Skip to main content

Nelson Mandela Fast Facts

By CNN Library
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on December 5, 2013. He was 95. Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on December 5, 2013. He was 95.
HIDE CAPTION
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
>
>>

(CNN) -- Here is a look at the life of Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of South Africa.

Personal:
Birth date: July 18, 1918

Death date: December 5, 2013

Birth place: Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa.

Birth name: Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela

Father: Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, a counselor to the royal house of the Thembu tribe

Mother: Nosekeni Fanny Mandela

Marriages: Graca (Machel) Mandela (July 18, 1998-December 5, 2013, his death); "Winnie" (Madikizela) Mandela (1958-1996, divorce); Evelyn (Ntoko) Mandela (1944-1958, divorce)

Children: with Winnie Mandela: Zindzi, 1960 and Zenani, 1959; with Evelyn Mandela: Makaziwe, 1953; Makgatho, 1950-January 6, 2005; Makaziwe, 1947-1948; Thembekile, 1946-1969

Education: University of South Africa, law degree, 1942

Other Facts:
He was given the name Nelson by a school teacher. He was sometimes called Madiba, his traditional clan name.

Mandela was called both "the world's most famous political prisoner" and "South Africa's Great Black Hope."

Timeline:
1941-1943 - Mandela meets Walter Sisulu who helps him get a job at the law firm of Witkin, Sidelsky, and Eidelman.

1944 - Joins the African National Congress and helps found the ANC Youth League.

1951 - Becomes president of the ANC Youth League.

1952 - Opens the first black law partnership in South Africa with friend Oliver Tambo.

1952 - Leads the newly launched [ANC] Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws, a program of nonviolent mass resistance.

July 1952 - Mandela is charged with violating the Suppression of Communism Act.

December 5, 1956 - Mandela is among 156 resistance leaders arrested and charged with high treason.

March 21, 1960 - In Sharpeville, police fire upon protestors challenging apartheid laws; 69 people are killed.

April 8, 1960 - The ANC is banned nine days after Mandela is arrested and the government imposes a state of emergency after the events in Sharpeville.

March 29, 1961 - Mandela and all co-defendants are found not guilty of treason.

June 1961 - Mandela begins organizing the armed struggle against apartheid Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nations). He travels in Africa and Europe studying guerrilla warfare.

August 5, 1962 - Is arrested on charges of inciting workers to strike and leaving the country without valid travel documents. Mandela represents himself at trial.

November 7, 1962 - Is sentenced to prison, five years hard labor.

June 12, 1964 - Is sentenced to life in prison for four counts of sabotage. Convicted and sentenced with Mandela are Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg and others.

1980 - The Johannesburg Sunday Post leads a campaign to free Mandela. A petition demanding his and other ANC prisoners' release is printed in the newspaper.

1982- Is transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison after 18 years on Robben Island.

1988 - Is transferred to Victor Verster Prison.

July 5, 1989 - Meets with President P.W. Botha.

August 15, 1989 - Botha resigns as president and head of the National Party. F.W. de Klerk replaces him and begins dismantling apartheid.

December 13, 1989 - Mandela and de Klerk meet for the first time.

February 11, 1990 - Mandela is released from prison after more than 27 years.

1990 - Embarks on a world tour, visiting Margaret Thatcher, the U.S. Congress, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

July 1991 - Mandela is elected president of the ANC.

1993 - Mandela and de Klerk share the Nobel Peace Prize.

April 29, 1994 - Elected the first black president of the Republic of South Africa in the first open election in the country's history.

May 10, 1994 - Mandela is inaugurated.

June 1999 - Mandela leaves office.

1999 - Establishes the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

January 19, 2000 - Addresses the United Nations Security Council, appealing for help in ending the brutal civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi.

July 25, 2001 - Announces that he has prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment.

January 31, 2003 - Mandela criticizes President George W. Bush's stance on Iraq, saying he has no foresight and can't think properly.

November 29, 2003 - Aids awareness event, the 46664 Concert (Mandela's prison number) at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The event draws 30,000+ fans with performances by Beyonce, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Bob Geldof and many more; and speeches by Mandela and Geldof.

December 1, 2003 - Mandela participates in the signing of the Geneva Accords for peace in the Middle East.

January 7, 2005 - Announces that his son, Makgatho, has died of AIDS and that the disease should be given publicity so that people will stop viewing it as extraordinary.

March 21, 2005 - Hosts the "46664 concert" in George, South Africa, to promote AIDS awareness.

August 29, 2007 - A bronze statue of Mandela is unveiled in Parliament Square in London.

June 27, 2008 - A London concert is held at Hyde Park in honor of Mandela's 90th birthday (on July 18) with all proceeds going to an AIDS charity. It is estimated that about 40,000 tickets were sold.

July 18, 2009 - The Nelson Mandela Foundation creates Mandela Day to be held every year on his birthday. The purpose of the day is to bring awareness to community service.

November 11, 2009 - The United Nations declares July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day.

December 11, 2009 - The movie Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela opens in South Africa, Canada and the United States.

February 11, 2010 - On the 20th anniversary of Mandela's release from prison tributes, commemorations and marches in his honor take place.

June 11, 2010 - Mandela makes his first World Cup appearance before kickoff of the final match.

January 26-28, 2011 - Is hospitalized in Johannesburg and treated for an acute respiratory infection.

June 21, 2011 - Meets with U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama at his home in South Africa.

February 25-26, 2012 - Treated for an abdominal hernia.

March 2012 - The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project is launched. Google gives a $1.25 million grant to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents including items donated by Mandela himself.

December 8, 2012 - Is admitted to the hospital, suffering a lung infection.

December 15, 2012 - Undergoes successful endoscopic surgery to have gall stones removed.

January 6, 2013 - A spokesman says Mandela has successfully recovered from surgery and a lung infection and is slowly getting back to his normal routine.

March 27, 2013 - Is admitted to the hospital due to the recurrence of a lung infection.

April 6, 2013 - Mandela is discharged from the hospital.

April 29, 2013 - The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) releases video of Mandela as he sits at home surrounded by South Africa President Zuma and other government officials. SABC and the African National Congress, which has been critical of media in the past, are accused of political exploitation.

June 8, 2013 - Mandela is admitted to hospital with a recurring lung infection. The former president is listed in serious but stable condition and is breathing on his own.

June 23, 2013 - Officials say Mandela's condition has worsened in the past 24 hours, and he is now in critical condition.

August 31, 2013 - Is discharged from the hospital to continue his recovery at home. According to President Jacob Zuma he is still listed in "critical but stable condition but responding to treatment."

December 5, 2013 - Nelson Mandela dies at his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. South African President Jacob Zuma orders all flags in the nation to be flown at half-staff through the state funeral.

December 15, 2013 - Mandela is buried in his childhood village of Qunu.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 1728 GMT (0128 HKT)
Candles are lit under a portrait of Neslon Mandela before the funeral ceremony of South African former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu on December 15, 2013.
As 95 candles glowed in the background, mourners gathered for Nelson Mandela's state funeral Sunday.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
One candle burns for each year of Nelson Mandela's life, as family, friends, dignitaries and celebrities gather in his ancestral home, Qunu.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
CNN's Robyn Curnow is inside the Mandela family compound in Qunu as the state funeral service is ongoing.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Don't expect the man who fought to end apartheid and then led South Africa as its first black president to spend eternity pushing up just daisies.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0350 GMT (1150 HKT)
Not only is Nelson Mandela the former president of South Africa, but he is also a father, grandfather and even a great-grandfather.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0413 GMT (1213 HKT)
Nelson Mandela once said his wife, Graca Machel, makes him "bloom like a flower."
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0849 GMT (1649 HKT)
South African pays tribute and thanks Nelson Mandela at the former leader's funeral in Qunu.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0845 GMT (1645 HKT)
South African President Jacob Zuma sings at the funeral of Nelson Mandela.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0725 GMT (1525 HKT)
Anti-apartheid veteran Ahmed Kathrada spent 26 years imprisoned with his close friend and confidant Nelson Mandela.
December 15, 2013 -- Updated 0408 GMT (1208 HKT)
The coffin carrying Nelson Mandela's body arrived Saturday in his ancestral village of Qunu, where he'll be buried.
December 14, 2013 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Crowds gather as Nelson Mandela's funeral convoy arrives at Mthatha Airport in South Africa's Eastern Cape.
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1932 GMT (0332 HKT)
Beloved icon Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest on the farm where he grew up. CNN's Robyn Curnow gives an inside look.
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT)
It might be timely to put aside out-of-date and ill-informed views of Africa, and see it the way Africans seem to: With a high level of optimism.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0440 GMT (1240 HKT)
Mandela emerged from prison to lead his country out of racist apartheid rule with a message of reconciliation that inspired the world.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
The late South African President reflects on his imprisonment and his fight against apartheid.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Nelson Mandela, hailed for leading South Africa out of apartheid, wanted to be remembered as part of a collective and not in isolation.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
Nelson Mandela
From revolutionary to revered statesman, Nelson Mandela left his inspirational mark on the world.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The only known footage of Nelson Mandela while at Robben Prison shows inside his cell and the former president in 1977.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
Mandela spent almost three decades in jail. But he had two Indian goddesses and a 17th century playwright for company.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
He was loved and admired the world over, profiled in books and movies. But even he has little-known facts buried in his biographies.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
A file photo showing South African Nelson Mandela taking the presidential oath on May 10, 1994 during his inauguration at the Union Building in Pretoria.
April 27, 1994, was the crowning moment in Nelson Mandela's life -- the day South Africa held its first elections open to citizens of every race.
From a village birth, to political activism, to prison and emergence as a worldwide leader.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
"No one is born hating another person ..." and more from Nelson Mandela in his own words
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
South African former President Nelson Mandela holds the Jules Rimet World cup, 15 May 2004 at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
"Sport has the power to change the world," Nelson Mandela once said -- and eloquently supported his claim.
June 27, 2013 -- Updated 0148 GMT (0948 HKT)
Browse through intimate images of Nelson Mandela, including the earliest known photograph believed to be taken in 1938.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
The Special AKA's "Free Nelson Mandela" became anti-apartheid anthem, and led to Mandela's release from prison after 27 years.
How will you remember Mandela? Send us your stories, memories and photographs.
ADVERTISEMENT