South Africans might not be clear who in the ANC is winning the battle, but there is little doubt that it is the people of the country who are losing, writes Howard Feldman.
Now as much as ever, South Africa needs disciplined leaders, Nelson Mandela has said at birthday celebration in Pretoria.
Key dates in the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela:
July 18, 1918: Born into Thembu royal family in Mvezo village in southeast South Africa.
1940: Expelled from Fort Hare University College for participating in student strike.
1941: Moved to Johannesburg, became mine policeman.
1942: Joined African National Congress (ANC).
1944: Married Evelyn Mase, trainee nurse.
1952: Opened first black law practice in Johannesburg with Oliver Tambo.
1956: Among 156 political activists arrested and charged with treason.
1958: Married social worker Nomzamo Zaniewe Winifred "Winnie" Madikizela.
1960: Security forces massacred 67 protesters in Sharpeville. Government banned ANC and Pan African Congress and declared state of emergency.
1961: Acquitted in treason trial, along with co-accused.
Launch of ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (Spear of the Nation), with Mandela as commander in chief.
1962: Captured and sentenced to five years in prison for incitement to strike and leaving country illegally.
1963: While serving this sentence, charged with sabotage and treason along with other ANC activists arrested in Rivonia near Johannesburg.
June 12, 1964: After famous speech from dock (democracy "is an ideal for which I am prepared to die"), sentenced to life imprisonment, sent to Robben Island prison off Cape Town.
1989: Met president PW Botha and FW de Klerk, who became Botha's successor.
1990: Released from prison February 11.
1991: Elected ANC president.
1992: Separated from Winnie.
1993: Won Nobel peace prize with De Klerk.
1994: First all-race elections. Inaugurated May 10 as president.
1998: Married Graca Machel, widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel.
1999: Handed over presidency to Thabo Mbeki.
2004: Announced his retirement from public life.
2005: Announced that his son Makgatho had died of HIV/Aids.
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African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma says former president Nelson Mandela is the glue holding the country together.
Hundreds of people have started to gather at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium to celebrate former president Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.
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