Making Sense of the ‘Coloured’ Vote in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Comparing the 1994 and 1999 Provincial Results in the Western Cape

The voting behaviour of coloureds in South Africa’s short history of democratic elections has often been treated in an off-hand or simplistic manner. Those most guilty of this abuse have been the popular mass media and political party activists. As a result, existing interpretations of coloured voting patterns in the national and provincial elections of 1994 and 1999 invent ‘traditional’ voting patterns for coloureds or even reify a homogenous coloured voting bloc. Media commentators and political party activists have often dealt with coloured voters as if they are a single, homogenous entity, with little regard for factors of class, region, religion or the impact of self-identification. For example, when the majority of coloured voters opted for the National Party (NP) in the first democratic election in 1994, interpretations of that vote – rather than interrogating it – sought to conveniently explain it through supposed ‘traditional voting patterns’ or coloureds’ supposed ‘historical affinity’ for the NP.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: African National Congress (ANC), Coloured Vote, New National Party (NPP), Trevor Manual
journal of african elections vol1 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa