Toronto Man Donates Original 1994 South African Multi-Racial Election Ballot

By Karen Bliss 3/3/10 |

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A portion of the 19 political hopefuls on the 1994 South African election ballot
An original ballot from South Africa’s historic 1994 multi-racial election that voted Nelson Mandela into power and marked the end of Apartheid was donated by the Groll family last week to Nelson Mandela Park Public School in Toronto. A second ballot was given to Windfields Junior High School, also in Toronto.

“The Groll family is originally from South Africa and wanted to share this historic artifact with our school,” Windfields principal Richard Nosov wrote in an email to parents and guardians of his students.

Nosov told that the ballot was first given to Windfields teacher Michael Clark by David Groll, whose daughter attends the school.  Clark showed it to him, and Nosov decided to contact Groll to see if he was aware of Nelson Mandela Park Public School downtown. He asked if he would consider donating the ballot there and contacted its principal, Nicole Pearson, to make the arrangements.

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(L to R) David Groll, Nicole Pearson (principal, Nelson Mandela Park Public School), Aviva Groll, Richard Nosov (principal, Windfields Junior High School)
During a school assembly last week about a huge renovation Nelson Mandela Park Public School will undergo, Groll, accompanied by his wife, Aviva, presented the framed ballot and spoke “uplifting words about the power of democracy and justice,” Nosov said in the email.

“I had a chance to speak as well, and brought our two schools together by mentioning that William Harrison — who once owned the land on which Windfields Junior High School is built — lost his life in the Rebellion of 1837 fighting for democracy and responsible government in Upper Canada (now Ontario).”

Nelson Mandela, as leader of the African National Congress, was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black President on May 10, 1994. The date of that election, April 27, is now Freedom Day, a public holiday, in that country. He served until 1999. The United Nations General Assembly has also recognized Mandela’s birthday, July 18, as Mandela Day, marking his contribution to world freedom.  Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for “crimes” committed while leading the anti-apartheid movement. He was released February 11, 1990.

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