World History Moment: South African Elections

Long lines of people queue outside a polling station to cast their votes in South Africa’s
Long lines of people queue outside a polling station to cast their votes in South Africa's first all-race elections on April 27, 1994, in the Soweto township southwest of Johannesburg. Since, the achievements and soaring expectations of what was dubbed a “rainbow nation” have been tempered by a different inequality - the yawning gulf between rich and poor. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)
Long lines of people queue outside a polling station to cast their votes in South Africa’s
Long lines of people queue outside a polling station to cast their votes in South Africa's first all-race elections on April 27, 1994, in the Soweto township southwest of Johannesburg. Since, the achievements and soaring expectations of what was dubbed a “rainbow nation” have been tempered by a different inequality - the yawning gulf between rich and poor. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

World History Moment: South African Elections

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South Africa’s first ever election with universal suffrage was held on April 27, 1994.

It was the product of a long battle, starting with the abolition of the policy of apartheid that the South African government adopted in 1948.

Historian John R. Schmidt tells us how the country avoided a civil war and elected its first black president, Nelson Mandela.