Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a social rights activist, politician and philanthropist who became South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. After becoming involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, nonviolent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies.
Timeline Nelson Mandela
|18 July 1918: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is born|
|1925: Enters primary school|
|1937: Aged 18, starts college|
|1939: Enters university|
|1940: Expelled from Hare University for activism|
|1944: Co-founds ANC Youth League, marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase|
|1948: Elected national secretary of ANC Youth League, later to president|
|1952: Campaign of Civil disobedience and opens South Africa’s first black law practice with Oliver Tambo|
|1956: One of 150 activists charged with high treason|
|1961: Goes underground, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) is formed|
|1964: Sentenced to life imprisonment, sent to maximum-security jail of Robben Island|
|1993: Wins the Nobel Peace Prize|
|1994: Elected president after the ANC wins South Africa’s first multi-racial elections|
|1998: Marries Graça Machel|
|1999: Steps down after one term as president|
|2004: Withdraws from public life|
|5 December 2013: Dies aged 95|
What did Nelson Mandela do for South Africa?
When Nelson Mandela was a young man, white and black people
in South Africa lived separate lives under a system called apartheid. White
people, who were a small part of the population, were in charge of the country.
It was illegal for black people to use the same schools, hospitals and even
beaches as white people. Conditions in whites-only schools and hospitals were
But Nelson Mandela believed that everybody should be treated equally. Mandela joined a political party called the African National Congress (ANC) and later co-founded the ANC Youth League, leading protests against apartheid. Mandela had spent 27 years in jail and was greeted as a hero on his release. He is famous for promoting a message of forgiveness and equality. Apartheid was abolished in 1991, and three years later, South Africa held its first elections in which black people, as well as white, were allowed to vote. Nelson Mandela was elected president and set about trying to bring people of different races together. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – the highest honour of its kind – for his work.
he will be remembered around the world for his message of peace and unity.