John Caesar Mwangi, MBA, 1994

I had arrived from Kenya at WBS on February 17th 1993 to join the full-time 1993-94 MBA class. As the first Kenyan student to enrol on this MBA program, I had been warned against going to South Africa in 1993 and had been repeatedly requested by family and friends to wait till the first democratic elections had taken place in 1994 and possibly get admission in 1995 due to the risk of violence escalating during the CODESA negotiations.

WBS was closed on 27th April 1994 when for the first time in the countries History all South Africans went to vote in the first democratic elections.Needless to say the dawn of this great day was a major milestone for me as I was able to witness the historical elections. Prior to the election several of my classmates had suggested that it may be wise for me to go back home and wait for the outcome in Kenya.

I however volunteered to join the National Peace Secretariat in Johannesburg where I was trained and subsequently deployed to work in the Johannesburg Polling stations as a peace monitor before, during and after the elections on the 27th April 1994. I was in a Patrol vehicle that included armed policemen and we visited almost all polling stations in Central Johannesburg investigating any suspicions activities and reporting any incidents to the appropriate authorities. When WBS opened a week after the elections, my classmates were horrified that I had involved myself in such a risky venture. (I remember classmates like Dr Dennis Cronson, Renny Manimala (from India), Isaac Mashilo Matstela, Kahlolo Nhlane, Anthony Orelowitz, Ockert Goosen, Dipak Patel, Dove Herdman, John Wanda (from Uganda), Albert Ketlereng (From Botswana), Haroon Takolia, Mavis Ntsebezaa, Sadeque Rhumally (from Mauritius) and others.

My simple answer to them was that I did not have the privilege of participating in the elections as a voter and I thus I had to contribute in my small way to what was one of the most historical events in the world. I doubt if there was any other election observer from WBS and I was the ambassador for this worthy cause. The elections were peaceful and the rest is history….. 24 years later as we celebrate 50 years, the memory is still fresh in my mind.

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