Nelson Mandela death: his life in pictures

view gallery VIEW GALLERY


Nelson Mandela timeline:

1918: Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela is born in the village of Mvezo, in the Transkei on 18 July. His father, a member of the Thembu clan, has three other wives in addition to Rolihlahla’s mother, and 12 other sons and daughters.

1925: Mandela becomes the first member of his immediate family to go to school. On his first day at primary school, his schoolmistress gives him the name “Nelson”.

1927: Mandela’s father dies of tuberculosis. Jongintaba Dalindyebo, paramount chief of the Thembu, becomes his guardian.

1934-7: Attends Clarkebury Boarding Institute and undergoes tribal initiation.

1937-8: Attends Healdtown, a Wesleyan college at Fort Beaufort, graduating in 1938.

1939-40: Enrols at the University of Fort Hare – but is suspended as a result of disruptive activities on the students’ representative council. Meets Oliver Tambo.

1941: Flees to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage. Works as a guard at Crown Mines; meets Walter Sisulu, who finds him work as a law clerk. Studies for a law degree by correspondence at the University of South Africa, completing it in 1942.

1943: Joins the African National Congress (ANC). Enrols for LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand.

1944: Forms the ANC Youth League, together with others including Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo. Marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase, with whom he will have two sons and two daughters.

1948: National Party comes to power, and begins to implement its programme of apartheid. Mandela elected national secretary of ANC Youth League.

1950: Population Registration Act and Group Areas Act passed, segregating blacks and whites. South African Communist Party is banned. In response, Mandela and others plan an ANC campaign of civil disobedience: the Defiance Campaign.

1952: Mandela qualifies as attorney and, with Tambo, starts a law practice in Johannesburg. Defiance Campaign launched nationally. Mandela given suspended jail sentence under Suppression of Communism Act.

1956-61: The Treason Trial, Mandela and 155 others are arrested and charged with treason. The charges are eventually dropped, but only after a four-year trial.

1957: Mandela divorces his first wife.

1958: Mandela marries Winnie Madikizela, a social worker with whom he will have two daughters. Promotion of Black Self-Government Act establishes a system of black homelands.

1960: On 21 March, 69 people, many of them women or children, are killed by security forces in the Sharpeville Massacre. Subsequently, amid fears of black reprisals, the ANC is banned. The government imposes a state of emergency.

1961: Mandela forms Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, which includes sabotage (but not violence against people) among the tactics that it considers legitimate. Goes into hiding.

1962: Mandela goes abroad to gather support and to undergo military training. Arrested on his return and charged with leaving the country illegally. Sentenced to five years in jail.

1963-4: The Rivonia trial. Mandela and nine other ANC leaders are charged with sabotage and treason. All but one are sentenced to life imprisonment and taken to Robben Island.

1964: South Africa is barred from Tokyo Olympic Games.

1969: Mandela’s son Thembi is killed in a car crash. He is not allowed to attend his funeral.

1976: More than 600 people, mainly students, killed during protests at Soweto and Sharpeville.

1977: Steve Biko, leader of the 1976 protests, is killed in police custody.

1982: Mandela, Sisulu and others are transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town. Mandela rejects President PW Botha’s offer to release him if he renounces violence.

1984: Continuing revolts in townships lead to declaration of a state of emergency.

1985: President PW Botha again offers to release Mandela, subject to his renouncing the armed struggle and promising to do nothing that puts him in conflict with South African law. Via his daughter Zindzi, Mandela rejects the offer.

1988: Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley is watched by 600 million people in 67 countries, increasing pressure on the South African government.

1989: FW de Klerk replaces Botha as president.

1990: The ban on the ANC is lifted. On 11 February, Mandela is released. The ANC and the ruling National Party begin talks on forming a multi-racial government. Mandela is elected ANC deputy president.

1991: Mandela is elected president of the ANC at the movement’s first national conference. Winnie Mandela is convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault in connection with the death of 14-year-old Stompie Moeketsi in 1989.

1993: Mandela is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with President de Klerk. Chris Hani, leader of the ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe wing, is assassinated. Mandela appeals for calm.

1994: South Africa’s first fully democratic election begins on 27 April. By 9 May, Nelson Mandela is elected President. On 10 May, Mandela is inaugurated as president.

1995: Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up. South Africa hosts the rugby World Cup; Mandela attends the final wearing a Springbok shirt, inspiring both a South African victory and a wave of national reconciliation.

1996: Divorces Winnie Mandela.

1998: Marries (on his 80th birthday) Graça Machel, widow of former Mozambican president Samora Machel.

1999: Retires as President, and is succeeded by Thabo Mbeki.

2001: Diagnosed with prostate cancer and begins a course of radiotherapy.

2003: Gives his support to the 46664 AIDS fundraising campaign (named after his old prison number).

2004: Announces his retirement from public life.

2005: Mandela announces that his son, Makgatho, has died of an Aids-related illness. He says: “Let us give publicity to HIV/Aids and not hide it.”

2008: On 27 June, politicians and stars join crowds in London’s Hyde Park to celebrate his impending 90th birthday. In a speech to mark his birthday, Mandela calls on the world’s rich to “end poverty”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk