The life of Nelson Mandela
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.