In April 1994, after years of protest, oppression, and dissent, the eyes of the world were on South Africa and its first free elections. Would some sixteen million people voting for the first time select the African National Congress as the ruling party and Nelson Mandela as president? Would the nation’s National Party, architects of apartheid, be defeated? Nineteen political parties representing the country’s diverse constituencies participated in the electoral process, a period of great tension. This important election would also usher in a new Parliament and the creation of a new non-discriminatory constitution.
Mandela for President: South Africa Votes for Democracy documents this landmark moment in South Africa’s history with election ephemera, commemorative cloths, posters, and works of art created in response to the end of apartheid and its importance in world history. Works include colorful commemorative cloths emblazoned with Mandela’s likeness and Hamilton Budaza’s print Vote for Democracy, which poignantly capture the emotion and anticipation of freedom.
Above: Hamilton Budaza; Vote for Democracy (detail), 1994; Ink on paper; Private Collection.
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