Nelson Mandela

South African Politician and Anti-apartheid Fighter + President of South Africa
Born Jul 18, 1918

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. His administration focused on dismantling apartheid's legacy, cutting poverty and inequality. Politically left-wing, he served as president of the African National Congress political party from 1990 to 1999.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Nelson Mandela.


1918 Birth Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then a part of South Africa's Cape Province. … Read More
1926 7 Years Old In 1926 Gadla was also sacked for corruption, but Nelson was told that he had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate's unreasonable demands. … Read More


1937 18 Years Old …  Completing his Junior Certificate in two years, in 1937 he moved to Healdtown, the Methodist college in Fort Beaufort attended by most Thembu royalty, including Justice. … Read More


1940 - 1942 3 More Events
1943 24 Years Old 1 More Event
After passing his BA exams in early 1943, Mandela returned to Johannesburg to follow a political path as a lawyer rather than become a privy councillor in Thembuland. … Read More
1944 25 Years Old 1 More Event
Deciding on the need for a youth wing to mass mobilise Africans in opposition to their subjugation, Mandela was among a delegation that approached ANC President Alfred Bitini Xuma on the subject at his home in Sophiatown; the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was founded on Easter Sunday 1944 in the Bantu Men's Social Centre in Eloff Street, with Lembede as President and Mandela as a member of the executive committee. At Sisulu's house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, an ANC activist from Engcobo, Transkei, who was training at the time to become a nurse. Married on 5 October 1944, after initially living with her relatives, they rented House no. 8115 in Orlando from early 1946. … Read More
In early 1947, his three years of articles ended at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman, and he decided to become a full-time student, subsisting on loans from the Bantu Welfare Trust.


1949 30 Years Old Having devoted his time to politics, Mandela failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times; he was ultimately denied his degree in December 1949.
Mandela took Xuma's place on the ANC National Executive in March 1950. … Read More
1952 - 1955 7 More Events
1956 37 Years Old 1 More Event
In March 1956 he received his third ban on public appearances, restricting him to Johannesburg for five years, but he often defied it. … Read More
She withdrew her petition of separation in November, but Mandela filed for divorce in January 1958; the divorce was finalised in March, with the children placed in Evelyn's care.


1959 - 1961 2 More Events
1962 43 Years Old 1 More Event
…  The ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. … Read More
1964 45 Years Old 1 More Event
…  The South African government generally deemed Mandela and his co-defendants violent communist saboteurs, and on 12 June 1964, justice Quartus de Wet found Mandela and two of his co-accused guilty on all four charges, sentencing them to life imprisonment rather than death. … Read More
1968 49 Years Old His mother visited in 1968, dying shortly after, and his firstborn son Thembi died in a car accident the following year; Mandela was forbidden from attending either funeral.


1970 51 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In September 1970 he met British Labour Party MP Dennis Healey.
1974 55 Years Old South African Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger visited in December 1974, but he and Mandela did not get on.
1975 56 Years Old 1 More Event
His wife was rarely able to visit, being regularly imprisoned for political activity, and his daughters first visited in December 1975; Winnie got out of prison in 1977 but was forcibly settled in Brandfort, still unable to visit him.
1978 59 Years Old Renewed international interest in his plight came in July 1978, when he celebrated his 60th birthday.


1979 - 1982 3 More Events
Although considering Mandela a dangerous "arch-Marxist", in February 1985 Botha offered him a release from prison on condition that he '"unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon". … Read More
1987 - 1990 10 More Events
…  Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997. … Read More
1992 - 1993 5 More Events
…  Mandela joined negotiations with Nationalist President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory and became South Africa's first black president. … Read More
1995 - 1997 7 More Events
The Skills Development Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace. … Read More
He gave his farewell speech on 29 March 1999, after which he retired.
2000 - 2011 11 More Events
In mid-2013, as Mandela was hospitalised for a lung infection in Pretoria, his descendants were involved in intra-family legal dispute relating to the burial place of Mandela's children, and ultimately Mandela himself.
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