Historical Events | Western Cape Government
Rest in Peace Tata Madiba 1918 - 2013

Rus in Vrede

Tata Madiba

1918 - 2013


Historical Events

Awards and Honours

Nelson Mandela has received more than 1 115 awards and honours from across the globe. The former president has held more than 105 patronages and received more than 175 civic honours, freedoms of cities/towns and honorary citizenships.

On 29 August 2007 a statue of Mandela was unveiled in Parliament Square, London, following a seven-year campaign led by Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London. More than 95 statues, sculptures, artworks and monuments have been given to, or dedicated to, Mandela. In addition, more than 120 halls, buildings, housing developments, structures, streets, roads, boulevards, avenues, bridges and even highways have been named after him.

The performing arts has collectively dedicated more than 40 events, musical performances and theatre tributes to him, while the world of sport has honoured the icon with more than 40 sports-related awards. More than 25 schools, universities and other educational institutions have been named after him, in addition to numerous bursaries, scholarships and foundations.  

The new Nelson Mandela R5 coin came into circulation on 18 July 2008 to coincide with the former president's 90th birthday. The bi-metal coin features a smiling portrait of Mandela wearing his signature patterned shirt.

On 15 July 2008 the South African Post Office unveiled unique domestic and small international Nelson Mandela stamps to mark the former president’s 90th birthday. In 2012, South Africa introduced new monetary notes bearing his image.

On 10 November 2009 the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 July Nelson Mandela International Day to mark Mandela’s contribution to peace. This day is celebrated all over the world, with people dedicating 67 or more minutes towards a good cause. 

In 2009 the former president became the first person to be honoured by football governing body, FIFA, for the second time during his lifetime. "It has never happened and I do not think that it will ever happen again," 2010 local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan said.

Read more about Nelson Mandela's childhood and rise as a political leader in the timeline below. 

Nelson Mandela Timeline


Rolihlahla Mandela is born in Mvezo in the Transkei. He attends primary school near Qunu, where he is given the English name "Nelson" by his teacher.


Mandela’s father dies and he is entrusted to Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo, who is acting regent of the Thembu people.


Attends Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo, where he completes his Junior Certificate.


Attends Healdtown, the Wesleyan College at Fort Beaufort.


Enrols to study law at the University College of Fort Hare, in Alice.


Expelled from University College of Fort Hare, due to resigning from the Student Representative Council.


In order to escape an arranged marriage, Mandela moves to Johannesburg and becomes a mine policeman at Crown Mines. Introduced to Walter Sisulu, who arranges a clerk job for Madiba at the law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman.


Completes his BA degree through the University of South Africa (Unisa) and continues to complete his Articles at the firm.


Enrolled at the University of Witwatersrand for an LLB, Bachelor of Law degree. Mandela starts attending African National Congress (ANC) meetings and participates in his first protest march in support of the Alexandra Bus Boycott.


Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela form the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). Lembede is elected the president; Oliver Tambo, the secretary, and Walter Sisulu becomes the treasurer. AP Mda, Jordan Ngubane, Lionel Majombozi, Congress Mbata, David Bopape and Nelson Mandela are elected to the executive committee. Mandela marries Evelyn Ntoko Mase – they have four children: Madiba Thembekile (1945-1969); Makaziwe (1947 – who dies after nine months); Makgatho (1950-2005) and Makaziwe (1953) who was named after their first daughter, who passed away.


Elected to the Executive Committee of the Transvaal ANC, serving under CS Ramohanoe, President of the Transvaal Region at the time.


Elected President of the ANC Youth League.


Defiance Campaign begins. Mandela and 21 others are arrested and charged for violating the Suppression Communism Act. Sentenced to nine months' imprisonment with hard labour but the sentence is suspended for two years. Elected Transvaal ANC President. Mandela and Oliver Tambo open South Africa’s first black law firm;
“Mandela and Tambo”.


Mandela devises the M-Plan (Mandela Plan) for the ANC’s future underground operations.


Watches as the Congress of the People launch the Freedom Charter (all races coming together to achieve equal rights) in Kliptown.


Arrested and joins 155 others on trial for Ttreason. All are acquitted by 29 March 1961.


Mandela divorces Evelyn Mase and marries Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela – they have two daughters: Zenani (1959) and Zindzi (1960)


The ANC is banned after a state of emergency is declared.


Mandela goes underground and becomes Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed military organisation Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) (Spear of the Nation). This is the start of the armed struggle.


Spends two weeks on Robben Island. Leaves the country for military training and to garner support for the ANC. Arrested near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal after leaving the country illegally and enciting workers to strike.


Charged for sabotage in the Rivonia trial with nine others.


Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni are convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Jailed on Robben Island for just over 18 years.


Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Ahmed Kathrada are sent to Pollsmoor Prison.


Rejects South African President PW Botha's offer to release him if he renounces violence. Elected ANC Deputy President.


Mandela admitted to Tygerberg Hospital and is diagnosed with tuberculosis. Mandela is moved to Victor Verster Prison where he spends the last 14 months of his imprisonment.


The ANC is unbanned along with the state of emergency restrictions being lifted. Nelson Mandela is released from prison.


Elected ANC president.


Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Mandela votes for the first time in his life. Mandela is elected by Parliament as first president of a democratic South Africa. Inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa.


Divorces Winnie Mandela.


Marries Graça Machel on his 80th birthday.


Mandela steps down after one term as president.      


Announces that he will be stepping down from public life.


Mandela announces that his eldest son, Makgatho, had died of Aids complications.


Witnesses the installation of his grandson, Mandla, as chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council.


Turns 90 years old, asks the emerging generation to continue the fight for social justice.


Votes for the fourth time in his life. Attends the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma on 9 May and witnesses Zuma's first State of the Nation address.


Makes a surprise appearance at the final of the Fifa World Cup in Soweto.


Votes in the local government elections. Mandela celebrates his 93rd birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape. Mandela is officially counted in South Africa’s Census 2011.


Celebrates his 94th birthday with his family in Qunu, Eastern Cape.


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela dies in Johannesburg on Thursday, 5 December, aged 95.


For a comprehensive timeline of Mandela's life visit http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/nelson-mandela-timeline-1800-2010

The content on this page was last updated on 6 December 2013