Madiba 20

Timeline of Mandela's life

2010-02-11 16:09

Special Report

Obama calls Mandela
Obama calls Mandela

US President Barack Obama has called former president Nelson Mandela to mark the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.

Johannesburg - To mark the anniversary of the release of former president Nelson Mandela from prison 20 years ago on Thursday, the foundation named after him released this chronology:

1918: Born at Mvezo in the Transkei on July 18;

1925: Attends primary school near Qunu and receives the name 'Nelson' from a teacher;

1927: Entrusted to Paramount Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo;

1934: Undergoes initiation; Attends Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo;

1937: Attends Healdtown, the Wesleyan College at Fort Beaufort;

1939: Enrols at the University College of Fort Hare, in Alice;

1940: Expelled;

1941: Escapes an arranged marriage; becomes a mine night watchman; starts articles at law firm Witkin, Sidelsky & Eidelman;

1942: Completes BA through the University of South Africa;

1942: Begins to attend African National Congress meetings informally;

1943: Enrols for an LLB at Wits University;

1944: Co-founds the ANC Youth League (ANCYL); marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase -- they have four children: Thembikile (1946); Makaziwe (1947 -- who dies after nine months); Makgatho (1951); Makaziwe (1954);

1948: Elected national secretary of the ANCYL;

1951: Elected President of the ANCYL;

1952: Defiance Campaign begins. arrested; elected Transvaal ANC president; arrested for violating the Suppression of Communism Act; opens own law office; convicted with JS. Moroka, Walter Sisulu and 17 others under the Suppression of Communism Act; Sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years; elected first of ANC deputy presidents; opens South Africa's first black law firm with Oliver Tambo;

1953: Devises the M-Plan for the ANC's future underground operations;

1955: Watches as the Congress of the People at Kliptown launches the Freedom Charter;

1956: Arrested and joins 155 others on trial for treason. All are acquitted by 1961;

1958: Divorces Evelyn Mase; Marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela - they have two daughters: Zenani (1959) and Zindziswa (1960);

1960: On March 30 the ANC is banned, a State of Emergency imposed

1961: Goes underground; Umkhonto weSizwe is formed

1962: In January leaves the country for military training; in July returns to South Africa and drives to Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia. Travels to KwaZulu-Natal to report back to ANC president Chief Albert Luthuli and others;

On August 5 he is arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal; in November sentenced to five years for incitement and for leaving the country illegally

1963: Sent to Robben Island in May; returned to Pretoria for the Rivonia sabotage trial with nine others: Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi, Rusty Bernstein, Andrew Mlangeni and James Kantor;

1964: In April makes his famous speech from the dock in which he says he is "prepared to die" for a democratic South Africa; On June 11 all except Bernstein and Kantor are convicted and on June 12 are sentenced to life; all except Goldberg are sent to Robben Island to serve their sentences. Goldberg, as the only white person convicted in the trial is held in Pretoria Central Prison. Mandela is assigned the prisoner number 466/64;

1968: Mandela's mother Nosekeni dies;

1969: Thembikile killed in a car accident;

1982: Mandela, Sisulu, Mhlaba and Mlangeni and later Kathrada sent to Pollsmoor Prison;

1985: Rejects apartheid president PW Botha's offer to release him if he renounces violence; has prostate surgery; Goldberg accepts the offer and is released;

1986: In July meets justice and prisons minister where he first raises the issue of talks about talks between the National Party government and the ANC. Also asked to meet president PW Botha;

1987: In November Govan Mbeki is released from Robben Island;

1988: In August contracts Tuberculosis and is admitted to Tygerberg Hospital for six weeks; In September admitted to Constantiaberg MediClinic. In December moved to Victor Verster Prison;

1989: In July Meets PW Botha; in October Sisulu, Kathrada, Motsoaledi, Mlangeni and Mhlaba are released; meets Botha's successor FW de Klerk in December;

1990: On February 2, at the opening of Parliament, De Klerk announces the unbanning of all political organisations including the ANC; on February 9 Mandela meets De Klerk and is informed of his release the next day in Johannesburg; he objects saying he wants to walk out of Victor Verster and asks for an extra week for the ANC to prepare; De Klerk refuses the extension but agrees to release him at Victor Verster; on February 10 De Klerk announces at a media conference that Mandela will be released the next day; on February 11 he is released; on February 13 he spends his first night in decades at his family home of 8115 Orlando West, Soweto;

1993: Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with De Klerk;

1994: On April 27 votes for the first time in his life; on May 9 is elected as first president of a democratic South Africa; on May 10 he is inaugurated as president;

1996: Divorces Winnie Mandela;

1998: On July 18 marries Graca Machel on his 80th birthday;

1999: Steps down after one term as president;

2001: Diagnosed with prostate cancer;

2004: In June announces he is stepping down from public life;

2005: On January 6 Makgatho dies. Announces that his eldest son had died of complications from HIV/Aids;

2007: Witnesses the installation of grandson Mandla as chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council;

2008: Turns 90-years-old, asks the emerging generation to continue the fight for social justice;

2009: Votes for the fourth time in his life; attends the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma on May 9 and his first State of the Nation address;

2009: Turns 91.

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