| 1977
| 1978
| January 31, 1985
| February 10, 1985
| July 20, 1985
| July 31, 1985
| June 12, 1986
| 1986
| December 9, 1988
| July 1989
| February 2, 1990
| Feb 11, 1990

The United Nations Security Council imposes an arms embargo on South Africa.

There were over six hundred anti-apartheid committees all over the world. They were aiming to get us out of the UN as fast as possible in order to assist in the total isolation of South Africa, cracking us economically.
Pik Botha, South Africa's permanent representative at the United Nations in the 1970s

P.W. Botha succeeds B.J. Vorster as Prime Minister.

Botha was just an ignorant bully, but it is extraordinary that the most important changes took place during his regime: urbanization, the 99-year lease hold, the abolition of the pass laws, and job restrictions disappeared. There simply were not enough whites to do the jobs so they had to change policy. All those things happened during this crazy man's regime.
Helen Suzman, opposition member in parliament for 36 years

President P.W. Botha makes a conditional offer of release to Mandela.

Mandela's youngest daughter, Zindzi, reads her father's reply to Botha's offer at a rally in Soweto. This is the first time in two decades that Mandela's words are heard by the public.

The release would have meant he had to denounce the ANC, the MK, and all types of political activity. He would have to go live in a homeland. His message was, "Until my people are free, I can never be free." It was an honor to deliver his message.
Zindzi Mandela, daugher of Nelson and Winnie

Due to violence instigated by the security police and fueled by rival factions of ANC and Inkhata Freedom Party supporters, many townships become ungovernable. The government declares a State of Emergency.

In solidarity with international protest, Chase Manhattan Bank of New York recalls its loan to the South African government. This $500 million debt is to be paid immediately. Other banks begin to follow suit and the Rand starts to fall.

Mandela begins secret talks with the government. In an unusual move, he makes this decision without consulting other leaders of the ANC organization.

The five of us were in a communal cell. He was taken to a different cell, isolated from us. A warder came to me and said, 'Last night we took Mandela to the house of the Minister of Justice.' That was enough to tell us Mandela had started talking to these chaps.
—Ahmed Kathrada, political prisoner with Mandela for 26 years

In preparation for his release, the government decides Mandela should go on outings with his warders.

Because he was isolated we were told to get him outside so he could think as a free man. But I think he was afraid of the outside world. You could see he was not comfortable. He was so afraid to walk over the streets.
Christo Brand, prison guard on Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison

Mandela is moved to Victor Verster prison, where he is given a large warder's house to live in.

They put him into Verster to adjust. What Mandela very cleverly did was to call on all leaders of the ANC, of civil society, of academia, of people like myself to go visit him. You would visit him at Victor Verster on a one-to-one basis. He would entertain you to sumptuous dinners. We would love going there!
—Dr. Nthato Motlana, family doctor and political activist

P.W. Botha resigns and is succeeded by F.W. De Klerk at the end of September.

At the opening of parliament F.W. De Klerk announces the unbanning of all political parties and the release of Nelson Mandela.

After 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela is released.

Frankly, when I saw that crowd, I must confess that I didn't have the courage, the confidence to speak to them. It rather took me by surprise. I think it took us an hour just to go through the crowd to get to the platform.
Nelson Mandela