Consolidation and public opinion in South Africa

Robert Mattes, Herman Thiel

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34 Citations (Scopus)


As recently as January 1990, almost all observers would have agreed that the odds were stacked heavily against a successful transition to democracy in South Africa. In the aftermath of the “miracle election” of April 1994, however, the odds might appear, at first glance, to favor a successful consolidation of South African democracy. For the overwhelming majority of South Africa’s citizens, long deprived of self-government and common citizenship on the basis of race, a return to the old regime of apartheid obviously is not an option. Democracy, rather than vengeance or group power, has long been a cherished goal for black South Africans and was the mantra of the African National Congress (ANC) and the bulk of those involved in the grassroots struggle against apartheid. Moreover, while white South Africans benefited from apartheid, they have had long experience with competitive elections and Westminster-style parliamentary politics, albeit based on exclusionary and racially defined citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-110
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Democracy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998


  • South Africa
  • African National Congress (ANC)
  • apartheid
  • Afrobarometer

    Mattes, R., Gyimah-Boadi, E., Bratton, M., Logan, C., Dulani, B. & Mitullah, W.

    14/09/98 → …

    Project: Research

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