South Africa held national parliamentary elections on Wednesday.
Nelson Mandela, the former head of the African National Congress who helped bring down the white supremacist system of apartheid, was one of an estimated 23 million South Africans registered to vote.
The current leader of the ANC, Jacob Zuma — who was imprisoned for 10 years alongside Mandela — is widely expected to emerge victorious. However, analysts say the ANC will struggle to win the two-thirds majority that it has won in the past.
Read more about South Africa’s power players.
YouTube user matlosana interviewed South Africans as they headed to the voting booths:
Zukiswa Wanner, a South African writer, notes the impressive turnout:
In 2004 when I voted in South Africa’s last presidential elections, I strolled at the voting station and less than 30 minutes later, I was out.
[…] The polls said it, the energy prior to this election highlighted it, but now I am seeing it for myself – today, it is different. It is only 7.45 and already there is a sizeable crowd at the voting station. I decide to just go indoors, get my ID and go and vote immediately to avoid spending my whole day waiting to vote. When I get back to the voting station, the line is already snaking round the corner and a good 300metres long and it is getting longer. It is like its 1994 all over again.
As indicative of my working class neighbourhood, there are people of all races. In front of me is a coloured couple and behind me is an Indian lady. A few feet from me is a white boy wearing a red t-shirt with a heart in ANC colours reading ‘Show your Love for the ANC’ but that is the only person wearing anything that hints at sloganeering. The line is moving slowly initially but I will not give up my place in line for a possibility of a shorter line later which might not come to pass. While in line I receive SMSs, many from the majority ANC party telling me to Vote ANC.
[…]I go out outside and feel a rush of emotion and patriotism for this one moment in five years that democracy allows most of my fellow South Africans to speak up for the one minute that we are behind the booth.
A blogger at “Socialyz” says that voting has gone relatively smoothly, with a few minor scuffles:
Well I’ve done my bit today. I woke up late, went to an election station and stood in a massive queue for about 10 minutes before deciding I’d come back later. Last time around I voted towards the end of the day and simply walked in and out. My general perception this time around is that there will be a larger voter turnout than the previous Election in South Africa.
That’s a great thing. I find there is much more awareness this time and my peers are more excited and more motivated to vote. Iv’e been scanning the papers for initial reactions, and other than a few scare stories of villagers being told to vote ANC and ballot papers being strewn across a street someplace, it all seems to be going along smoothly. It must be rememberd that this is a massive logistical task and there will be the odd hiccup here and there. As a citizen, I’m happy with how it has been conducted so far.
Now we wait for the results.
Blogger “Jonathan Carter” has become more enthused about voting as challengers to the ANC have gained more traction:
Today is the national and provincial elections in South Africa. I just made my vote, and it’s the first time I ever voted. It was supposed to be the second time I voted. I didn’t vote last time, not because of apathy so much as that I knew it wouldn’t have made so much of a difference who I voted for.
This year it’s quite different, the ruling ANC party has a break-away faction called COPE, and it’s quite possible that the ANC might not get a majority (2/3rds) vote. The DA has also gained lots of momentum since the last elections, and it’s quite possible that they may win the provincial elections in the Western Cape province. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m not a fan of the ANC. While they have done a lot for our country that I will always be grateful for, I am also disgusted at what it has become and how it is run.