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34 - Will Madiba’s Long Walk to Freedom Ever End?

The First Twenty-Five Years of Democracy and the Future of South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2022

Johan Fourie
Affiliation:
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
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Summary

On 27 April 1994 Nelson Mandela’s long walk to political freedom came to an end. On that fresh autumn morning 22 million South Africans headed to their nearest voting booths to cast their votes, many for the first time, in the country’s first democratic elections. The mood was festive. After almost a century of political exclusion, black South Africans now had an equal political voice – and they made it count: the African National Congress won 63 per cent of the total vote. Mandela was sworn in a few days later as the country’s first democratically elected president.

But not all freedoms were fulfilled on Freedom Day (as that first democratic election is known). Many South Africans at the time were living in abject poverty, unable to achieve the life they wanted. Almost all of them were black. The new rainbow nation was characterised by stark levels of inequality.

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Chapter
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Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom
Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History
, pp. 209 - 216
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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