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The life of Nelson Mandela

by The Associated Press on December 06, 2013 10:42 AM

Major events in the life of Nelson Mandela: 

July 18, 1918: Born to Hendry Mphakanyiswa, a Thembu chief, and Nosekeni Qunu in the Umtata district of the Transkei, at a time when virtually all of Africa was under European colonial rule.

1940: Expelled from University of Fort Hare, a leading institution for blacks, for role in a student strike.

1942: Joins African National Congress, South Africa’s main campaigner for black equality.

1943: Receives BA from Fort Hare after completing correspondence courses through University of South Africa.

June 4, 1948: National Party, dominated by white Dutch-descended Afrikaners, is elected to power and begins installing apartheid, a system of complete racial segregation. It will rule without interruption for 46 years.

1958: Marries social worker Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela after divorcing Evelyn Mase, his first wife.

1961: Helps establish ANC guerrilla wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation.

April 20, 1964: At a time when many African colonies have become independent and Mandela is on trial for sabotage, he declares from the dock that he is “prepared to die” for a democratic South Africa.

June 12, 1964: Mandela and six others are sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to notorious Robben Island to serve their sentences.

1973: Refuses a government offer of release on condition he agrees to a kind of exile in his native Transkei.

Feb. 10, 1985: Another release offer, on condition he renounce violence. In fiery refusal, read by his daughter Zindzi at a rally, Mandela says burden is on the government to renounce violence, end apartheid and negotiate.

1985: While in hospital for prostate surgery he is visited by Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee, the beginning of a political and diplomatic process that will lead on Dec. 9, 1988, to his transfer to better prison conditions on the mainland, north of Cape Town.

July 5, 1989: Meets President P.W. Botha.

Dec. 13, 1989: Meets Botha’s successor, F.W. de Klerk.

Feb. 2, 1990: At the opening of Parliament, de Klerk announces the legalization of all political organizations including the African National Congress.

Feb. 10, 1990: De Klerk announces Mandela will be released the next day.

Feb. 11, 1990: Mandela walks out of prison, hand in hand with wife Winnie, to cheering crowds.

Oct. 15, 1993: Mandela and de Klerk share Nobel Peace Prize.

May 10, 1994: Mandela inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president after ANC wins South Africa’s first all-race election.

March 19, 1996: Mandela granted a divorce from Winnie.

July 18, 1998: Mandela weds former Mozambican first lady Graca Machel on his 80th birthday.

June 16, 1999: Mandela retires after one term, a rarity among African presidents, but continues to be active in causes promoting world peace, supporting children and fighting AIDS.

Jan. 30, 2003: In speech, calls U.S. President George W. Bush arrogant and shortsighted for ignoring the U.N. on Iraq.

June 1, 2004: Announces retirement from public life.

July 11, 2010: Mandela waves to the crowd at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg as South Africa bids farewell to the 2010 soccer World Cup. Driven in a small golf cart and seated alongside wife, Graca Machel, the smiling, warmly dressed Mandela is welcomed by a thunderous mix of vuvuzelas and roars from the crowd.

June 21, 2011: Mandela meets at his home with Michelle Obama, her two daughters and other Obama relatives.

December 2012: Mandela spends nearly three weeks in a hospital, where he is treated for a lung infection and has a procedure to remove gallstones.

April 29, 2013: State television broadcasts footage of a visit by President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders to Mandela at his Johannesburg home. Zuma said at the time that Mandela was in good shape, but the footage — the first public images of Mandela in nearly a year — showed him silent and unresponsive, even when Zuma tried to hold his hand.

June 8, 2013: The government says Mandela is admitted to a hospital with a recurring lung infection. Officials describe his condition as serious but stable.

Dec. 5, 2013: Mandela dies at age 95.

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