72 days that shaped South Africa (6)

Just how “miraculous” was South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy? How close did the country really come to civil war?

Check out our press clipping snapshots of the 72 days leading up to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as SA’s first democratically elected President – and see how heavily the odds were stacked against “the rainbow nation”.

4 APRIL 1994

Top 4 summit on Friday

African National Congress leader Mr Nelson Mandela said yesterday he would meet State President De Klerk, Inkatha Freedom party head, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini for a peace summit on Friday.
The Citizen, Monday 4 April 1994

Oz rugby side cancels visit to Durban

Political violence in Natal has prompted New South Wales rugby officials to cancel the Waratahs’ visit to Durban for a Super Seven match later this month.
The Citizen, Monday 4 April 1994

5 APRIL 1994

Mediation efforts run into trouble

International mediation has run into difficulties before its scheduled start this week, with the ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party unable to agree on the terms of reference.
While the ANC the mediators would now decide on the terms of reference, both former British foreign secretary Lord Carrington and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who have been named as mediators, said they would not coming to SA until the parties had agreed on the terms of reference.
Business Day, Tuesday 5 April 1994

Stockpile mania grips shoppers

Pre-election stockpiling of non-perishables has spread countrywide, despite Eskom assurances that there was no chance of a nationwide black-out over the election period.
Although it was difficult to separate the normal Easter rush from panic buying ahead of the three-day poll on April 26, 27 and 28, long queues and rapidly emptying shelves have been reported at stores throughout the Pretoria-Witwatersrand.
In the Western Cape, stores reported that candles, blankets, black plastic bags, canned foods and dry foods such as mealie meal and rice had disappeared from supermarket shelves as quickly as they came in.
The Star, Tuesday 5 April 1994

6 APRIL 1994

KwaZulu vote shock

With only three weeks before South Africans cast their votes, a joint committee consisting of the Independent Electoral Commission, KwaZulu and the SA Government has concluded that elections would be impossible in KwaZulu under present conditions.
The Star, Wednesday 6 April 1994

7 APRIL 1994

No KwaZulu election delay, say Govt, ANC

South Africa’s first all-race election will take place as scheduled throughout the country, including KwaZulu/Natal, the Government and the ANC said yesterday.
The Star, Thursday 7 April 1994

Dozens injured in riot sparked by ‘prank’

A “highly irresponsible” prank by a warder at Johannesburg Prison early yesterday led to a riot by 1 000 prisoners, in which dozens were injured. Prisoners set fire to their cells after a warder fired teargas at a colleague in a watchtower on the boundary of the prison grounds at 2am. However, the canister exploded in a ditch and the gas blew into the cells of about 600 sleeping prisoners.
Business Day, Thursday 7 April 1994

8 APRIL 1994

Crunch KwaZulu summit

The four-way summit aimed at accommodating the Zulu monarchy goes ahead as planned today as hopes soar that an all-inclusive agreement will be reached.
The meeting is between African National Congress president Mr Nelson Mandela, King Goodwill Zwelithini, State President FW de Klerk and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, chief minister of KwaZulu.
The venue of the meeting is a closely kept secret, with journalists accredited to cover the summit having been advised only to assemble at a military airbase outside Pretoria.
Sowetan, Friday 8 April 1994

Clash of the television titans

On one side is the Father of the Nation: regal, statesman-like and almost saintly. The problem is, though, that he talks at the measured and pedantic pace of a provincial schoolmaster, and is stiff and uncomfortable on television.
On the other side is a sharp and incisive debater, well honed by decades of parliamentary experience. The problem is, though, that his opponent carries the aura of sanctitude and that his own newly acquired good-ol’-boy affability does not always ring quite true.
Next Thursday’s presidential debate between Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk will be the country’s first full-throttle sally into American-style television campaigning.
Weekly Mail & Guardian, Friday 8 April 1994

9 APRIL 1994

TEC gives assurance to civil servants

The Transitional Executive Council has assured all public servants that their jobs, salaries and pensions are guaranteed by the new consitution, which comes into effect on April 27.
The TEC said yesterday it was aware of increasing concern among public servants, including members of the security forces, about their futures, pensions and salaries.
Citizen, Saturday 9 April 1994

10 APRIL 1994

Royal flush beats ANC ace

A desperate attempt by ANC leader Nelson Mandela to persuade Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini to support peaceful elections in Natal was torpedoed at this week’s crisis summit by Inkatha president Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Mr Mandela played what he had hoped would be his ace card by offering King Goodwill powers as a constitutional monarch with sway over the whole Natal province.
But Chief Buthelezi scuppered the proposal by insisting the offer could not be considered unless all Inkatha’s other concerns were handled at the same time.
Sunday Times, Sunday 10 April 1994

Research, photos: Ndaba Dlamini

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