Key dates in the life of Nelson Mandela

A young Nelson Mandela and his second wife, Winnie Mandela.
A young Nelson Mandela and his second wife, Winnie Mandela.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - On the 100th anniversary of his birth, here are key dates in the life of the late anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president.

July 18, 1918

He is born into the Thembu royal family in the rural ranskei.


Joins the African National Congress (ANC), co-founding its Youth League the following year.


Mandela leads a campaign of defiance against the apartheid system, installed four years earlier. He and Oliver Tambo open the first black law firm in Johannesburg.


Marries his second wife, anti-apartheid figure Winnie Madikizela, whom he divorces in 1996.


Mandela and other activists are acquitted on treason charges laid five years earlier. The ANC launches its armed wing with Mandela as commander in chief.


He is captured and sentenced to prison for incitement and leaving the country illegally.


Mandela and other senior anti-apartheid leaders are tried and sentenced to life for sabotage. He is sent to Robben Island prison off Cape Town.



Refuses pardon offered by president P. W. Botha on condition he renounce violence.


After 27 years in jail, Mandela is released.


He is elected ANC president.


Mandela and the last apartheid-era president, F.W. de Klerk, are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


The ANC wins the first all-race elections and Mandela is inaugurated as president.


Marries Graca Machel, widow of former Mozambican president Samora Machel.


He steps down after one term.

DECEMBER 5, 2013

After months of intensive medical care, Mandela dies aged 95.