Nelson Mandela

  • Nelson Mandela is born.

    Mandela is born in a small village where his father is the chief. He is given the name Rolihlahla Mandela, meaning "troublemaker."
  • Mandela turned seven and starts school

    When Mandela turned seven he started going to school, making him the first in his family to go to school and recieve a western education. His methodist teacher there gave him the English name "Nelson" because his real name was too hard to pronounce.
  • Nelson Mandela's Father dies of TB

    When Nelson is only nine years old his father dies of TB, this was a real changing point in his life. After his father's death he is adopted by Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, the acting regent of the Thembu people.
  • Nelson Mandela develops an interest in politics

    Mandela went to school in a one-room building next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history, and geography. This is when Mandela developed his interest in African history.He learned that the African people had lived in peace until the t white people came.
  • Period: to

    Mandela attends University

    After attending local boarding schools, Mandela starts Fort Hare University and finishes two years and then decides to leave for Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marraige.
  • Period: to

    Mandela meets Walter Sisulu

    Mandela meets Walter Sisulu, who becomes a mentor and good friend. Mandela gets his B.A. degree, enrolls in law school and joins the ANC.
  • The ANC Youth League is Formed

    Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu form the ANC Youth League. They plan to to get support for the ANC, in order to make it a more activist heavy organization.
  • Mandela's First Marraige

    Mandela marries Evelyn Mase, who is a nursing student living in Johannesburg, that grew up in the same province as Mandela.
  • Apartheid is created

    The National Party comes to power under Dr. Daniel Malan. His "platform" is called apartheid, meaning "apartness." It created new laws that support racial discrimination and oppression that include the Separate Representation of Voters Act and the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act.
  • Period: to

    Boycotts, Protests, and Passive Resistants

    As a result of the new apartheid policies, the ANC Youth League reacts by drafting a Program of Action requiring mass strikes, boycotts, protests and passive resistance.
  • Suppression of Communism Act

    The National Party passes the Suppression of Communism Act, the Population and Registration Act, and the Group Areas act, they firmly enforce apartheid policies and are meant to stop all mass movements.
  • Mandela becomes national president of the ANC Youth League.

    Mandela becomes national president of the ANC Youth League.
  • The Defiance Campaign,

    Malan rejects the ANC's calls for legitimate rights for blacks, and the ANC launches the Defiance Campaign, a nonviolent mass resistance. Mandela is its volunteer-in-chief. Over the next five months, more than 8,500 take part in the campaign.
  • Mandela is Arrested

    Mandela and other ANC members are found guilty for violating the Suppression of Communism Act, but the nine months of imprisonment sentence is suspended for two months.
  • Period: to

    Mandela Banned

    Mandela is banned on and off for the next nine years from attending meetings or gatherings for the next two years.
  • Mandela Becomes the Deputy President of the ANC

    Mandela becomes its deputy president at the annual ANC conference. He creates the M-Plan, a plan for the ANC to work underground.
  • The ANC creates the Congress of the People

    The ANC creates the Congress of the People, representing members of all races, to make a set of principles for a new South Africa. The Freedom Charter is also created, which supports the abolition of racial discrimination and oppression.
  • Mandela is Arrested Again

    Mandela is arrested with over 150 other people and tried for high treason. Most of Mandela's time over the next few years is taken up by the trial, the "Treason Trial."
  • Divorce

    Mandela and Evelyn get a divorce.
  • Nelson Marries

    Mandela marries a social worker from Bizana in Pondoland, Winnie Madikizela. She takes on a politically active role while Mandela is busy with his trials.
  • Sharpeville Massacre

    Sharpeville was an anti-apartheid protest gathering to challenge South Africa's laws that decide where blacks can go. The police start to fire and 69 people die--most of them from a bullet to the back.
    The government then declares a State of Emergency and bans the ANC and other opposition groups. Mandela is arrested.
  • Not Guilty

    The "Treason Trial" finally ends and Mandela and the others are declared not guilty.
  • ANC Responds

    The ANC reacts to government's banning by endorsing an "armed struggle." Mandela launches the armed struggle from underground by forming Umkhonto we Sizwe (The Spear of the Nation)--or MK. MK's policy is to target only government offices and symbols of apartheid, not people.
    Mandela escapes the country and travels in Africa and Europe, studying guerrilla warfare and building support for the ANC."
  • Robben Island

    Robben Island
    Mandela is arrested when he returns to South Africa. He is convicted and sentenced to five years on Robben Island.
  • Period: to

    Mandela Brought Back to Trail

    Even though he is already serving his sentence, Mandela is brought to trial again with other ANC leaders, and charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government. Known as the Rivonia Trial, theey manage to escape a death sentence, but are sentenced to life in prison. In the winter of 1964, Mandela and his comrades are sent to Robben Island.
  • Period: to

    Imprisoned on Robben Island

    Nelson Mandela spent 18 out of a total 27 years in prison on Robben Island.
  • Winnie is Banished

    Winnie is banished to Brandfort, a remote township. She then spent over a year in jail (including solitary confinement) and faced constant harassment and humiliation from the pilice. She only becomes more aggressive and militant in opposing white rule.
  • "Release Mandela"

    In exile, Oliver Tambo and the ANC launch the "Release Mandela" campaign. Many countries and international groups sign petitions, pass resolutions and hold rallies for Mandela's release int the following years.
  • Pollsmoor Prison

    After 18 years on Robben Island, Mandela is brought back to the main land and held in Pollsmoor Prison.
  • Period: to


    Botha's plan for giving Indian and mixed-race voters--but not blacks--important spots in Parliament, black residents of townships south of Johannesburg start an insurrection that goes all the way across the country. The police are outraged, In one township, Langa, 20 people are fatally shot at a funeral procession.
  • Senator Kennedy

    United States Senator Edward Kennedy shows his anti-apartheid support by visiting South Africa.
  • Protest in the States

    Anti-apartheid rallies and protests happen in New York City, Atlanta and Washington throughout the Summer.
  • "Free Nelson Mandela"

    The song "Free Nelson Mandela" makes the Top Ten on rock-music charts in England.
  • Offer for Freedom

    Botha offers to free Mandela if he will renounce violence, but he declines.
  • An Unexpected Visit

    Mandela is surprised by a visit from Minster of Justice Kobie Coetsee while hospitalized for prostate surgery. When Mandela returned to prison, he is put in a separate cell from his comrades so the government can have private access to him.
  • State of Emergency

    The government declares a State of Emergency in response to widespread unrest in the black townships.
  • Secret Talks

    Approved by Botha and led by Coetsee Secret Talks begin between Mandela and the government. Mandela makes the decision prior to consulting other leaders of the ANC.
  • Talks Continue

    Talks with the government continue, Mandela tells his ANC comrades about the negotiations. Their reactions vary from outrage to strong support. Then rumors break out within the ANC that Mandela has "sold out."
  • Freedomfest

    A rock concert called "Freedomfest" is held on the 24th anniversary of Mandela's imprisonment, "Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Celebration" is held outside London and televised in 60 countries.
  • Treated for TB

    Mandela is treated for tuberculosis, and then transferred to Victor Verster Prison. He is held in an isolated cottage with a pool, a chef (Jack Swart), and gardens. He continues his meetings with the government.
  • Mandela and Botha Meet for Tea

    After many delays, Mandela and Botha meet for tea and Mandela presses for the release of Walter Sisulu.
  • Encouragement

    Botha resigns and F.W. de Klerk is sworn in as acting president. Mandela is encouraged when de Klerk releases Sisulu along with most of the Rivonia Trial prisoners, and starts to take apart the apartheid structure. De Klerk realizes that apartheid is not working. Despite arrests for violations of the pass laws, blacks continue to migrate iillegally.
  • The First Important Meeting

    Mandela and de Klerk meet the first of three initial meetings.
  • Bans Lifted

    de Klerk announces that the bans against the ANC and other political organizations have been lifted, in a speech to Parliament.
  • Free at Last

    Mandela is released after 27 years of imprisonment.As a free man he is busy, visiting old friends and supporters, becoming deputy president of the ANC, and traveling with Winnie to the U.S., Europe and North Africa.
  • Negotiations on a Multi-racial Democracy

    The ANC and the National Party begin negotiating forming a new multi-racial democracy for South Africa.
  • Inkatha Freedom Party

    A Zulu group led by Chief Buthelezi, the Inkatha Freedom Party, is launched as a political party. They disagree with the ANC, especially over the armed struggle. Mandela reaches out to Buthelezi to resolve their differences, but the Inkatha targets ANC strongholds in the Natal province and widespread violence escalates, with support from the white police force.
  • The Pretoria Minute

    The ANC and the Government agreed to end the armed strugglein the Pretoria Minute which both parties sign.
  • Mandela Elected ANC President

    The ANC holds its annual conference in South Africa for the first time, Mandela is elected ANC president.
  • Seperation from Winnie

    WInnie resigns as head of Social Welfare for the ANC, but not from the National Executive Committee when Mandela announces their separation.
  • More Talks

    CODESA 2 holds another round of talks to come up with a plan for a future democracy.
  • Period: to

    "Rolling Mass Action"

    The ANC agrees on a policy of "rolling mass action" made up of of strikes, protests and boycotts, to show the government the support the ANC has throughout the country. Meanwhile, the violence goes on with an Inkatha raid on ANC members that results in 46 dead in Boipatong township.
    The rolling mass action results in in a general strike protesting the violence.
  • Restart Negotiations

    The death toll increases forcing Mandela and de Klerk to restart negotiations. They both sign the Record of Understanding, promising to establish formal investigations into the violence and police actions. An elected constitutional assembly is also put together, that will develop a new constitution for the country.
  • Nobel Peace Prize

    Mandela and de Klerk are together awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Period: to

    Elected President

    All races vote in democratic elections for the first time in African history. Mandela is elected president of South African and the ANC tehn wins 252 of the 400 seats in the national assembly.
  • Inauguration

    Inaugurated as president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, with his daughter Zenani beside him; is sworn in as deputy president.
  • Divorce

    Mandela and Winnie get a divorce.
  • 80th Birthday and a Wedding

    Mandela weds Graca Machel on his 80th birthday , she is the widow of a former president of Mozambique."