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Nelson Mandela Timeline

The life and times of this great man
His education, marriages and his early career
An activist in the African National Congress (ANC) and friendship with Oliver Tambo
His exile and his imprisonment
His great political achievements

Short Biography of Nelson Mandela
Date of Birth: Born on July 18, 1918 Place of Birth: Eastern Cape of South Africa
Parents: Father: - Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa Mother: Nosekeni Fanny

Nelson Mandela Timeline

  • Interesting Information via the Nelson Mandela Timeline - Life, History and Chronology at a glance, for children and kids
  • Chronology of Life, Key Names, Key Dates, Key People and Key People in the Nelson Mandela Timeline



July 18: Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela is born a member of the Madiba clan. His tribal name, "Rolihalah," means "troublemaker." He is later given his English name, Nelson, by a teacher at his school



His father is dispossessed of his land and money on the orders of a white magistrate



His father dies. The acting chief of the Thembu clan, Jongintaba Dalindyebo becomes his guardian and ensures he receives an excellent education



Moves to Healdtown attending the Wesleyan college in Fort Beaufort.

Fort Hare University: Studied for a B.A. and met his lifelong friend Oliver Tambo



Asked to leave Fort Hare due to his involvement in a boycott of the Students' Representative Council against the university policies

Moves to Johannesburg to escape an arranged marriage and experiences the system of apartheid which forbade the black population to vote, travel without permission or own land

Worked as a guard at a mine and then clerk at a law firm

Completed his degree via a correspondence course at the University of South Africa

Studies Law at the University of Witwatersrand whilst living in Alexandra



Joins the African National Congress (ANC) as an activist.



Forms the Youth League of the ANC with Oliver Tambo and Walter Sislu

Marries his first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase. The couple had three children but the marriage breaks up in 1957



South African government (Afrikaner-dominated National Party) limits the freedom of black Africans even more when the apartheid policy of racial segregation is introduced across the country



Opens the first black legal firm in South Africa with fellow lawyer Oliver Tambo providing free or low-cost legal counsel to many blacks who would otherwise have been without legal representation.

Mandela was prominent in the ANC's 1952 Defiance Campaign



Freedom Charter adopted at the Congress of the People calling for equal rights and a program of the anti-apartheid cause



December 5: Accused of conspiring to overthrow the South African state by violent means with 155 other political activists and charged with high treason. The Treason Trial of 1956–61 follows and all were acquitted



His marriage of 13 years to his first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase breaks up



Marries Nomzamo "Winnie" Madikizela, a social worker, and the couple have two children. Their marriage ended in separation in April 1992 and divorce in March 1996



Parliament passes new laws extending racial segregation by creating separate homelands for  major black groups in South Africa

The ANC loses most of its financial and militant support when members break away to form the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) under Potlako Leballo and Robert Sobukwe



Sharpeville Massacre: Police kill 69 peaceful protestors and the ANC is banned

Mandela goes into hiding and forms an underground military group with armed resistance



Issues a call to arms and becomes the ANC leader of the newly formed Umkhontoat guerrilla movement at the All-In African Conference



August 5: Arrested after living on the run for seventeen months and was imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort.

25 October 25: Nelson Mandela was sentenced to five years in prison but again goes on the run



June 12:  Captured and convicted of sabotage and treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 46, initially on Robben island where he would be kept for 18 years



Rhodesia gains its independence and only whites are represented in the new government



His mother dies and his eldest son is killed in a car crash but he not allowed to attend either of the funerals



Rhodesia expelled from united nations due to the policy of apartheid



Over 600 students killed in protests at Soweto and Sharpeville



Steve Biko, the leader of the protests, is killed whilst in police custody.



The exiled Oliver Tambo launches an international campaign for the release of his friend

Zimbabwe gains its independence



The government allows farmers to re-arm and protect themselves from black dissidents.



Government sources state that declared that since 1983 black dissidents have murdered 120, mutilated 25, raped 47 and committed 284 robberies



Sanctions against South Africa tightened costing millions in revenue



Amnesty is announced for all dissidents - 122 surrender.



February 11: Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years

President De Klerk lifts the ban on the African National Congress (ANC)

The ANC and the white National Party begin talks on forming a multi-racial democracy for South Africa.



Becomes President of the African National Congress ( ANC )

The International Olympics Committee lift a 21 year ban on South African athletes competing in the Olympic Games.



April:  Separates from Winnie Mandela after she is convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault.



March:  Divorces Winnie Mandela

Nelson Mandela and Mr de Klerk are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize



April 26: Free Elections where black South Africans are allowed to vote for the first time. Nelson Mandela runs for President

The ANC won 252 of the 400 seats in the national assembly

May: Inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa. He appoints de Klerk as deputy president and forms as racially mixed Government of National Unity.



South Africa hosts the 1995 Rugby World Cup and South Africa wins. Nelson Mandela wears a Springbok shirt when he presents the trophy to Afrikaner captain Francois Pienaar. This gesture was seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.



Marries Graca Machel, the widow of the former president of Mozambique, on his 80th birthday.

Tour of Canada



Relinquishes presidency in favor of Thabo Mbeki, who was nominated ANC president in 1997.

Toured the world as a global statesman



Appointed as mediator in the civil war in Burundi



Nelson Mandela was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer with radiation

Made an honorary Canadian citizen



Attacked the foreign policy of the George W. Bush

Later that same year, he lent his support to the 46664 AIDS fundraising campaign. The initiative was named after his prison number



June: Nelson Mandela announced that he would be retiring from public life at the age of 85

July: Flew to Bangkok to speak at the XV International AIDS Conference.

23 July: Johannesburg bestowed its highest honour by granting Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city



6 January: His son, Makgatho Mandela died of AIDS

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