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  • Matt Spencer

The full story of Nelson Mandela.

Updated: Apr 3


The full story of Nelson Mandela.

The entire world knows who Nelson Mandela is and how he changed the lives of not only South African but also the lives of people all over the world.

However, the real question is, my question is, do you truly know his full story? Do you really know the sacrifices Madiba made for his country, his people, his children?


Nelson Mandela | Timeline


“IT  ALWAYS 

SEEMS 

IMPOSSIBLE 

UNTIL ITS

DONE”

– Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela | Timeline

1918: Nelson Mandela was born near Umtata, in the Transkei region of South Africa.

1925: He attended a Primary School near the area Qunu, where Madiba was given the name Nelson.

1938: Mandela enters the University of Fort Hare. Two years later, he is expelled for participating in a student strike and moves to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage.

1941: Madiba managed to escape an arranged marriage and he became a mine nightwatchman. Soon after he invested a lot of his time in writing articles at the law firm Witkin, Sidelsky & Eidelman.


1942: Through the University of South Africa (UNISA), Madiba achieved a degree in Bachelor of Arts at the University of Witwatersrand. It was also during this year that he began to informally attend African National Congress (ANC) meetings. The following year he graduated.

1944: Two years later it went from informal to slightly more formal when Madiba co-founded the ANC Youth League. This year he married Evelyn Ntoko Mase and they shared 4 children together namely Thembekile (1945); Makaziwe (1947); Makgatho (1950); Makaziwe (1954). Sadly Makaziwe who would be the second oldest sibling died after only nine months.

1948: Madiba was full of charisma, confidence and was more outspoken than members surrounding him. Such traits assisted him in being elected as national secretary of the ANCYL….three years later he was elected as President of the ANCYL.


1952:  This year saw the start of the Defiance Unjust Laws Campaign. During this time Madiba frequently traveled across the country with the objective to organize resistance as well as non-acceptance to discriminatory regulations. Because of his intentions and efforts to build such a resistance, he was wanted for arrest. The media would often label him the “Black Pimpernel” because of the numerous disguises he adopted as his only way to hide from the police. He, unfortunately, he could not hide for too long; the police caught and arrested him, with others too, and was issued a sentence of suspension and confinement for 6 months. During this time Madiba had passed his attorney’s admissions examination. With this pass and the assistance of his true friend Oliver Tambo, they opened the country’s first black law partnership with the additional help of Walter Sisulu.

1958: Madiba and Evelyn finalize their divorce.  After some time Madiba marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela – they had two daughters: Zenani (1959) and Zindzi (1960).

1960: The Sharpville massacre: 69 unarmed African protesters were killed and 180 wounded. Post this tragedy Madiba encouraged the ANC to form Umkhonto we Sizwe – a military wing known as “Spear of the Nation.” This establishment leaked and a campaign of sabotage against the government was disclosed. Mandela was being closely watched over.

1962: In order to train the military to garner support for the ANC, Mandela left the region, however, upon his return he was arrested for leaving the country and was issued a 5 year sentencing of imprisonment. To make things even worse, two years later he was sentenced to life for “treason and sabotage” in the Rivonia Trial.


1963: Madiba was sent to Robben Island until 1982. He was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison situated in Cape Town and then finally was moved to a prison in Paarl named Victor Verster Prison.

P.W. Botha made frequent offers to Mandela that if he agreed to renounce violence he could return to the Transkei, nowhere else but the Transkei. This was not an option for Mandela. Mandela refused saying that the government must dismantle apartheid and grant full political rights to blacks. His steadfast refusal to compromise his political position to obtain freedom is what made him the leading symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. It’s what made him a world icon for the rest of the time.

1960’s –1980’s: The ANC became an underground organization while South Africa’s government at the time continued to implement a series of structures to further oppress South Africans.  These actions were criticized internationally and helped win anti-apartheid favor around the world.


1988: Madiba was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital and was diagnosed with Tuberculosis.

1988 and 1989: The mass democratic movement pushed the white leaders of South Africa to engage in conversations with exhaled ANC leaders in

1989: P.W Botha resigned as president and two weeks later De Klerk succeeded him.

1990:President F.W. de Klerk made the decision to release Nelson Mandela in February of 1990 after he had spent 27 years in prison.  The ANC’s consistent principle of non-racial democracy created a basis for trust, which led to further talks between political parties, black and white Mandela became the official ANC leader and he constantly encouraged negotiations with the government in the final fight for a new constitution that would forever end apartheid. De Klerk legalizes the ANC and 60 other organizations, vows to free all political prisoners, ends restrictions on 374 individuals and places a moratorium on hangings.


1993: Both Madiba and FW de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. They shared this honour due to their courage and actions in fighting for a democracy and racial harmony within South Africa.

1994: For the very first time in his life, Nelson Mandela was allowed to vote, the country elected Nelson Mandela to be the first black President of South Africa. After one term as South Africa’s President, he steps down. Soon after, the Nelson Mandela Foundation was established.



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