Nelson Mandela Timeline
Timeline Description: Nelson Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. Apartheid was a system of laws and government policy that severely discriminated against black people. Mandela spent 27 years in prison for protesting apartheid. In 1994, when apartheid was over, Mandela was elected president.

Date Event
July 18, 1918 Mandela is born in Transkei, South Africa.

Mandela is born in a village in Transkei, South Africa and given the name Rolilahla. When he starts school, his teacher gives him the English name, Nelson.
Spring 1944 Mandela helps found the African National Congress Youth League.

Mandela helps create the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC.) The ANC works for decades to try to end apartheid in South Africa.
1944 Mandela marries his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase.

Mandela marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase in a small ceremony. They had four children together, but the marriage ends in 1953 because Evelyn has difficulty being married to a man that is so involved in politics.
August 1953 Mandela and Oliver Tambo open the first black law firm in South Africa.

After passing his exams to become a licensed attorney, Mandela joins Oliver Tambo in opening a law office in Johannesburg. Many of their cases involved helping black South Africans who were beaten by the police.
December 5, 1956 Mandela is arrested for treason for the first time.

Mandela, along with over 150 other people, is arrested for protesting against apartheid. Four years later, he is found not guilty.
June 1958 Mandela marries his second wife, Winnie Madikizela.

Mandela marries Winnie Madikizela and they have two daughters together. They are married for 38 years but are together for only four of those years because Nelson is in prison most of the time they are married.
June 1961 Mandela organizes Umkhonto we Sizwe to fight against apartheid.

Mandela studies guerilla warfare to prepare for armed protests against the South African government. The result is the group Umkhonto we Sizwe, which becomes part of the ANC.
August 5, 1962 Mandela is arrested for treason for leading bombings of government buildings.

As the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Mandela takes part in bombing several government targets. After being on the run for 17 months, he is arrested at a farm north of Johannesburg.
June 12, 1964 Mandela is sentenced to life in prison and sent to Robben Island.

Mandela is found guilty of sabotage, treason, and conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison. He spends 18 years at Robben Island where he lives alone in a small cell with no bed and no toilet.
February 11, 1990 Mandela is released from prison after 27 years.

As President Frederik Willem de Klerk works to end apartheid, he orders that Mandela be freed from prison. Mandela then works with the African National Congress and the white government to end apartheid and create a multiracial government.
December 1993 Mandela wins the Nobel Peace Prize for ending apartheid.

Mandela shares the Nobel Peace Prize with Frederik Willem de Klerk for their work in ending apartheid. In his acceptance speech, Mandela says that he accepts the award on behalf of all South Africans who have suffered because of apartheid.