Backgrounder: Major events in life of Nelson Mandela

2013-12-06 03:28:18 GMT2013-12-06 11:28:18(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Following is a chronology of key events in the life of former South African President and Nobel Laureate Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95.

July 18, 1918 -- Born into Thembu royal family in Mvezo village in southeastern South Africa.

1940 -- Expelled from University of Fort Hare for participating in a student strike with Oliver Tambo, who would later become African National Congress (ANC) president.

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

1944 -- Joins the ANC. Marries Evelyn Mase, a trainee nurse.

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

Dec. 5, 1956 -- Is among 156 political activists arrested and charged with treason.

1958 -- Marries social worker Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela after divorcing his first wife.

1961 -- Helps establish ANC guerrilla wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation.

June 12, 1964 -- After famous speech from the dock (democracy "is an ideal for which I am prepared to die"), Mandela and six others are sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to notorious Robben Island prison off Cape Town.

1973 -- Refuses a government offer of release on condition he agrees to a kind of exile in his native Transkei.

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

Dec. 13, 1989 -- Meets Botha's successor, F.W. de Klerk.

Feb. 11, 1990 -- Released from prison to cheering crowds. Addresses thousands of well-wishers gathered on the Grand Parade, from the balcony of the City Hall in Cape Town.

July 5, 1991 -- Elected ANC president. The government, the ANC and 17 other political groups begin formal negotiations on a new constitution.

Oct. 15, 1993 -- Wins Nobel Peace Prize with de Klerk for their work in negotiating an end to apartheid.

May 10, 1994 -- Inaugurated as South Africa's first black president after the ANC wins the first all-race election.

March 19, 1996 -- Mandela granted a divorce from Winnie.

July 18, 1998 -- Marries former Mozambican first lady Graca Machel on his 80th birthday.

1999 -- Steps down as president after one term, a rarity among African presidents, but continues to be active in causes promoting world peace, supporting children and fighting AIDS.

June 1, 2004 -- Announces retirement from public life.

Jan. 6, 2005 -- Announces that his only surviving son Makgatho had died of AIDS.

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

July 11, 2010 -- Waves to the crowd at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg as South Africa bids farewell to the 2010 soccer World Cup.

December 2012 -- Spends nearly three weeks in a hospital, where he is treated for a lung infection and has a procedure to remove gallstones.

Jan. 6, 2013 -- Doctors say Mandela has "recovered" although 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 -- Readmitted to hospital for a recurring lung infection which doctors say is pneumonia.

April 29, 2013 -- State television broadcasts footage of a visit by President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders to Mandela at his Johannesburg home. Zuma says Mandela is in good shape, but the footage, the first public images of Mandela in nearly a year, shows him silent and unresponsive, even when Zuma tries to hold his hand.

June 8, 2013 -- The government says Mandela is admitted to a hospital with a recurring lung infection. Officials describe his condition as serious but stable.

Dec. 5, 2013 -- Mandela dies in his Johannesburg home at age 95.


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