By Joseph Barrios

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Amisdst terrorist bombings and racial tension, all citizens of South Africa will be allowed to vote for the first time in a presidential election tomorrow.

And South African citizens at the University of Arizona will have the opportunity to participate in those elections today.

Citizens residing in Arizona can cast their votes in the elections today at a polling station in Phoenix. This is the first time any South African citizen can cast a vote from overseas.

"I think it's a great historic event, not only for South Africa, but for the whole African continent and mankind in general," said Seydou Coulibaly, a range management graduate student from West Africa. "Tomorrow will be a turning point for (South African voters)."

Before now, only white citizens were given the opportunity to vote, now the election will be open to all races living in the area.

The South African Consulate in Beverly Hills, Calif., reported that about 23 polling stations will be open in the United States. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 2707 Van Buren St. in Phoenix.

And Coulibaly said several local eligible voters, including UA students, plan to cast ballots today.

Dorothy Roome, a media arts graduate student and former South African citizen, said she thought all eligible voters should be proud of this opportunity.

"For a long time, white South Africans felt uncomfortable about acknowledging their place of birth," Roome said. "You were automatically deemed racist."

Coulibaly, president of Association, said the students and citizens voting in the election should be grateful for being able to express themselves freely.

Roome said her daughter, Siobhan, is still a citizen of South Africa and is planning to drive to Phoenix today with two other eligible voters and vote.

"I told her today that you have to make a stand in life," Roome said. "If you're going to be a South African citizen, that's okay but do the things a citizen should do."

Yesterday, the South African government ordered out more than 100,000 police to guard voters in the election after two terrorist bombs exploded in the Johannesburg area of Germiston.

Associated Press contributed to this story. Read Next Article