Timeline

Timeline

To condense all of Mr Nelson Mandela’s achievements into one chronology would be impossible; as a result, we do not claim that our work here is comprehensive. Below you will find a chronology of important events in his life. It is a work in progress and we are happy to receive your comments or additions.

Year Date Event
1918 July 18 Born Rolihlahla Mandela at Mvezo in the Transkei
1925 Attends primary school near Qunu (receives the name ‘Nelson’ from a teacher)
Circa 1927 Entrusted to Thembu Regent 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 the law firm Witkin, Sidelsky & Eidelman
1942 Completes BA through the University of South Africa (UNISA)
1942 Begins to attend African National Congress (ANC) meetings informally
1943 Graduates with BA from Fort Hare; Enrols for an LLB at Wits University
1944 Co-founds the ANC Youth League (ANCYL); marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase – they have four children: Thembekile (1945); Makaziwe (1947 – who dies after nine months); Makgatho (1950); Makaziwe (1954)
1948 Elected national secretary of the ANCYL
1951 Elected President of the ANCYL
1952 Defiance Campaign begins; Arrested and charged for violating the Suppression of Communism Act; Elected Transvaal ANC President; Convicted with J.S 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 29 March 1961
1958 Divorces Evelyn Mase; Marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela – they have two daughters: Zenani (1959) and Zindzi (1960)
1960 March 21 Sharpeville Massacre
March 30 A State of Emergency imposed and he is among thousands detained
April 8 The ANC is banned
1961 Goes underground; Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) is formed
1962 January 11 Leaves the country for military training and to garner support for the ANC
August 5 Arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal
November 7 Sentenced to five years in prison for incitement and leaving the country without a passport
1963 May 27 Sent to Robben Island
June 12 Returned to Pretoria Local Prison
October 9 Appears in court for the first time in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial
December 3 Pleads not guilty to sabotage in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial
1964 June 11 All except Rusty Bernstein and James Kantor are convicted and sentenced (June 12) to life
1969 July 13 Thembekile is killed in a car accident
1982 March 31 Mr Mandela, Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba and Andrew Mlangeni and later Ahmed Kathrada are sent to Pollsmoor Prison
1985 Rejects South African President PW Botha’s offer to release him if he renounces violence
1985 November 3 Has prostate surgery
1988 August 12 Admitted to Tygerberg Hospital and is diagnosed with Tuberculosis
August 31 Admitted to Constantiaberg MediClinic
December 7 Moved to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl where he was held for 14 months in a cottage
1990 February 2 ANC is unbanned
1990 February 11 Released
March 2 Elected ANC Deputy President
1993 December 10 Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with FW de Klerk
1994 April 27 Votes for the first time in his life
May 9 Elected by Parliament as first president of a democratic South Africa
May 10 Inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa
December 14 Launches his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom
1995 Establishes the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
1996 Divorces Winnie Mandela
1998 July 18 Marries Graça Machel on his 80th birthday
1999 Steps down after one term as President, establishes the Nelson Mandela Foundation
2001 Diagnosed with prostate cancer
2003 Establishes the Mandela Rhodes Foundation
2004 June 1 Announces that he will be stepping down from public life
2005 January 6 Announces that his eldest son Makgatho had died of AIDS
2007 Witnesses the installation of his grandson Mandla as chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council
2008  July 18 Turns 90 years old, asks future generations 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 witnesses Zuma’s first State of the Nation address; Turns 91
2010 Is formally presented with the Fifa World Cup trophy before it embarks on a tour of South Africa
2010 June 11 His great-granddaughter Zenani is killed in a car accident
2010 June 17 Attends the funeral of his great-granddaughter Zenani
2010 July 11 Makes a surprise appearance at the Final of the Fifa World Cup in Soweto
2010 July Celebrates his 92nd birthday at home in Johannesburg with family and friends
2010 October His second book Conversations with Myself is published
2010 November 18 Meets the South African and American football teams that played in the Mandela Challenge match
2011 January Is admitted to hospital in Johannesburg where he was diagnosed with a chest infection. He is discharged after two nights
2011 May 16 Votes in the local government elections
2011 June His book Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations is published
2011 June 21 Is visited at home by American First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia
2011 July 18 Celebrates his 93rd birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape
2011 October 21 Is officially counted in South Africa’s Census 2011
2011 December Spends Christmas with family in Qunu
2012 February 25 Admitted to hospital for abdominal complaint. Discharged after one night
2012 July 18 Celebrates his 94th birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape
December 8 Is admitted to hospital
December 26 Is discharged from hospital
2013 January 1 Spends New Year’s Day with members of his family in Johannesburg
March 9 – 10 In hospital
March 27 – April 6 In hospital
June 8 Admitted to hospital