67 Moments in Mandela’s life – The Road to Freedom

· While in prison his eldest son was killed in a car accident, and to his disappointment, he was not allowed to go and bury him, despite this being a custom in his culture. 

· All across the world, cries of “Free Mandela” were spread, to an extend that the South African government considered it.

· In 1982, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and later Ahmed Kathrada were sent to Pollsmoor Prison.

· He rejected, through his daughter, Zindzi, South African President PW Botha’s offer to release him if he renounces violence.

· Admitted to the Volks Hospital for prostate surgery. Discharged from hospital and returned to Pollsmoor Prison.

· He was admitted a number of times to hospital, where he was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1988, before being moved to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, where he was held for 14 months in a cottage.

· The ANC was unbanned on February 2, 1990 and he was released from prison on February 11, 1990. He walked out holding hands with his wife then Winnie Mandela.


· The same year he was released from prison, he was elected ANC Deputy President.

· Despite opposition from the majority of South Africans, Mandela committed to hold talks with the government on forming a new South Africa. Codesa negotiations took place between 1990 and 1993.

· Chris Hani’s death on April 10, 1993 was a catalyst in making sure the Codesa negotiations were followed through, after a visibly irate Mandela lashed out at former President FW de Klerk. 

· After the Codesa negotiations, Mandela and De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1993.

· On April 27, 1994; Nelson Mandela joined many other South Africans who voted for the first time.

· On May 9, 1994 he was elected by parliament as the President of a democratic South Africa; the next day he was inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa.

· Mandela launched his autobiography – Long Walk to Freedom on December 14, 1994.

· At the dawn of the new South Africa, the country hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup from May 25 to June 24. One of the most memorable moments of his life showed him wearing the Springbok jersey with the same number as that of captain Francois Pienaar.

· The same year as the rugby World Cup he established the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

· A year after inspiring the Springboks to victory, he was there to witness Bafana Bafana conquer Africa in the African Cup of Nations.

· While the Ministry of Sport suggested they wanted to remove the Springbok emblem on the South African rugby team’s jersey – he protested the change, stating that the emblem was part of the team’s heritage.

· He divorced Winnie Mandela in 1996.

· Mandela celebrated his birthday in an unconventional way – he married Graca Machel on July 18, 1998.

Compiled by Malcolm Maifala

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