Nelson Mandela

Timeline created by martina ll
  • The National Party was elected

    The National Party was very conservative and they wanted to keep Afrikaner culture and take control of the South African Government. Life for non-white people was getting worse. There were more than 3000 laws controlling them. These laws divided South Africa into four racial groups: white, black, Asian and mixed-race.
  • Period: to

    Freedom Day

    The 1st of May 1950, across South Africa, thousands of blacks took part in Freedom Day. It was a peaceful protest, but the police used violence and killed 18 people and hurt many others. After this day, the Government made it a crime to be a member of the Communist Party. The ANC kept making plans for their Day of Protest, which took place the 26th of June 1950. Thousands of black businesses didn't open.
  • More apartheid laws

    After the Day of Protest, the Prime Minister created more apartheid laws. The ANC Youth League sent him a letter asking for six laws to be cancelled, if not they would begin a countrywide movement, and they would not obey the laws. Nothing changed. Mandela and the ANC organised the Defiance Campaign, that asked thousands of blacks across South Africa to stay out after the night curfew, to enter white-only areas, to use white-only toilets, ... followed by strikes across the country.
  • Defiance Campaign

    More than 8500 people took part. During five months people from all races broke the apartheid laws. The punishment was usually a small fine and a short time in prison. The apartheid laws weren't cancelled, but the ANC grew stronger.
    The Government did take the ANC seriously but they didn't want to talk. After a month of the beginning of the campaign, the police broke down Mandela's door and took him to prison.
    Him and the other top leaders of the ANC were banned.
  • Mandela's ban

    Nelson was lifted from his ban and was allowed to travel outside Johannesburg. He went to a small village called Villiers in the Orange Free State, when he arrived, a group of policemen were waiting for him. They charged him for being a communist, and he was banned for two more years.
  • The Freedom Charter

    The National Party was re-elected and they made even harder laws.
    The same year, the ANC started working with other groups and they planned a Congress of the People, they wanted to creat a list of rights called "Freedom Charter".
  • Congress of the People

    The ANC asked more than 200 organisations to send people to a planning conference in March 1954.
    There, the groups decided they would collect ideas from their members.
    Mandela had to plan the Congress in secret. Many answers were collected in secret meetings, some wanted better payment, better education, housing and food. Others wanted freedom and equality. But most people wanted fair voting rights for all.
  • First day of the Congress

    More than 3000 people marched towards a football field in the town of Kliptown. The police were watching them, they took photos and wrote notes, they couldn't use violence.
    Most of the people there were black, but there were hundreds of Asians, mixed race and even some white people.
    Mandela was there too, but he had to watch from the distance because he was still banned.
  • Second day of the Congress

    On the second day of the conference, the police came with tanks and guns. They interviewed the poeple there one by one and their names were written down.
    The police broke up the Congress of the People, but the Freedom Charter was written, and that gave hope.
  • Mandela's detention

    A police detective and two officers entered Mandela's house and began searching it. Forty five minutes later, they arrested Mandela for high treason, which could be punished by death. Across the country many others were arrested for the same charge.
  • The Treason Trial

    The prisoners were put in a large cage inside the courtroom. When the judge saw it he ordered to take the cage from the court and freed the prisoners on bail.
    When the prisoners were leaving the courthouse a large crowd shouted "Nkosi Sikelel iAfrica", the police fired their guns to break up the crowd.
    The trial lasted four and a half years.
    Because of it, Mandela and the ANC became known and people respected them around the world.
  • Mandela and Winnie

    Mandela and Evelyn started to have some problems. Evelyn wanted Mandela to give up politics and return with her and their children, but Mandela couldn't give up politics because it was his life's work. They ended up getting a divorce. Later this year, Tambo introduced Winnie to Mandela.
    In March Mandela asked Winnie to marry him, and she accepted.
  • Mandela's wedding

    Winnie and Mandela got married in Winnie's village. Soon they had two daughters, Zeni and Zindzi.
    Then Nelson had to return to Johannesburg for the Treason Trial.
  • The Pan African Congress

    Robert Sobukwe left the ANC and created the Pan African Congress. The PAC didn't want white members. It didn't believe that whites, Asians or mixed race people could live in the new South Africa.
    The PAC's first plan was an anti-pass law campaign, similar to the one the ANC was planning. The PAC wanted to show that they were leading, so they setted their campaign 10 days before the ANC would began theirs.
  • The eight new countries

    The Government created 8 new "countries" in South Africa. These would be the homelands of the South Africa's blacks. Blacks were no longer from South Africa, they were from one of these homelands.
    Younger members of the ANC believed that the ANC was old-fashioned.
  • Day of Mourning

    The ANC leaders supported the PAC after the massacre. On the 26th, the president of the ANC publicly burned his passbook. On the 28th, Mandela did the same thing.
    The ANC called for a Day of Mourning. Hundreds of thousands of protestors filled the streets. White people began to buy guns and many left the country. The United Nations blamed the South African government for the massacre.
  • State of Emergency

    The Government called a stat of emergency. Police could arrest anyone for any reason. 20.000 people were arrested and the PAC and the ANC were banned. 1800 of their members, including Mandela were arrested. Robert Sobukwe was sent to prison for three years, but he ended up spending six.
    Now the ANC was a secret illegal organization.
  • Sharpeville massacre

    Sobukwe started the campaign. He went to a police station and gave them his passbook, he was arrested. During the day thousands of blacks gave in their passbooks. Usually they were arrested. In Sharpeville there was a large protest. Thousands of protestors crowded around a police station. They ordered the crowd to leave, but they didn't. Aeroplans dropped tear gas and the police began shooting.
    Sharpeville massacre was international news. This woke up the world to apartheid in South Africa.
  • The judge's decision

    The judge had made his decision. He said that the Government's case wasn't strong enough, so the men and women were not guilty.
  • New consitution

    South Africa left the British Commonwealth because the South African government was angry with Queen Elizabeth because she didn't agree with apartheid.
    They were going to write a new consitution. Mandela wanted this constitution to be colour-free, so he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister. He never replied.
  • Spear the Nation

    The ANC leaders now were sure that non-violence wasn't working, so they started making plans. They wanted to hurt the economy not the people. Mandela was made leader of an armed section called Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear the Nation). They would attack military buildings, railways, phone lines and power stations. In a town called Rivonia there was a secret farm. There Mandela and the other ANC leaders hid from the police and held meetings.
  • First attack of the Spear

    They put bombs in power stations and government offices in three cities. The Government and White South Africans were shocked.
    Madela said that now they understood that they were sitting on top of a volcano.
  • Mandela is caught

    Mandela hid from the police during 18 months, but at the end he was caught. He was found guilty of leaving the country. They sent him to prison for 5 years with hard labour.
  • Rivonia Trial

    The Rivonia Trial began. Mandela was charged with attacking buildings and planning protests, the punsihment could be death.
    He decided not to defend himself instead, he used the trial to show the world about apartheid.
    The Government spent five months presenting the case against Mandela. When its lawyers finished, he didn't defend himslef, but he made a statment that lasted 4 hours.
    He spoke of the terrible suffering and the unfairness.
    The judge found him guilty and sent him to life in prison.
  • South African Students Organisation

    Steve Biko created the SASO and became their first president. He was a great speaker and writer. He said that blacks needed to be proud of their colour and their culture.
    Biko and the SASO created clinics in poor black areas, and also started reading and writing programmes and skills training programmes.
    Biko and his ideas were becoming popular and the Government started to worry.
  • Education in Afrikaans

    The Government decided that the education had to be in Afrikaans, most teachers and blacks couldn't speak it. It was the language of the South African government.
    People were very angry about this. Teachers started to refuse to teach and students to take their exams.
  • Soweto

    On the morning of the 16th of June, 20.000 Soweto students protested. The protest wasn't planned and there weren't leaders.
    The police began shooting without warning. The first person who died was Hector Peterson who was 13 years old.
    The situation was getting worse. The first day 25 people died, the second Soweto was war zone. Hundreds were killed, thousands of students refused to go to class and five hundred teachers left their jobs.
    Violence spred to other parts of the country.
  • Biko's death

    Biko was arrested for the fourth time. He spent three weeks in prison, then he was beaten to death by the police. 20.000 people went to his funeral, incuding government representatives from Great Britain, the United States, Germany and France.
    His violent death shocked and angered the world.
  • From Robben Island to Pollsmoor

    Mandela and Walter Sisulu were moved in secret from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison. They gave no reason for the move.
    Mandela missed his fellow prisoners in Robben Island, but Pollsmoor was way better. The food was better, it had a library and a radio.
  • State of Emergency

    The Prime Minister called a state of emergency. Journalist couldn't report news freely, the Government told them what they could write, white people were afraid of a black rebellion and South Africa became the most armed country.
    Five million whites owned thirdteen million guns and thousands of people were sent to prison without trial. Many were wounded or killed.
  • The important Government move

    President Botha offered Mandela to freed him, but he had to stop the violence and agree to the tribal homeland policy. Mandela refused. Later this year Mandela went to the hospital, there Kobie Coetsee, a high member of the Government, visited him. They talked but not about politics. Mandela understood that they were making an important move, and also the reason for moving him to Pollsmoor.
    After Mandela returned to prison, Coetsse continued talking to him secretly.
  • Mandela's disease

    Mandela cought tuberculosis. The Government knew that if Mandela died, their best hope of political change would die with him. For this reason, the Government gave Mandela the best health care, and he slowly recovered. When he got better, he decided to write to President Botha, telling him that he would talk with them but that the ANC wanted equal voting rights, he also told him that he wanted to protect white people.
    Botha and Mandela had a few meetings but in the end nothing happened.
  • The Largest Strike

    That day the largest strike in South Africa's history happened. Almost two million blacks didn't go to work for three days. Ten workers were killed. The number of people arrested grew everday. in the Alexandra Township, 23 people were killed at a funeral. In a riot almost the whole township was burnt.
    Across South Africa millions of blacks fought the police and soldiers.
    The volcano had exploded.
  • FW de Klerk is elected

    Botha was replaced by a new leader, FW de Klerk. He was a big supporter of apartheid, but the situation in South Africa gave him no choice so he began to talk to Mandela and the ANC. Madela made all the demans although he was in prison, and he would not agree to his freedom unless those demands were met.
    De Klerk agreed to some of the demands but not all, so Mandela waited until they agreed on a plan,
  • The beginning of the change

    In May the Government and the ANC tried to fix the problem of political prisoners. To the ANC anyone fighting against apartheig was a political prisoner but the Government thought that murderers and terrorist should stay in prison.
    The state of emergency was ended and the law which separeted all buildings and services was cancelled. All of these were all good decisions, but they still hadn't the right to vote. In June Mandela left South Africa for a six week trip to fourteen countries.
  • New plans

    De Klerk spoke to South Africa's government in Cape Town. Lots of people watched on television and they were shocked when de Klerk told them that the ANC and sixty other organisations would be made legal. With this 374 political prisoners would be freed. He also said that the state of emergency would end soon. Finally he was working on a plan to give all South Africans a vote and Nelson Mandela would be also freed.
  • Mandela is freed

    Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison.
    A few days later one hundred and twety thousand people went to Soweto's football stadium to see him. Almost one hundred thousand more listend from outside the stadium.
    Mandela spoke of his sadness and told the whites that they would have a place in the new South Africa. He also warned the Government that they needed more than promises. When his speech was finished, thousands of balloons rose into the sky.
    Mandela became president of the ANC.
  • Nobel Prize

    In December, Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Elections

    The whole world was watching South Africa. Millions of people waited in line to vote, and officers from other countries were there watching to make sure the elections were fair.
    It took days to count the votes, but it was very clear who had win. Nelson Mandela was the new president of South Africa.
  • Mandela's third wife

    Mandela began a reletionship with Graça Machel. She became his third wife on his eightieth birthday.