Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela at a glance
December 13, 2013
Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela at a glance

Fri Dec 13, 2013

July 18, 1918 : Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in the village of Mvezo, in the district of Umtata, the capital of Transkei, located on the east coast of South Africa.

His father was Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, chief of Mvezo, and his mother was Nosekeni Fanny, the third of his father’s four wives. His father had 13 children in all, four boys and nine girls. Nelson was the youngest of the boys.{{more}}

Mandela was part of the Thembu tribe, a member of the Xhosa nation and the Madiba clan. The Madiba clan was named after a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century.

In Xhosa, Mandela’s given name Rolihlahla means “pulling the branch of a tree,” but its colloquial meaning is “troublemaker”. He is, however, often addressed by his clan name Madiba, as a term of respect. Nelson, Mandela’s more familiar English or Christian name, was given to him on his first day at school.

Nelson moved with his mother to Qunu, a village north of Mvezo after his father was deposed of his chieftainship after a dispute with the magistrate. Nelson said it was in the village of Qunu that he spent the happiest years of his boyhood and where he traced his earliest memories.

1940: Expelled from Fort Hare University College for participating in a student strike.

1941: Moves to Johannesburg, becomes policeman at a mine.

1944: Officially joins the African National Congress (ANC).

1944: Marries Evelyn Mase, a trainee nurse.

1948: National Party takes power in South Africa with its policy of racial segregation, known as apartheid

**1952: Opens the first black law practice in Johannesburg with Oliver Tambo.

December 5, 1956: Is among 156 political activists arrested and charged with treason.

** 1958: Marries social worker Nomzamo Zaniewe Winifred “Winnie” Madikizela after divorcing his first wife.

March 21, 1960: Security forces massacre 67 protesters in Sharpeville. The government bans ANC and Pan African Congress and declares state of emergency.

1961: Acquitted in treason trial along with co-accused.

December 16, 1961: Launch of ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), with Mandela as commander in chief.

August 5, 1962: Captured and sentenced on November 7 to five years in prison for inciting a strike and leaving the country illegally.

1963: While serving this sentence, is charged with sabotage along with other ANC activists arrested in Rivonia near Johannesburg.

*** June 12, 1964: After famous speech from the dock (democracy “is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”), is sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island prison off Cape Town.

August 12, 1988: Diagnosed with tuberculosis.

July 5, 1989: Meets president PW Botha and then on December 13 with FW de Klerk, who later becomes Botha’s successor.

February 11, 1990: Released from prison.

July 5, 1991: Elected ANC president.

April, 1992: Separates from his wife Winnie.

*** October 15, 1993: Wins Nobel Peace Prize with De Klerk.

April 27, 1994: Votes for the first time in his life in the country’s first all-race elections.

*** May 10, 1994: Inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.

December 14, 1994: Launches his biography “Long Walk to Freedom”.

June 24, 1995: Dons the Springboks rugby jersey to congratulate the mainly white team’s victory in the Rugby World Cup.

August 15, 1995: Has tea with the widow of apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd.

1996: Divorces Winnie Mandela.

July 18, 1998: Marries Graca Machel, widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel.

1999: Steps down as president after one term.

2001: Diagnosed with prostate cancer.

June 1, 2004: Announces his retirement from public life.

January 6, 2005: Announces that his son Makgatho had died of AIDS.

April 19, 2009: Makes his final political address in a recorded message at an ANC election rally.

November 2009: The United Nations declares July 18 as “Nelson Mandela International Day”, the date of his birthday when acts of goodwill are encouraged.

July 11, 2010: Appears at the closing ceremony of the Football World Cup in South Africa.

January 28, 2011: Discharged from hospital after two days of treatment for an acute respiratory infection.

May 23, 2011: Moves to his village home in Qunu.

December 8, 2012: Admitted to hospital in Pretoria to be treated for a lung infection and gall stones.

December 26, 2012: Mandela is discharged from hospital but he continues to receive care at his home in Johannesburg.

March 9, 2013: Admitted overnight to a Pretoria hospital for a “scheduled medical check-up”. Discharged the following day after “successful” tests.

March 27, 2013: Mandela is readmitted to hospital with pneumonia. Discharged but still receiving medical care at his Johannesburg home after 10 days in hospital in which a build-up of fluid was drained from his chest.

June 8, 2013: The 94-year-old returns to hospital with a new lung infection and is described as being serious but stable.

President Jacob Zuma says Mandela remains in a “critical condition”.

December 3: Relatives say Mandela in poor condition, but fighting.

December 5, 2013: Mandela dies

(Jamaica Observer / Searchlight)