Below are some quotes from politicians and voters on South Africa's election on Wednesday:
ANC LEADER JACOB ZUMA
"When I grew up, I did know that this day would come. This makes me feel great and it's a feeling far different from the one that we had under the apartheid government."
"I am very happy that people came out to vote and I am glad that people understand what voting is all about."
JOSEPH SIBEKO, 45, TRUCK DRIVER
"I'll vote for the ANC. No matter what happens I'd never give up my right to vote."
NOBEL LAUREATE ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
"In the first years of our freedom most people would have tended to vote ANC, now it is no longer quite so straightforward. People are asking questions, which is a good thing. I mean that is what democracy is."
ANC POLITICIAN WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA
"This particular election is important because the people have reclaimed their organization. We have seen a lot of wake-up calls ... This time around we will lead the people of South Africa as best as we can."
FORMER PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI
"It is very, very good for the country that we now have this election. What is important is that all of us must remember that this is a secret ballot so don't ask me who I voted for."
"The future of our country in part depends on people voting according to their conscience."
LERATO MORABA, 20, STUDENT
"I'm not really happy about some of the things happening with the leadership. But the ANC has given us these opportunities so I'll vote for them."
HELEN ZILLE, DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE LEADER
"It has been a hard campaign, it has been a hard and grueling campaign, It's been 82 days on the road, day and night."
"I am expecting a good result, I think South African voters know what we need to do to save democracy and to ensure that a government delivers. I know that they know what to do to prevent a criminal state and they'll go out today and do it."
PRESIDENT KGALEMA MOTLANTHE
"Everyone who participates in this election shapes the history and direction of this country, no voice is less important than the other."
THEMBA ZWANE, 40, RESIDENT OF SOWETO
"I've been voting since 1994 and I still don't have a house or a job. They have forgotten about us after we fought for this country instead of going to school. Now we are old and uneducated and nobody will give us a job."
"My party is the ANC and I'd rather not vote than vote for people I don't know."
MVUME DANDALA, COPE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
"I voted for hope, I voted for change."
"It (COPE) is a baby with teeth. We can bite and I do believe the people of South Africa have heard our message."
"We will not allow that man (Zuma) to get away with the kinds of things we have seen happening. The primary problem in this country is not policy it is implementation and that implementation has been undermined by corruption."
"Our people are frustrated."
ALEX SAZIWA, 72, SELF-EMPLOYED BUSINESSMAN
"I expect a higher turnout in 2009 than previous years. I think people will give the ANC a bigger mandate to try and sort out some of government's challenges. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day."
BUHLE NCHUKANA, 19, IN GAP YEAR AT HOME
"I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning. It's my first time to vote and I'm obviously excited. We are hoping for a better future, especially for students. We need more bursaries and stuff."
"I don't think people will vote more for the ANC because of all the dirty deeds blackening the president's name. We obviously want someone we can trust, someone who has morals and won't disappoint us. I think the youth will vote for opposition parties."
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf in Cape Town, Phumza Macanda in Soweto, Sandiso Ngubane in Nkandla and Alison Raymond in Johannesburg)