Mandela accompanied by his ex-wife Winnie walking out of Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town, a free man after 27 years of imprisonment
Mr Mandela in 1961
Mr Mandela in 1961

July 18, 1918: Born Rolihlahla Mandela in a small village in the eastern Cape of South Africa.

1944: Joins the African National Congress (ANC).

1944:  Marries first wife Evelyn Mase.

1948:  South African government introduces the racial segregation policy of apartheid.

December 1952:  Sentenced to nine months hard labour, suspended for two years, for civil disobedience campaign. Opens first black law firm with Oliver Tambo.

1956:  Charged with high treason as part of a round-up of 156 activists.

1958:  Divorces Evelyn Mase and marries social worker Winnie Madikizela.

1959: New racial segregation laws create homelands for South Africa’s blacks.

Violent clashes in Soweto in 1976
Violent clashes in Soweto in 1976

March 21, 1960: Sixty-nine black protesters killed during a demonstration at Sharpeville, in the Transvaal, provoking national uproar.

March 31, 1960: Government declares state of emergency.

April 8, 1960: Government bans the ANC.

March 29, 1961: Mr Mandela acquitted of treason at the culmination of four-year trial. He goes underground on the same day and is dubbed “The Black Pimpernel” by the media for his ability to evade the police.

April 1, 1961: Robben Island turns into a prison for political prisoners.

January 11, 1962: Using the name David Motsamayi, he leaves country and travels around Africa and to England to gain support for the “struggle”.

July, 1962: Returns to South Africa.

August 5, 1962: He is arrested for leaving the country without a passport and inciting workers to strike.

November 7, 1962: Mr Mandela is convicted and jailed for five years.

July, 1963: Police raid ANC secret hideout in Rivonia.

October, 1963: Joins 10 other activists on trial for sabotage in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial.

April 20, 1964: Gives his famous Speech From The Dock during which he declares he is prepared to die for equality.

June 11, 1964: He is convicted, jailed for life with seven others and sent to Robben Island.

Mr Mandela with FW de Klerk
Mr Mandela with FW de Klerk

1968: Mr Mandela’s mother dies.

1969: His eldest son is killed in a car crash; he is not allowed to attend his funeral or that of his mother.

1969: Winnie Mandela is detained in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison for 16 months under the Terrorism Act.

June 16, 1976: Soweto uprising protests – as many as 20,000 students demonstrate against the introduction of Afrikaans in the schoolroom. Up to 700 people are said to have died.

September 12, 1977: Anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko dies naked in Pretoria Central Prison after being tortured in police custody.

1980: Oliver Tambo, the president of the ANC, launches international campaign to release Mr Mandela.

May, 1980: British Lions tour to South Africa goes ahead despite British government opposition on grounds of apartheid.

March 14, 1982: Bomb explodes at ANC headquarters in London. Eight South African policemen admit the blast was in revenge for a 1981 attack on a Pretoria military base.

March, 31, 1982: Mr Mandela is transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town.

10 February, 1985: Refuses President PW Botha’s offer to release him if he renounces violence.

1985: Fellow Rivonia trialist Denis Goldberg is released from prison.

July 20, 1985: After protests against apartheid increase, President Botha declares a state of emergency in 36 districts.

October, 1985: British PM Margaret Thatcher agrees to impose limited Commonwealth trade sanctions on South Africa.

Nov 1985: Mr Mandela undergoes prostate surgery.

June 12, 1986: State of emergency is extended to the whole country.

Mr Mandela votes for the first time in his life.
Mr Mandela votes for the first time in his life.

November 1987: Fellow Rivonia trialist Govan Mbeki is released from prison.

August 12, 1988: Mr Mandela is treated for tuberculosis.

December 7, 1988: He is moved to a house at Victor Verster Prison, near Paarl.

September 20, 1989: FW de Klerk replaces Mr Botha as president and in his first speech vows to end racism in South Africa.

15 October, 1989: The remaining Rivonia trialists and Jeff Masemola, a Pan Africanist Congress prisoner, are released from prison.

December 13, 1989: Mr de Klerk meets Mr Mandela for the first time to discuss the future of South Africa.

February 2, 1990: Mr de Klerk lifts the ban on the ANC.

Mandela accompanied by his ex-wife Winnie walking out of Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town, a free man after 27 years of imprisonment
Mandela accompanied by his ex-wife Winnie walking out of Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town, a free man after 27 years of imprisonment

February 11, 1990: After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela walks free from Victor Verster Prison.

1991: Mr Mandela becomes president of the ANC.

December 10, 1993: He and Mr de Klerk win the Nobel Peace Prize.

April 27, 1994: Mr Mandela votes for the first time in his life in a free and democratic election.

May 10, 1994: Mr Mandela is sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected president as the head of the Government of National Unity.

1996: Divorces Winnie Mandela.

1998:  Marries Graca Machel – former first lady of Mozambique.

June 1999:  Steps down as president and Thabo Mbeki takes over after ANC wins elections.

July, 2001: Mr Mandela is diagnosed with prostate cancer and undergoes treatment.

June 1, 2004: Announces retirement from public life.

January 6, 2005: Mr Mandela announces death of his son Makgatho from Aids.

June 27, 2008: Hyde Park concert in honour of Mr Mandela’s 90th birthday.

June 11, 2010: Great granddaughter Zenani is killed in a car crash.

January 26, 2011: Mr Mandela is admitted to hospital in Johannesburg where he is treated for a chest infection for two days.

Michelle Obama visiting Mr Mandela
Michelle Obama visiting Mr Mandela

June 21, 2011: Meets Michelle Obama at his home.

February 25, 2012: Is admitted to hospital for one night with abdominal pains.

December 8, 2012: Goes back to hospital – this time with a lung infection.

December 15, 2012: He has an operation to remove gallstones.

December 26, 2012: Mr Mandela is released from hospital but undergoes further treatment at home.

March 9, 2013: He is admitted for a scheduled overnight hospital check-up.

March 27, 2013: Returns to hospital with a recurrence of his lung infection. President Jacob Zuma asks the world to “pray”.

April 6, 2013: Is discharged from hospital.

June 8, 2013: Is admitted to hospital.

December 5, 2013  Mandela dies at age 95. South African President Jacob Zuma makes the announcement at a news conference, saying “we’ve lost our greatest son.”

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