| May 2, 1990
| 1991
| December 1991
| April 13, 1992
| 1992
| April 10, 1993
| April 1994
| May 10, 1994
| July 20, 1995
| August 10, 1996
| July 18, 1998
| April 2004

The ANC and the National Party begin negotiations to form a new multi-racial democracy for South Africa. These talks will be off and on for months, with delays due to the ANC's anger over the violence in the black townships. Mandela and de Klerk continue to hold private meetings throughout the process.

It didn't come easily. We had breakdowns, setbacks, walkouts, massacres, a tank crashed into us...All these things happened. People forget all that. It is a tribute to how far we have advanced, that the tremendous trauma and the complications of the time are now relegated to a past that's almost ignored.
Albie Sachs, Constitutional Court Judge

Winnie goes on trial for the kidnapping and assault of four youths by the Mandela United Football Club, a group of young men who act as her bodyguards. She is found guilty of kidnapping. In her appeal, she is given a suspended sentenced and fined.

She didn't deserve the serious charges put against her. Her worst thing was that she showed complete lack of judgment by having this football team around. Even if I did have reservations, I could not refuse to defend her at the request of Nelson Mandela.
George Bizos, defense lawyer for Winnie Mandela

The first formal negotiations with the government take place at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA 1).

Mandela announces his separation from Winnie.

It's a typical apartheid story. They were never given an opportunity to be themselves within a relationship. They had a larger role to play. At the same time, they were being battered emotionally by the system. It would have been hard for their marriage to survive.
Zindzi Mandela, daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela

Mounting violence, instigated by government agents working within townships, causes Mandela to break off negotiations. The increasing death toll forces Mandela and De Klerk to restart negotiations after a few months. They sign the 'Record of Understanding', which promises to establish formal investigations into the violence and police actions. It also establishes an elected constitutional assembly that will develop a new constitution for the country.

It is a tribute to how far we have advanced, that the trauma and complications of the time are now relegated to a past that's almost ignored.
Albie Sachs, Constitutional Court Judge

Chris Hani, a popular young ANC leader, is killed by a white extremist.

There was an eruption of anger in the country. Mandela went onto TV that night and called for calm. He said, 'We know how to respond.' Mandela was the only person capable of avoiding a bloodbath.
Albie Sachs, Constitutional Court Judge

For the first time in the country's history people of all races vote in democratic elections. Mandela is elected South Africa's first black president.

Mandela's presidential inauguration is the largest gathering of international leaders ever held in South Africa.

There was a sea of faces. The weather was just right. We had waited for nearly three centuries for this day. It was fantastic. I said to the crowds, "I introduce to you our brand new President for which all of us have struggled." And I held up his arms. It was like a boxer who had just won a match. We held hands together, outstretched like that. It was a moment of victory for all of us South Africans. For the whole world.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In an effort to appease white fears throughout the country, Nelson Mandela makes several public gestures of reconciliation. One of them includes inviting all of the wives of former Presidents for tea. With the exception of Mrs. Verwoerd, who is ill, they all attend.

He became the master of the symbolic gesture. He knew who to visit, what gestures and statements to make that would ease the fears. To make all these stunning gestures and emerge as the great reconcilor—That is what saved the country.
Allister Sparks, journalist

South Africa wins the World Cup for Rugby. Mandela makes an appearance on the field wearing a Springbok jersey.

Rugby is the National Party sport. The symbolic impact of Mandela walking out with a capta d's jersey on, that moment cannot be described. Here a guy comes, released from prison after 27 years, with a Springbok jersey on. Everybody went bananas. I think it bought us at least a year of peace.
Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert, former opposition member of Nationalist Party parliament

Nelson Mandela marries Graça Machel on his eightieth birthday.

South Africa celebrates ten years of democracy.

About the third year of our acquaintance, he turned to me and said, "One day I am going to be Prime Minister of this country." I was going to be his Minister of Justice. He must have been about twenty-eight. He had a good sense of humor. When he said that, it sounded good to me, that one day we'd have a black Prime Minister. It was an impossible situation. I couldn't even imagine it could happen.
Nat Bregman, lawyer and colleague of Nelson Mandela's in the early 1940s