South Africa: Entering the Post-Mandela Era

Issue Date October 1999
Volume 10
Issue 4
Page Numbers 3-18
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Post-apartheid South Africa’s democratic quest resembles a good thriller–just as the plot seems clear, a twist appears in the tale. In looking at the results of the country’s second universal-franchise election, held on 2 June 1999, the “obvious” interpretation is that politics in South Africa is in grave danger of becoming “re-racialized.” Yet upon closer scrutiny, a different and happier story line can also be detected, reflected in the large turnout for the election. The ending of this story has not yet been determined; it will depend upon the political choices made by the government of new president Thabo Mbeki, which, in turn, will be influenced by how it interprets its election victory.