Nelson Mandela Timeline 1990-1999

1990

2 February, President F. W. de Klerk makes a speech at the opening of Parliament, announcing the lifting of a 30-year ban on the ANC, the Pan African Congress (PAC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and other anti-apartheid organisations, the suspension of the death sentence until further review, the release of some political prisoners and the partial lifting of restrictions on the media and on some detainees.

11 February, Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison.He addresses a crowd of approximately 50 000 people from the steps of the Cape Town City Hall.

19 February, Nelson Mandela was issued with his first South African passport on 19 February 1990, 8 days after he was released from prison. It was this passport (with his second name "Rolihlahla" spelt incorrectly as "Rolilahla") that he used to embark on a tour of some of the African states that had supported the South African liberation struggle, including Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

4 March, Three-hundred and forty-three political prisoners began a hunger strike on Robben Island demanding their release in order to strengthen the bargaining position of the ANC.

March, Mandela travelled to Lusaka to meet the ANC's national executive committee. He then travelled to Sweden to meet the ANC President Oliver Tambo, but cut short the rest of his proposed trip abroad as a result of increased unrest within South Africa

31 March, The ANC decides not to hold talks with the South African government scheduled for 11 April, due to the killing of defenceless demonstrators in Sebokeng.

2 April, The ANC elects Nelson Mandela as Deputy President of the organisation.

5 April, At an informal meeting in Cape Town, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela agree to reschedule formal talks between the government and the ANC. The talks will be held from 2 to 4 May.

14 April, Nelson Mandela admits that members of the ANC had tortured dissident guerrillas, but said the officials involved had been punished and any further torture had been banned.

16 April, Mandela made an appearance at the International Tribute for a Free South Africa charity concert in Wembley, London.

28 April, ANC leaders Joe Slovo, Thabo Mbeki, Alfred Nzo, Ruth Mompati and Joe Modise with four other people return to South Africa on a Zambian Airways plane lent by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.

2 May, African National Congress (ANC) and government teams met at Groote Schuur. Mandela headed the ANC delegation.

4 May, the ANC and South African government sign the “Groote Schuur Minute” which sets out a common commitment to the resolution of the current climate of violence and to a peaceful process of negotiations.

9 May, Nelson Mandela begins a six-nation African tour.

2 June, ANC Deputy President Nelson Mandela and State President F.W. de Klerk hold discussions in Pretoria on the progress of the Groote Schuur Minute.

4 June, Nelson Mandela began a six-week tour of Europe, the United Kingdom, North America and Africa. His reception by heads of state, and hundreds of thousands of citizens of the countries he visited, confirmed his stature as an internationally respected leader

22 June, Nelson Mandela addresses the Special Committee against Apartheid in New York. In his address he urged the United Nations to do everything in its power to maintain the consensus it had achieved when it adopted the Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa in December 1989.

9 July, Nelson Mandela, in his capacity as ANC Deputy-President, gives a speech at the 26th Assembly of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

16 July, The ANC sends a report on police violence to President F. W. de Klerk and demands an end to "the shocking inhumanity" of police action in rural areas. The report is based on about 50 statements to lawyers by victims of police action in the farming towns of Ashton, Montague and Roberston. ANC leader Walter Sisulu had already accused the Government of failing to restrain the police after young activist Meshack Kunene was shot to death on June 30 in the Alexandra Township.

25 July, Senior ANC member, Sathyandranath ‘Mac’ Maharaj and over forty other members of the ANC and the SACP are detained for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government through Operation Vula.

29 July, The South African Communist Party (SACP) is re-launched at the Soweto Stadium with a crowd of 50 000 - in the following fifteen months the SACP membership shoots up to 25 000 at a time when communist parties around the world are in decline

6 August, After 14-hours of negotiations in Pretoria the South African government and the ANC recommit themselves to the Groote Schuur Minute. The ANC also agrees to suspend the armed struggle in the interest of reaching a peaceful political settlement. These agreements are signed in the “Pretoria Minute”.

15 August, Troops are deployed in three densely populated townships southeast of Johannesburg after fighting between members of the IFP and the ANC breaks out.

16 August, President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela hold emergency talks in Pretoria as violence spreads to Soweto. Fighting started there when Zulu migrant workers armed with axes and spears attacked passengers at a train station.In the same month Mandela visited Norway. This is followed by visits to Zambia, India and Australia.

11 September, A delegation of officials of the ANC, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and COSATU meet with President F.W. de Klerk to discuss the issue of violence.

20 September, The ANC and the IFP announce that they had held high-level talks in Durban to discuss ways of ending violence in Natal and in the townships on the Reef. A joint statement issued at the end of the meeting called it a "historic" meeting, although the "matters discussed were in the main exploratory in nature".

13 December, Oliver Tambo, President of the ANC, returns to South Africa after having spending thirty years in exile.

14-16 December, The ANC holds its first Consultative Conference in South Africa, after thirty years. The Conference, which lasted three days and was attended by 1,600 delegates, mandated the National Executive Committee to "serve notice on the regime that unless all the obstacles are removed on or before 30 April 1991, the ANC shall consider the suspension of the whole negotiation process" The party also announced that 1991 would be a "year of mass action". It rejected a call to relax international sanctions against South Africa and approved the creation of "defence units" to protect townships residents.

24 December, Mandela receives an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Jadavpur University in India.


1991

29 January, A summit meeting between the ANC and IFP is held in Durban. Mandela met Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the Royal Hotel in Durban for 8 hours.In a joint statement, both parties expressed their commitment to political tolerance and called on the security forces to play an effective peacekeeping role.This is the first time that Mandela and Buthelezi meet in thirty years.

12 February, Negotiators of the ANC and the South African government met at the DF Malan Airport for further negotiations.  At the end D.F. Malan Accord was signed. Under the accord the government reaffirmed the right to peaceful protest and the ANC guerrillas also took further steps towards suspending the armed struggle.

February, Mandela meets again with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), in an attempt to put an end to the violence sweeping through Natal and the Transvaal. However, despite their pledges to work towards peace, the violence continued. Mandela issued an ultimatum to the government, setting a deadline by which it has to end the violence, and fire the Ministers of Defence and Law and Order. He indicated that the ANC will quit the negotiation process if these demands were not met. However, the government failed to meet these demands.

April, Mandela attended a meeting between the ANC and the Pan African Congress in Harare where they resolved to work together to oppose apartheid. A The meeting resolved to convene a conference of anti-apartheid organisation to support the demand for a national constituent assembly.

1 April, Mandela meets Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi and raised his distrust of F W de Klerk.The IFP and the ANC adopt a five-year plan to end violence between their supporters.

May, The ANC boycotts a government-sponsored conference to end violence, accusing the government of fomenting it.

2 May, In response to the ANC ultimatum to suspend negotiations if its demands are not met by

9 May, President F.W. de Klerk offers to include Black South African opposition groups in his cabinet and amend tough security laws.

June, Mandela attended the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Abuja, Nigeria, after which he travel to the United Kingdom and Belgium.

2-6 July, The ANC holds its 48th  National Conference in Durban, and the first to be held in South Africa in thirty years. The conference elects Nelson Mandela as President, Oliver Tambo, who served as President from 1969 to 1991, is elected National Chairperson, Walter Sisulu as Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa as Secretary General and Thomas Nkobi as Treasurer General.

9 August, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC, holds its first conference in South Africa after thirty years and calls for a formal ceasefire in the country.

August, Nelson Mandela travelled to South America.

14 September, The National Peace Accord is signed in Johannesburg by 23 political parties and organisations including the ANC, the IFP and a number of political parties, trade unions, religious and civic organisations, as well as the government (many others endorsed it, including PAC). It included a code of conduct for security forces and political parties; and established a National Peace Committee and a Commission of Inquiry Regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation, chaired by Justice Richard Goldstone, to monitor implementation of the accord.

October, A meeting of the Patriotic Front is held in Durban in an attempt to bring together all anti-apartheid groupings in the country. All attend with the exception of Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo). Policy regarding future negotiations was formulated and the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC) began preparatory meetings for the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa). However, the PAC cannot see it's way clear to participating in the convention.

November, Mandela travelled to West Africa.

30 November, At the end of a two-day preparatory meeting chaired by Judge Ismail Mohammed and Judge Petrus Schabort, 19 political and other organisations decide unanimously or by "sufficient consensus" that the first meeting of a Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) would be held near Johannesburg on 20 and 21 December 1991 to discuss constitutional principles, constitution-making body or process and transitional arrangements. Participating delegations also agreed on a nine-point agenda for the Convention, the establishment of a steering committee to facilitate its convening and on invitations to various international organisations to observe its proceedings.

20 - 21 December, The first meeting of Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), set up to negotiate procedures for constitutional change, was held. In addition to the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, the Movement of Non-Aligned countries, the Commonwealth and the European Community were also observers at CODESA. At the end of the plenary session, after F W de Klerk raised the question of disbanding Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), Mandela delivered a scathing personal verbal attack on him. Mandela argues that even the head of an illegitimate, discredited minority regime should have certain moral standards'.Seventeen of the 19 political groups (which did not include PAC and Conservative Party) participating in the first session of CODESA sign a Declaration of Intent and in a joint statement state that, "the broad objectives expressed in the Declaration of Intent are a most constructive and auspicious beginning for CODESA and give promise of attainment of true democracy for South Africa.”


1992

8 January, At its eightieth anniversary celebration, the ANC presents its post-apartheid policies and launches its electoral campaign. The annual January 8th statement is given by Nelson Mandela.

24 January, President F.W. de Klerk opens parliament and suggests a referendum in which the vote of each race group be counted separately. The ANC rejects President F.W. de Klerk's proposals for a referendum as an "attempt to prolong the transition by 10 years or more".

24 February, The ANC submits its constitutional blue-print to CODESA. It suggests a two phase transitional period of multi party rule for fifteen months, to be followed by a coalition government for up to five years.

February, Mandela continued his programme of extensive international travel, visiting Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. He and State President F W de Klerk jointly accepted the UNESCO Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize in Paris on 3 February. At the same time the two men attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. They would also recieve the Prince of the Asturias Prize for International Co-operation in Spain.

13 April, Mandela called a press conference at which he stated that he and his wife, Winnie Mandela, have agreed to separate as a result of differences, which had arisen between them in recent months.

April, Mandela, F W de Klerk and Mangosuthu Buthelezi addressed a gathering of more than a million members of the Zion Christian Church at Moria, near Pietersburg, and committed themselves to end the ongoing violence and move speedily towards a political settlement.

May, While visiting the Scandinavian countries and Czechoslovakia, Mandela suggested that F W de Klerk is personally responsible for the political violence in South Africa. He likened the violence in South Africa to the killing of Jews in Nazi Germany. Mandela also criticised what he felt is the stranglehold imposed on the South African press, which represented White-owned conglomerates. He did express support for critical, independent and investigative press.

16 June, Soweto Day, no progress had been made and the African National Congress (ANC) called for a mass action campaign to put pressure on the South African government.

17 June, Following the Boipatong massacre massacre, Mandela indicated that negotiations with the government would not resume until ANC demands for an election to a constituent assembly, a transitional government, and state steps to end political violence were met

29 June, Nelson Mandela addresses the Twenty-Eighth Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the OAU in Dakar, Senegal. Subsequent to this, the Council of Ministers of the OAU issue a resolution calling for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to examine the issue of violence in South Africa and to take action to put an end to it. As a result, the OAU agrees to raise the issue of South Africa's political violence at the United Nations .

July, Mandela and representatives of other South African parties addressed the UN Security Council. Mandela asked the UN to provide continuous monitoring of the violence, and submitted documents, that he claimed, proved the 'criminal intent', of the government, both in the instigation of violence and in failing to halt it. He maintained that the government is conducting a '...cold-hearted strategy of state terror to impose its will on negotiations'.

13 July, The tripartite alliance, consisting of the ANC, the SACP and the COSATU, outline mass action plans from the beginning of August and the occupation of cities on 5 August.

Mandela visited the Olympic Games in Barcelona, where a South African team was participating for the first time in 30 years. On his return to South Africa, he involved himself in the African National Congress's (ANC) mass action campaign calling for disciplined and peaceful protest.

Following violent incidents between African National Congress (ANC) supporters in the Transvaal, Mandela admitted that the organisation had disciplinary problems with some of its followers, particularly in township self-defence units. He promises to take action against those who abuse positions of power and authority.


He indicates that the ANC has shifted its economic thinking, particularly with regard to nationalisation. This is no longer viewed as an ideological imperative, but merely as one of the policy options. He continued to stress the need to redress economic imbalances, but noted that the ANC was aware of both local and international business hostility towards nationalisation.

3 August, A forty-eight-hour strike and a week of mass action to demand a multiracial interim government by the end of the year and take effective steps to halt violence further pressures the government to concede majority rule. The tripartite alliance releases a press statement on the success of the strike.

13 August, The ANC issues a statement explaining why it has suspended talks with the South African government and that its fourteen demands have not been met.

7 September, The ANC leads a march against the Ciskei government and the Bisho massacre takes place. The ANC releases a press statement condemning the killings.

10 September, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela resigns from the Executive of both the ANC and its Women’s League.

26 September, Mandela indicated that he is prepared to meet F W de Klerk on condition that he agreed to the fencing off of hostels, the banning of the public display of dangerous weapons and the release of political prisoners. They met at the end of the month and these bi-lateral talks resulted in the signing of a Record of Understanding by the two leaders, which enabled negotiations to be resumed.

30 September, Meeting in a special session, the National Executive Committee of the ANC ratified the Record of Understanding and agreed that it indicated sufficient movement to enable the ANC to return to negotiations. It resolved to take additional precautions in future marches to minimise possibilities of any loss of life and injury.

15 November, In line with the Record of Understanding reached between the South African government and ANC, 42 political prisoners are released.


1993

26 January, A joint press statement is issued by the government and the ANC on the bilateral meetings held on 20, 22, 25 and 26 January. The government delegation was led by Mr. Roelf Meyer, the Minister of Constitutional Development, and the ANC delegation was led by Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, the secretary general of the ANC. These meeting discussed issues related to security, models of a Government of National Unity, incorporation of TBVC and media reforms.

19-21 February, The ANC Foreign Affairs Department hosts an International Solidarity Conference in Johannesburg to mobilise international support and help raise funds for its election campaign. On the first day of the conference, the delegates are addressed by Nelson Mandela. To read media reports on the conference click here.

Mandela won the Philadelphia Liberty Medal (USA)

1 April, Representatives from 26 South African political parties and organisations resumed multiparty negotiations marking the start of serious deliberations on the transition since the collapse of CODESA. This becomes known as the Multi Party Negotiation Process.

10 April, SACP General Secretary and member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, Chris Hani is shot dead outside his home. J.J. Walluz, a White South African of Polish origin, is arrested. Nelson Mandela releases a press statement condemning the killing.

13 April, Nelson Mandela addresses the nation on television on the assassination of Chris Hani.

19 April, Following the assassination of the South African Communist Party (SACP) leader, Chris Hani, Mandela again called for restraint, discipline and peace, but at a rally in Soweto's Jabulani Stadium a militant crowd boos him when he tries to convey a message of peace in the wake of the killing.

23 April, Oliver Tambo dies after suffering a fatal stroke.

May, Mandela causes a political row when he suggested that South Africa's voting age should be lowered to enable 14-year old children to vote. However, he is persuaded to accept that only people aged 18 or more can vote in the April 1994 elections.

2 May, Mandela honours Oliver Tambo at his funeral.

July-December, Mandela campaigned on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) for the 1994 election and addressed a large number of rallies and people's forums. At the same time, he continued to attempt to draw the Freedom Alliance partners (White right wing groups, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Bophuthatswana and Ciskei governments) into the election process.

September, While on a visit to the United States of America, Mandela urged world business leaders to lift economic sanctions and to invest in South Africa.

15 October, President F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

8 December, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is elected President of the ANC Women’s League for a brief period. This automatically guarantees her a position on the ANC’s National Executive Committee.


1994

Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was first published.

21 January, The ANC holds a National Conference on Reconstruction and Strategy at the Nasrec Centre in Johannesburg to discuss the sixth draft of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). The conference is attended by the ANC, COSATU, the SACP, organisations of the Patriotic Front and aligned organisations. The conference adopts the RDP policy framework. Nelson Mandela addresses the conference.

15 March, The ANC’s national election manifesto is made public.

March, Following a civil uprising in Bophuthatswana, which leads to a downfall of the Mangope government, Mandela guaranteed striking civil servants their jobs, but harshly criticised the looting that occurs during the unrest.

April, Last minute talks were held in the Kruger Park between Mandela, F W de Klerk , Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini to try to break the deadlock on Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) participation in the elections. The meeting was unsuccessful and is followed by an attempt at international mediation. This, too, failed, but a last minute effort by Kenyan academic, Washington Okumu, brought the IFP back into the election process. Mandela and De Klerk then signed an agreement regarding the future status of the Zulu King.

Mandela contested the election as the head of the African National Congress (ANC) for the National Assembly.

27 April, At Inanda, Durban, Mandela voted in a general election for the first time in his life.

May, The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that the African National Congress (ANC) has won 62% of the national vote. Mandela subsequently indicated he had been relieved that the ANC had not achieved a two-thirds majority in the election, as this would allay fears that it would unilaterally re-write the constitution. He stated that he stands for a government of national unity with each part sharing in the exercise of power.

2 May, Nelson Mandela makes a speech announcing the ANC’s election victory.

9 May, Mandela is elected unopposed as President of South Africa in the first session of the National Assembly.

10 May, Nelson Mandela's Presidential inauguration takes place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria . As well as about 100 000 celebrants on the lawns in front of the building, it was the largest gathering of international leaders ever held in South Africa. The ceremony was televised and broadcast internationally. In his inaugural speech Mandela called for a 'time of healing' and states that his government will fight against discrimination of any kind. He pledged to enter into a covenant to build a society in which all South Africans, Black and White, could walk tall without fear, assured of their rights to human dignity 'a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world'.

24 May, In Mandela's State-of-the-Nation speech to parliament he announces that R2.5 billion will be allocated in the 1994/95 budget for the government's Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). His pragmatic economic policy is welcomed by business in general.

Mandela continues to draw the right wing into the negotiation process and holds a breakthrough meeting with the leader of Conservative Party (CP), Ferdie Hartzenberg.

June, Mandela attends the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit held in Tunis and is appointed second Vice-President of the organisation. The following month he holds talks with his Angolan, Mozambican and Zairian counterparts in an attempt to further peace-making efforts in Angola. UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi, welcomed his participation in the peace process.

24 June, The ‘Madiba Magic’ played a tremendous role in South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup Trophy for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1987. Despite strong competition shown by the All Blacks, the final score was 15-12 in favour of South Africa. The South African President, Nelson Mandela, handed the trophy to Springbok Captain, François Pienaar, as Ellis Park Stadium erupted into celebrations.

25 June, South Africa’s two decade long suspension from the General Assembly of the United Nations ended.

July, Mandela underwent eye surgery for a cataract. The operation is complicated by the fact that his tear glands were damaged by the alkalinity of the stone at Robben Island where he had done hard labour breaking rocks.

July, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) appoints Ronnie Kasrils as Deputy Defence Minister, and MK chief of staff Siphiwe Nyanda SANDF first Black chief of staff. Seven former MK members are appointed generals.

18 August, President Nelson Mandela makes a major policy speech in Parliament to mark his first 100 days as president.

September, Mandela makes a crucial speech at the annual conference of the Congress of South Africa Trade Union (Cosatu) where he calls on the labour movement to transform itself from a liberation movement, to one that would assist in the building of a new South Africa. He warned that workers will lose their jobs if production costs rose because of unnecessary labour unrest and he called on workers to assist in making the ANC's RDP work.

7 November, Over 2000 MK soldiers of the ANC’s armed wing are dismissed from the SANDF for failing to report for duty.

15 November, The government releases its White Paper on the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).

17 December, The ANC holds its forty-ninth National Conference in Bloemfontein. Its Strategy and Tactics document: From Resistance to Reconstruction and Development is adopted to guide the organization over the next three years.


1995

8 January, President Nelson Mandela makes his first January 8th speech as President of South Africa. 1995 is made the ‘Year to Consolidate and Deepen Democracy

15 January, Mandela spoke at Joe Slovo’s funeral. He argued that ordinary people should guide the formation and implementation of policy.

18 January, At a cabinet meeting, Mandela attacked Deputy President F W de Klerk stating that he did not believe that De Klerk was unaware of the indemnity applications. He goes on to question De Klerk's commitment to the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).

20 January, At a press conference F W de Klerk maintained that this attack on his integrity and good faith could seriously jeopardise the future of the government of national unity.

27 March, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, is dismissed from her post following allegations of financial mismanagement.

April, Mandela fires his estranged wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, from her post as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, following a series of controversial issues in which she was involved. She challenged her dismissal in the Supreme Court, claiming that it was unconstitutional. She obtained an affidavit from Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi to the effect that he had not, as a leader of a party in the government of national unity, been consulted about this dismissal. As this is a constitutional requirement, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is then briefly reinstated before being dismissed again, Mandela having consulted with all party leaders involved in the government of national unity.

17 April, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela resigned as Deputy Minister, a day before her dismissal was to take effect.

May, Following a dispute between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the African National Congress (ANC) regarding international mediation for the new constitution, Mangosuthu Buthelezi called on Zulus to 'rise and resist' any imposed constitutional dispensation. Mandela accused Buthelezi of encouraging violence and attempting to ferment an uprising against central government. In this context, he threatened to cut off central government funding to KwaZulu Natal, indicating that he would not allow public funds to be used to finance an attempt to overthrow the constitution by violent means. Although a subsequent meeting between the two leaders seems cordial in tone, the matter of mediation remained an unresolved point of conflict.

24 June, The ‘Madiba Magic’ played a tremendous role in South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup Trophy for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1987. Despite strong competition shown by the All Blacks, the final score was 15-12 in favour of South Africa. The South African President, Nelson Mandela, handed the trophy to Springbok Captain, François Pienaar, as Ellis Park Stadium erupted into celebrations.

19 July, Mandela signed a law into bill creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to uncover human rights abuses during the apartheid era.

28 August, The SADC heads of state and governments meet in Kempton Park. President Nelson Mandela gives the opening address.

14 September, Mandela was granted the freedom of the Eastern Cape town of Uitenhage.

1 November, Results of the local government elections are published: 51.37% participated, 5.3 million people in total. The ANC is the overall winner, securing 66.37% of the votes cast.

11 November, Mandela publically intervened in the Nigerian crisis when he called for the military government, led by Sani Abacha, to be suspended from the Commonwealth. Abacha was responsible for the execution of human rights activists in Nigeria. Nigeria is suspended until 1999 when democratic rule was restored.

25 December, Nineteen ANC supporters are killed in the south east of KwaZulu Natal in what becomes known as the Shobashobane massacre.


1996

19 January, President Nelson Mandela holds meetings with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and later declares he will initiate a round of urgent peace talks in Kwazulu Natal, leading as soon as possible to an 'imbizo' (a traditional Zulu gathering).

21 January, President Nelson Mandela meets Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who endorses the plan for the traditional gathering to discuss ways of ending the bloodshed in Kwazulu-Natal.

28 January, President Nelson Mandela meets United States Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam. Both state their opposition to racism and sexism. The media, religious leaders and opposition criticize the reception of Farrakhan.

3-4 March, President Nelson Mandela visits Mali for two days (and Togo for a few hours on 4 March). He and Togolese President Eyadema review the situation in West Africa. South Africa and Mali agree to establish diplomatic relations.

5 - 7 March, President Nelson Mandela undergoes three days of intensive medical checks to counter rumours concerning the state of his health.

21 March, A massacre takes place at Donnybrook, Kwazulu-Natal only hours after President Nelson Mandela visits the province. All those killed are ANC supporters.

March, Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela divorce.

26 September, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela appears for a hearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after being subpoenaed to respond her alleged involvement in the death of Stompie Seipei.

11 October, The new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is adopted by the Constitutional Assembly as Act 108 of 1996. It is set to come into effect as of 4 February 1997.

10 December, Mandela signed the new South African Constitution in Sharpeville.

12 December, Mandela received the freedom of Howick (the town he was arrested in 1962).

13 December, President Nelson Mandela extends both the cut-off date for amnesty applications and the deadline for applications to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Amnesty may now be sought for political crimes carried out up to 10 May 1994, the date of his inauguration as President. Applications to the TRC may now be made up to 10 May 1997.


1997

18 April, President Nelson Mandela, present in his capacity as chief of the Temba clan, rather than Head of State, inaugurates the National Council of Traditional Leaders (later renamed the National House of Traditional Leaders). One hundred and fifty tribal leaders are inducted into Parliament in a colourful ceremony. The kings of Lesotho and of Swaziland also attend.

25-26 April, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki gives the opening address at the Third ANC Women’s League Conference. The conference re-elects Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as president of the ANC's Women's League by 656 votes to 114 for her deputy Thandi Modise. Her victory reflects the level of grassroots support she continues to enjoy.

12-13 May, An ANC delegation, led by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, makes the party's second major submission to the TRC in the form of a defence of the way in which it had conducted its 'just war' against apartheid.

27 September, The United Democratic Movement led by Roelf Meyer and Bantu Holomisa founded.

31 October, Mandela attended the coronation of King Letsie III in Maseru, Lesotho.

27 November, Mandela received the freedom of the city of Cape Town.

16-20 December, At the ANC’s 50th annual National Conference held in Mafikeng, North-West, President Nelson Mandela hands over the ANC presidency to Thabo Mbeki. To read Nelson Mandela’s closing address click here and to read Thabo Mbeki’s closing address click here. At the end of the conference Thabo Mbeki addresses ANC supports at Mafikeng Stadium.


1998

18 March, Mandela is summoned to appear before court by a committee of the South African Rugby Union to defend his decision to set up the Browde Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged racism and nepotism in South African rugby at North Gauteng High Court. He is the first head of state to have to defend himself in such a circumstance.

18 July, Nelson Mandela married Graca Machel on his eightieth birthday.

4 September, On the invitation of President Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Cuban President, arrives in South Africa for a two-day state visit. He receives and warm welcome and addresses a special sitting of the National Assembly. Mandela bestowed the Order of Good Hope on Castro, thanking him for his support in the war against Apartheid. He is specifically grateful for the troops Cuba sends to Angola in the 1970s and 1980s.

27 October, Kgalema Motlanthe, the ANC’s Secretary-General, reacts to the leakage of a document sent to the ANC by the TRC on the Commission’s findings against the Congress.

17 December, Dorothy Nyembe, ANC member and leader of the 1956 Women’s March, dies. The ANC KwaZulu Natal Provincial Executive Committee releases a statement on her death.

25 December, The ANC releases a statement on the Jericho massacre in which eight people were killed at Jericho, near Margate, KwaZulu Natal.


1999

Nelson Mandela Foundation is founded.

19 January, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, on behalf of the ANC, unveils the Samora Machel Memorial at Mbuzini, Mpumalanga.

29 January, President Nelson Mandela addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos for the last time as President of South Africa.

February: Gave his last state of the nation address. Steps down as president fulfilling his promise to lead only for one term.

12 March, President Nelson Mandela is awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Leiden, Netherlands. After receiving the award, he makes a speech before the Dutch Parliament in The Hague.

14 June, Thabo Mbeki is elected President by the new Assembly and succeeds Nelson Mandela, with Jacob Zuma becoming Deputy President.

16 June, A farewell banquet is held in Pretoria to honour Nelson Mandela hosted by President Thabo Mbeki. Nelson Mandela gives a farewell speech.

3 December, Mandela was appointed as the new mediator of Burundi after the death of former Tanzanian president, Julian Nyere.

10-11 December, The ANC hosts its Alliance meeting with the SACP and COSATU. The focus is on the economic conditions within South Africa and its place in the global economy.

Last updated : 06-Apr-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 04-Apr-2011