Background Information


The book The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa, April 1994 by Elinor Batezat Sisulu, is about a very respected grandmother who is finally able to vote in South Africa. This took place in 1994, when the apartheid policy was dissolved. The World Book Encyclopedia said that apartheid meant apartness, or a separate development of each group. The different groups were very much segregated, and the minority white population had the rule and control of the country.


The Encyclopedia mentions that there were four groups classified by the Government. These groups are:

1. Black, which was 71% of the population.

2. White, which was 16% of the population.

3. Colored, who is Black, Asian, and White mixed. They totaled 10% of the population.

4. Asian, which was 3% of the population.

During the apartheid, which was started in 1948, the white population, which was the minority, controlled the country. They determined where a person might live, go to school, and what jobs a person may hold. They favored segregation, and the apartheid rule.

Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress, which had been outlawed since 1960, to victory in South Africa's first free elections and became the president of South Africa on April 26, 1994. Because of this movement, the minority population will no longer control the lives of South Africa.

South Africa also has a new flag, which was adopted in 1994, which was in conjunction with the country's first multiracial election. "The six colors of the flag comprise of the colors of all the political parties in South Africa" (Microsoft Encarta 1997). There are also two different anthems for South Africa. The first is called "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" which means "The Call of South Africa". The second anthem is called "Nkosi Sikelel'I Afrika" which means "God Bless Africa". Clearly this anthem is for all of Africa, not just South Africa. They are both beautiful songs, which create respect for South Africa, or Africa in general (Microsoft Encarta 1997).

Click on flag to hear the South Africa's National Anthem.



Microsoft Encarta 1997 Encyclopedia [Computer Software]. (1993-1996). Microsoft Corporation.

The World Book Encyclopedia. (1988). World Book, Inc.: Chicago. 18:498-499.

The Day Gogo Went To Vote: South Africa, April 1994. Elinor Batezat Sisulu. Little Brown and Co., 1996.


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