This is a brief timeline of Nelson Mandela giving some of the basic dates of important events and it outlines his brief biography.
1918 July 18 Rolihlahla Mandela is born in the small village of Mveso on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. His father was Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa and his mother Nosekeni Fanny. Rolihlahla was given the name Nelson when he started school.
1927 Nelson Rolihlahla’s father dies. He is placed under the guardianship of Jongintaba Dalindyebo acting chief of the Thembu tribe.
1937 Attends Wesleyan College in Fort Beaufort then studies for BA at Fort Hare University. It was here that Mandela met his life-long friend Oliver Tambo.
1939 Nelson becomes involved in a boycott against the Universities policies and has to leave.
1939 He escapes an arranged marriage and moves to Johannesburg.
1939 Whilst in Johannesburg he completes his BA through correspondence and studies Law at the University of Witwatersrand
1943 Nelson Mandela becomes a member of the African National Congress (ANC).
1944 Along with Oliver Tambo, forms the Youth League of the ANC
1944 Nelson Mandela marries Evelyn Mase. They go on to have 4 children – one of whom dies as an infant.
1948 The apartheid policy of segregation is implemented across South Africa
1952 Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo open the first black legal firm in South Africa.
1952 While providing free or cheap legal aid to blacks, Mandela is actively involved in the ANC’s defiance campaign.
1955 Freedom Charter calling for equal rights is adopted at the Congress of the people.
1956 On Dec 5 Mandela and 155 other political activists are charged with treason. The Rivonia Trial followed until 1956 when all were acquitted.
1957 Mandela’s first marriage ends
1958 Nelson Mandela marries ‘Winnie’ Madikizela. They go on to have 2 children
1959 New laws passed separating homelands for black groups and increasing racial segregation.
1959 Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) is formed and the ANC loses many members and financial support to the group.
1960 At the Sharpeville Massacre 69 black South Africans are shot by police at a peaceful protest and over 150 are wounded.
1960 The ANC is banned and Mandela goes underground forming ‘The Spear of the Nation’ (MK) military group with arms.
1961 Mandela issues a call to arms and becomes leader of the Umkhontoat ANC guerilla movement.
1962 Aug 5, Mandela is arrested and imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort.
1962 Oct 25 – sentenced to 5 years in prison but goes on the run
1964 Nelson is recaptured, tried for treason and sabotage and is sentenced to life imprisonment. He is 46 years old and goes to Robben Island prison where he spends the next 18 years of his imprisonment, before being moved before his eventual release in 1990.
1965 Rhodesian independence, with only white representation in government.
1968 Mandela loses his eldest son in a car crash and his mother also dies. He is not permitted to attend their funerals.
1968 The United Nations expels Rhodesia because of its apartheid policies
1976 Protests in Soweto and Sharpeville (lead by Steve Biko), result in the death of over 600.
1977 Biko is killed while in police custody.
1980 Oliver Tambo (who has been exiled) launches an international campaign to have Mandela released.
1980 Zimbabwe gains independence.
1983 Farmers are allowed to arm themselves and by 1983 Government making claims of multiple murders, rapes and robberies by black dissidents
1986 Sanctions increase against South Africa costing millions.
1988 Amnesty for dissidents announced. 122 surrender
1990 Feb 11 – Nelson Mandela is freed from prison after 27 years.
1990 The ban on the ANC is lifted by President de Klerk, and talks on forming a multi-racial democracy begin.
1991 Nelson Mandela becomes president of the ANC. Olympic Games ban lifted.
1992 Winnie Mandela is convicted of kidnapping and as an accessory to assault. She and Nelson separate.
1993 Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1993 Nelson and Winnie divorce
1994 April 26 – first elections where blacks can vote. The ANC wins the election with 252 seats out of 400.
1994 Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as the first black President of South Africa in May. De Klerk is appointed as Deputy President and the racially mixed Government of National Unity is formed.
1995 Mandela wears a Springbok shirt at the South African hosted Rugby World Cup. This is seen as a gesture of healing and trust between black and white.
1998 July 18 Nelson Mandela marries Graca Machel (widow of former Mozambique President) on his 80th birthday.
1999 Mandela relinquishes the Presidency of South Africa to Thabo Mbeki.
2000 Mandela is appointed mediator civil war in Burundi.
2001 Nelson Mandela is treated for prostate cancer.
2004 At 85 Mandela announces retirement from official life. He is granted the honor of the freedom of the city of Johannesburg.
2005 Jan 6 Mandela’s son Makgatho dies of AIDS.
2009 The United Nations General Assembly declares July 18 ‘Mandela Day’ as a tribute to his contribution to world freedom. Witnesses President Zuma’s first State of the Nation address.
2010 Is formally presented with the Fifa World Cup trophy before it embarks on a tour of South Africa
2010 June 11 His great-granddaughter Zenani is killed in a car accident.
2010 July Celebrates his 92nd birthday at home in Johannesburg with family and friends
2010 Oct 12 His book Conversations with Myself is published
2011 Jan Is admitted to hospital in Johannesburg where he was diagnosed with a chest infection. He is discharged after two nights
2011 June 27 His book Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations is launched
2012 Dec 8 Admitted to hospital until Dec26
2013 Jan 1 Spends New Year’s Day with members of his family in Johannesburg
2013 June 8 Admitted to hospital
2013 July 18 spends his 95th Birthday in hospital
2013 Sept 01 Discharged from hospital
2013 Dec 05 Nelson Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Quotes:
“If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”
“I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.”
“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.”
“I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.”
Rest In Peace Tata Madiba. May your light shine through the people of South Africa, keeping us united.