As a newspaper journalist, I covered the historic 1994 multiracial election in South Africa which led to Nelson Mandela becoming that country’s first black president.
Symbols of this memorable event are the authentic surplus ballot papers that were used in the election that was held between April 26 and April 29 and culminated in Mandela's inauguration on May 9, 1994.
Weeks following the election, I purchased a number of the surplus ballots from a Soweto school teacher who managed one of the polling stations. I am among a small number globally who acquired the ballots before government officials decided to hold an international auction and sell what they had left to the highest bidder. An Arizona businessman who spent time in South Africa as a teacher, made the winning bid of $750,000 in the government auction.
The Real Deal
I can personally vouch for the authenticity of the set of ballot papers that I am offering. They are not copies. They are original election ballots that were created for the 1994 elections.
Each ballot that you buy from me will have a unique number on the upper left side and a perforated margin along the left side which indicates that the ballot paper came directly from the original binder assembled by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), South Africa's election management body. The original ballots are also watermarked in the background with IEC initials.
I am fortunate to be able to sell these ballot papers from my collection so that those who value history and the power of voting for democracy, can have symbols of this historic event.
The ballots sets are perfect gifts for history buffs and collectors, and they are excellent teaching items for home schooling and public schools and universities!
Voting on that historic day was a two-step process. The Provincial ballot was cast to vote for representatives of South Africa’s nine provinces. South Africans are multilingual, so instructions at the top of the ballots are printed in their eleven official languages.
The National ballot was cast to select the ruling party. Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), won the national vote. Many have mistaken the image of Robert Sobukwe, head of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) which is listed first on the ballot, as being Mandela. Mandela and the ANC however, are listed in 12th place.
FACT SHEET WITH PARTY ID
This fact sheet is what sets my offer apart from the other ballots that are being advertised on the Internet. After the election, a colleague and I gathered information about each one of the many parties that appear on the ballots. I created a fact sheet with a brief history of the election and the party information that I include as part of the ballot set.
copy of original anc voting flyer
In addition to the fact sheet, I include a colorful photocopy of the original African National Congress (ANC) party flyer that illustrates step-by-step voting instructions for the Black South Africans who would be voting for the first time.
Mandela's arrival to a stadium rally in Johannesburg was received by thousands who cheered and chanted his name. His arrival was also marked by rapid, popping sounds coming from the stands. I thought it was fireworks, but it was gunfire. His enthusiastic supporters were firing guns into the air. Mandela was not pleased with the gun salute. Before launching into his campaign speech he soundly scolded the people who came armed and were shooting recklessly. He also criticized whoever was in charge of providing security. Fortunately, the people in the stadium with weapons were Mandela admirers and no one was injured in that celebration.
Dressed in his most dapper Sunday best, Lazurus came early. Hobbling on his crutches, he positioned himself outside the schoolhouse polling place to wait for his first ever opportunity to vote!
I was standing in one of the polling places when an overwhelmed worker who mistook me for one of the election monitors, rushed over to ask for guidance. “Can you help me?” he said as he pointed frantically out of the window.“The oldies! , he exclaimed. "They just keep flocking in!” The election process was totally new for black South Africans and the poll workers were understanably on edge. But by the way this nervous worker was behaving I thought that I would see an unruly mob when I looked ouside. What I saw instead was a peaceful gathering of elders, standing in the sweltering heat, with hopeful looks on their faces, waiting until it was their turn to cast their ballots when they came inside. I was amused by the worker’s overreaction and utterly charmed by that flock of “oldies” waiting patiently but steadfastly outside.
This young man was mute, quadriplegic and his hands were so gnarled that he could not hold a pencil to mark his ballot paper. But with the help of poll workers, he uncurled an index finger and dropped it on the image of Nelson Mandela. The young man was allowed to repeat his gesture two more times. to satisfy the officials who doubted the accuracy of his aim. Each time, his finger landed squarely on Mandela. The officials finally accepted the young man's choice. “My brother," said the young man's sister who wheeled him to the polling place to vote. "He cannot walk, he cannot speak. But up here,” she said, gesturing to her forehead. “He is very clear. He is very clear.”
In the ballroom where members of Mandela's party, the ANC waited to hear the elections results, the hotel workers broke out into the toyi toyi' victory dance upon hearing that the ANC was in the lead. This is how they acted when LESS THAN ONE PERCENT of the votes had come in. You can imagine the unbridled jubilation that erupted in that ballroom when the remaining 99 percent of the results confirmed that the ANC would be the ruling party and Mandela, their chosen leader, would be president.
I sell both ballots as a set because they represent exactly what actually happened when the South Africans voted. They cast two ballots.
There have been many who recognized the significance of these ballot papers and have paid large sums to own them. The National ballot for example, drew more than $300 when Oprah Winfrey auctioned it on her television talk show. The Provincial ballot garnered more than $1,000 at a charity auction held by the Detroit chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
You can have a set of these same coveted ballot papers which are SUITABLE FOR FRAMING for a very accessible investment.
When you purchase, you will receive:
1 National ballot
1 National ballot
History fact sheet with Party ID
Colorful, instructional ANC voting flyer
Signed, statement of authenticity
Protective, acid-free plastic sleeve for safe keeping
What you will receive from me are the authenic, surplus ballot papers from the historic 1994 South African elections. Not sample ballots, not copies. I am so certain of the authenticity that I will guarantee a 100 percent refund if you receive anything less.
Linda Jones, a Dallas-based writing consultant and former newspaper journalist who covered Nelson Mandela's first tour of the U.S. after his release from 27 years in prison. She later traveled to South Africa to cover the historic multiracial election and Mandela's inauguration, events that officially signaled the end of apartheid in that country.