17 April 2014

Voting for a new South Africa

Offset litho poster, produced by VEETU, 1994. Archived as SAHA collection AL2446_1917The image of the 1994 elections, with lines snaking for miles as people went out to cast their votes, was long anticipated in the minds of many South Africans.  Because many South Africans at the time had not participated in an election before, voter education programmes and workshop were run by various organisations to help better inform South Africans of the voting process and the value of their vote.

SAHA has a range of material relating to this historic voter education process and the running of the workshops in the archives. A central theme in the voter education literature is explaining to South Africans how and why they should vote.  Volunteers from different organisations who took part in educating voters explained that any South Africa over the age of 18 could vote and that they would need there ID’s or voter cards to do so. Voter education booklets or manuals were used to explain the rules and rights that voters have taking them through the physical act of voting.

The manuals also explained the greater implications of what going out and voting would mean. It meant for the first time all South Africans would be able go out and vote for a government of their choice. The booklets also explained that voting would also create a better future and help overcome the problems of inequality and injustice in South Africa.

Offset litho poster, produced by Matla Trust Speak Magazine, 1994. Archived as SAHA collection AL2446_2924

Some organisations made educating people in rural areas, especially women a priority. Black Sash identified some of the challenges facing women as, intimidation by male authorities to vote a certain way, ignorance about the voting process, domestic responsibilities or cost of getting to voting stations.  It was because of these challenges that women became a priority and organisations like Black Sash ran workshops in various regions to help women overcome the issues that they faced and also help educate women around them.  



See inventory for the Ismail Vadi collection AL2957

See inventory for the Laura Pollecutt collection AL3117

See inventory for the Jean De La Harpe collection AL2921

See inventory for the SANCO collection AL3052