South Africans are preparing to go to the polls in what is expected to be the most competitive general election since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Some 20,000 polling stations are due to open at 0500 GMT for the more than 23 million registered voters.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is expected to win, but its two-thirds majority is being challenged.
ANC leader Jacob Zuma said the emergence of the opposition Congress of the People had “re-energised” the ANC.
I remember the first election. I was in Bloomington, Indiana at the conference for the Society of Africanist Anthropologists. A number of the other participants in the conference were South Africans, and they had all voted using an absentee system. It had not been that long before when we all got to watch, on TV broadcasts around the world, Nelson Mandela walk away from his prison on Robbens Island, near Cape Town.
It’s actually the main thing I remember at that conference. Oh, and the party at Jeane Sept’s house. I remember that mainly because of a long conversation with Henry Harpending about genetic bottlenecks.
Anyway, congratulations to South Africa for keeping your act pretty much together all these years! I knew you could do it!