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Life of Nelson Mandela – Featured Timeline Chart

1918-2013 - A Timeline of Peace

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An incredible loss was felt on December 6, 2013 with the passing of Nelson Mandela. Although Mandela had great successes; a one time president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner, his life was marked by great hardships, spending 50 years imprisoned. The timeline of Nelson Mandela’s life outlines significant events in the history of Nelson Mandela.


Event Date
Born Rolihlahla Mandela into Thembu royal family in Mvezo village in the south-east of South Africa. July 18, 1918
Expelled from Fort Hare University College for participating in student strike. 1940
Joins African National Congress (ANC). 1943
Opens first black law practice in Johannesburg with Oliver Tambo. 1952
Among 156 political activists arrested and charged with treason. December 5, 1956
Security forces massacre 67 protesters in Sharpeville. Government bans ANC and Pan African Congress and declares state of emergency. March 21, 1960
Accruitted in treason trial, along with co-accused. 1961
Launch of ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), with Mr Mandela as commander-in-chief. December 16, 1961
Captured and sentenced on November 7 to five years in prison for incitement to strike and leaving country illegally, having earlier travelled to Ethiopia and Algeria for military training. August 5, 1962
While serving this sentence is charged with sabotage along with other ANC activists arrested in Rivonia near Johannesburg. 1963
After famous speech from dock (democracy “is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”), is sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island prison off Cape Town June 12, 1964
Meets president PW Botha and then on December 13 with FW de Klerk, who later succeeds Botha. July 5, 1968
Released from prison. February 11, 1990
Elected ANC president July 5, 1991
Wins Nobel Peace Prize with De Klerk. October 15, 1993
Votes for the first time in his life with the country’s first all-race elections. April 27, 1994
Inaugrated as president. May 10, 1994
Steps down as president after one term. 1999
Makes his final political address in a recorded message at an ANC election rally. April 19, 2009
Appears at the closing ceremony of the football World Cup in South Africa. July 11, 2010
Makes rare television appearance to recieve symbolic flame marking the ANC centenary. May 30, 2012
Dies at his home in Johannesburg surrounded by family, at the age 95. December 6, 2013

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Source: The Nelson Mandela Timeline was inspired by the information found at

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