Nelson Mandela casts his vote in South Africa’s first democratic election, at the Ohlange High School in Inanda KwaZuluNatal. It is interesting to understand why he chose this specific place to change South Africa’s history on 27 April 1994.
Dr John Dube, the first president of the ANC, lived on this property and established the school in 1900. After his studies in the US Dr Dube returned home and started South Africa’s first Black directed institution. The school opened its doors on 20 August 1900 and offered hostel facilities for half of its 63 male students. John Dube, his wife and 2 others were the first teachers. Today the school is co-ed and filled far beyond capacity. Many of South Africa’s great people can claim to have been trained here.
Of further significance is that this property is also close to Gandhi’s ashram in Phoenix. Dr Dube and Gandhi shared similar ideologies which no doubt complemented Mandela’s thinking and was part of the drive for a democratic South Africa where all would be given an opportunity to vote. A vote of which Nelson Mandela’s declared “I have come to report Mr President, that South Africa is now free”. Ohlange High School can be proud that history was made at this school more than once and in no insignificant ways.