited to rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations with effect from January 1994. The move came after prolonged promising talks on constitutional reform between the government, African National Congress(ANC) and other key liberation movements. South Africa withdrew its membership from the Commonwealth in 1961 after it declared itself a Republic under the leadership of Prime Minister H.F Verwoerd. The country’s move followed a storm of criticism for its racial policies by Commonwealth members. The invitation came at a time when South Africans and the world alike were beginning to see positive changes as the country was moving towards holding its first all-inclusive general election in April 1994.