About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Mandela, Nelson Rolihlahla

1918 -

Nelson Mandela was born in Qunu in the Transkei and graduated from the universities of Fort Hare and Witwatersrand. He set up legal practice with OR Tambo in 1952 in Johannesburg. In 1944 Mandela became a member of the ANCYL, and in 1950 he became its President. He was volunteer-in-chief of the Defiance Campaign in 1952. In 1956 he was among the 156 accused in the Treason Trial.

In 1962 Mandela went abroad illegally but was arrested shortly after his return and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. He was subsequently charged with sabotage and at the Rivonia trial was sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 27 years before being released in 1990.

Mandela was approached by Kobie Coetsee in 1985 and the first tentative steps were taken towards eventual negotiations. In recognition of his efforts he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993, together with F W de Klerk. In March 1990 Mandela was appointed deputy president of the ANC, becoming president after the death of Oliver Tambo in 1993. Mandela was the first President of the new democratic South Africa and led the Government of National Unity from 1994 to 1999, after which he retired from politics.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.