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BBC News
The BBC's Mike Wooldridge captures the historic moment when Nelson Mandela walked free
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BBC News
Nelson Mandela's 'one nation' speech
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Listen to Thabo Mbeki's speech
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Singing in the changes - the choir at Mr Mbeki's inauguration
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Wednesday, 16 June, 1999, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Landmarks in Mandela's life

Nelson Mandela
BBC News Online looks back at some of the key events in Nelson Mandela's turbulent life and career:



Campaigners press for Mr Mandela's release

  • Born in 1918 in South Africa's Eastern Cape, son of a tribal chief.

  • Formed the Youth League of the African National Congress with close friends, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, in 1944.



  • Charged with high treason along with 155 other political activists in 1956, eventually acquitted five years later.
  • Formed the underground ANC military wing after it was outlawed following the 1960 Sharpeville massacre.


Mandela on release from prison raises clenched fist
Freedom: On release from prison

  • Captured by police after more than a year on the run, convicted of sabotage and treason in June 1964 and sentenced to life in prison, initially on Robben Island.



  • Winnie Mandela, whom he married in 1958, spearheads an international campaign calling for his release.

  • Freed from jail in 1990 after 27 years of imprisonment.



Winning the rugby - a symbolic achievement

  • Emerged as president after a landslide win in South Africa's first multi-racial elections in 1994.

  • Marriage to Winnie ended when she was convicted on charges of kidnapping and accessory to assault.


Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki: Chosen successor

  • South Africa wins the Rugby Union World Cup in 1995, and Nelson Mandela is publicly presented with a team jersey from the South African captain, symbolising a mood of unity between black and white.

  • After a landslide ANC win in elections in June 1999, Nelson Mandela makes way for his successor as South African President, Thabo Mbeki, who was nominated ANC president in 1997.




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See also:

16 Jul 98 | Africa
Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela
28 Oct 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
Mandela: South Africa's golden export
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