Nelson Mandela

By: Cameron Pettigrew

Early Childhood

On July 18, 1918 Rolihlahla Mandela was born. He was born at Mvezo in Transkei.

In 1925 he attended a primary school near Qunu and got the name Nelson from a teacher. (Age 7)

In 1930 Nelson was entrusted into Thembu Regent Jongintaba Dalindyebo. (Age 12)


Teen Years

In 1934 Nelson underwent initiation and also attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcob. (Age 16)

In 1937 he attended Healdtown, the Wesleyan College at Fort Beaufort. (Age 19)

In 1939 Nelson enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, in Alice. (Age 21)

One year later he was expelled. (Age 22)

Early Adult

In 1941 he escaped an arranged marriage. He then became a night watchman. He also started articles at the law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman. (Age 23)

In the next year Nelson completes BA through the University of South Africa. He then began to attend African National Congress meetings informally. (Age 24)

Through 1943 and 1944 he graduated with a BA from Fort Hare and he enrolls for an LLB at Wits University. Later he co-founds the ANC Youth League. He married Evelyn Ntoko Mase and they have four children. His second child died after nine months. (Age 25-26)

At age 30 Nelson was elected national secretary of the ANCYL. At age 33 he was elected President of the ANCYL.

In 1952 a lot of things happened. The Defiance Campaign began and he was arrested and charged for violating the Suppression of Communism Act. He was elected Transvaal ANC President and was convicted with J.S. Moroka, Walter Sisulu, and 17 others under the SCA. He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour, also being suspended for two years. He was elected first ANC of deputy presidents. Nelson opened South Africa's first black law firm with Oliver Tambo. (Age 34)

Through ages 35-38 Nelson devised the M-Plan for the ANC's future underground operations. He watched as the Congress of the People at Kliptown launches the Freedom Charter. Nelson was arrested and joined 155 others on trial for Treason, and they all were acquitted by March 29. Mandela divorced his wife and married Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela and they have two children.

Middle Ages

From March 21-April 8 of 1960 three things happened. The Sharpeville Massacre happened on March 21. On March 30 a State of Emergency was imposed and he was detained in front of thousands. On April 8 the ANC was banned. (Age 40)

At age 41 Nelson went underground and the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) was formed.

On January 11, 1962 Mandela left the country for military training and to garner support for the ANC. On July 23, 1962 he returned back to South Africa. On August 5 Nelson was arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal. On November 7 he was sentenced to five years of prison for incitement and leaving the country without a passport. (Age 42)

In 1963 Mandela was sent Robben Island, he also returned to Pretoria Local Prison. On October 9 Nelson appeared in court which became known as the Rivonia Trial, with Walter Sisulu, Denis Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Lionel 'Rusty' Bernstein, Raymond Mhlaba, James Kantor, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni. Nelson pleaded not guilty. (Age 43)

On June 13, 1964 he returned back to Robben Island. (Age 44)

In 1982 Mandela was sent to Pollsmoor Prison. (Age 64)

At the age 67 the South African President PW Botha offered to release him if he renounced violence. He also went to the hospital for surgery.


Older Ages

During 1988-1990 Nelson was admitted to two hospitals for tuberculosis. He then moved to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl where he was held in a cottage for 14 months. In 1990 the ANC was unbanned and Mandela was released and elected President. (Age 70-72)

In 1993 Mandela was awarded withe the Nobel Peace Prize with FW de Klerk. He voted for the first time in 1994. He was also elected by Parliament as first president of a democratic South Africa. Later he was inaugurated as the President of the Republic of South Africa. In December he published his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom. (Ages 75-76)

During 1995 and 1999 Nelson established the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, divorced his current wife, marries Graça Machel on his 80th birthday, and stepped down after his one term as President and established the Nelson Mandela Foundation. (Ages 77-81)

In 2001 Mandela was diagnosed with cancer. Later in 2003 he established the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. In June of 2004 Mandela announced he would be stepping down from public life. (Ages 83-86)

During ages 87 and 91 Mandela's eldest son died. He also attended the installation of his grandson Mandla as chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council. He had his 90th birthday and his wish was for future generations to continue to fight for social justice. At the age of 91 he voted for the fourth time in his life. He also attends the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma on May 9 and witnesses Zuma's forst State of the Nation address.

A lot of things happened in 2010. He was formally presented with the Fifa World Cup trophy before it embarks on a tour of South Africa. His great-granddaughter Zenani is killed in a car accident. Nelson attended the funeral. He also made a surprise appearance at the Final of the Fifa World Cup in Soweto. He celebrated his 92nd birthday at home in Johannesburg with family and friends. His second book Conversations with Myself waspublished. Nelson met the South African and American football teams that played in the Mandela Challenge match.

In 2011 Mandela was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg where he was diagnosed with a chest infection. He is discharged after two nights. He voted in the local government elections. His book Nelson Mandela By Himself: The Authorised Book of Quotations is launched. Nelson was visited at home by American First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia. He celebrated his 93rd birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape. He was officially counted in South Africa’s Census 2011. He ended the year by spending Christmas with family in Qunu.

In 2012-2013 Nelson was admitted to hospital for abdominal complaint. Nelson was discharged and celebrated his 94th birthday. He was in and out of the hospital from December 2012 through September 1st, 2013.

Nelson died December 5th, 2013. RIP