South Africa celebrates 20th anniversary of democratic government

On April 29, 2014, His Excellency Membathisi Mdladlana, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Canada, hosted a grand reception at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier hotel to mark the 20th anniversary of his country’s first multiracial and truly democratic general elections (April 27, 1994). Conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), these elections were also the first held with universal adult suffrage and marked the end of the four-year process that ended apartheid. Millions queued in lines over a three-day voting period. As widely expected, the African National Congress (ANC) won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote. The new National Assembly’s first act was to elect Nelson Mandela as President, making him the country’s first black chief executive. The date 27 April is now a public holiday in South Africa designated as Freedom Day. The Ottawa celebration included energetic performances by a local dancer, a spoken word artist and Montreal-based JUNO-award-winning worldbeat icon, Lorraine Klaasen. For more info on South Africa, please visit:

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