This was on the wall of my teaching room last week. An original ballot slip from the first democratic election in South Africa, which took place in April 1994.
This brought back so many memories for me. It signified the final fall of Apartheid, and was the first and only time I ever voted in a South African election. I was 33 at the time. I had never voted before this because, to me, there was no point in voting in a non-democratic election where none of the parties were advocating the fall of apartheid.
Prior to this, I did vote in the referendum where all white South Africans voted about ending apartheid. The voter turnout was very high in this referendum, and 68% of people voted to end apartheid. This was the first time I had ever voted.
This was the stamp you received in your internal passports when you voted.
Two years after the referendum I voted in the first democratic South African General Election. When the next general election came around in 1998, I was no longer living in South Africa, and citizens abroad were not allowed to vote. By the time this was changed, allowing foreign citizens to vote, I felt it was wrong to vote in a country where I would never again live. And now I am not a citizen anymore.
Next Sunday is Election Day in Sweden. Local, regional and national elections take place on the same day here, every four years. My first vote in a national election in Sweden was 2014, but I have voted in the municipal and regional elections since 2002. I am from a country where people fought and died for the right to vote democratically, so I have voted whenever I am able. I still would not vote in an undemocratic election though, unless I could help overthrow the system by means of that vote. And that is usually highly unlikely.