Grade 4 term 2 Timeline: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela


  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is born at Mvezo in the Transkei


  • He enrols at the University College of Fort Hare.


  • He is expelled for participating in a student strike


  • He completes a BA degree through the University of South Africa (UNISA)


  • He starts attending African National Congress (ANC) meetings informally


  • He enrols at the University of the Witwatersrand Law Faculty.  This is where he meet students of all races and isexposed to liberal, radical and Africanist thought. He also experiences racism and discrimination.


  • Mandela officially joins the ANC and together with the group of young ANC intellectuals, forms the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
  • He marries Evelyn Mase


  • He is elected National Secretary of the ANCYL


  • He is elected President of the ANCYL


  • The defiance Campaign begins
  • Mandela is arrested and charged for violating the Suppression of Communism Act                                          
  • He is convicted under the Suppression of Communism Act and sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for two years.
  • He Opens South Africa’s first black law firm with Oliver Tambo


  • Mandela isarrested and later joined 155 others on trial for treason. All are acquitted by 29 March 196.


  • He divorces Evelyn Mase, and marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela


  • Sharpeville Massacre
  • A State of Emergency is imposed and Mandela is among thousands detained
  • The ANC is banned


  • Mandela goes underground


  • He leaves the country for military training and to garner support for the ANC
  • He returns to South Africa
  • He is arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal
  • He is sentenced to five years in prison for incitement and leaving the country without a passport


  • He is sent to Robben Island
  • Mandela returns to Pretoria Local Prison
  • He appears in court for the first time in what becomes known as the Rivonia Trial.


  • Mandela is found guilty of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.


  • Mandela is moved from an isolated prison in Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison in the suburbs of Cape Town


  • Mandela rejects, through his daughter, Zindzi, South African President PW Botha's offer to release him if he renounces violence. He says that the government must first put an end to apartheid


  • He is admitted to Tygerberg Hospital where he is diagnosed with tuberculosis
  • Mandela is moved to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl where he is held for 14 months in a cottage


  • Mandela has an informal meeting with President P. W. Botha. This leads to speculation that he will soon be released


  • The ANC is unbanned
  • Mandela was released after spending 27 years in prison
  • He is elected ANC Deputy President


  • Mandela and Winnie announce their separation


  • Mandela is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with President FW de Klerk


  • Mandela votes for the first time in his life
  • The ANC wins national elections and Nelson Mandela becomes the first democratically elected president of South Africa


  • Mandela announces that he will be reducing his public appearances to spend more time with his family and friends


  • The United Nations General Assembly declared, 18 July ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’


  • Nelson Mandela passes away at the age of 95

Last updated : 12-Apr-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 08-May-2015

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