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National & Provincial
Apr 26 2012 7:35AM
The timeline of Freedom
SOUTH AFRICA - 27 April 1994: Voters standing in long queues in Alexander during the 1994 general elections in South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images
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The murmurings of change start in 1985, even as the apartheid state clamps down on the internal struggles of workers, students, professionals and all others who oppose the oppressive regime.It continues its attacks on the country’s neighbours in an attempt to stay the decades-old course of freedom embarked upon by the liberation movements of South Africa. After centuries of colonialism, segregation and apartheid, in 1985, Rivonia trialist Dennis Goldberg is released. On November 5, 1987, Govan Mbeki is released. Five other Rivonia trialists – Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi – are released on October 15, 1989. Wilton Mkwayi is also released in 1989.

February 2

FW de Klerk abolishes apartheid and announces the release of Nelson Mandela. The African National Congress (ANC), the Pan African Congress (PAC) and the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) are unbanned. On 11 February Nelson Mandela is released from jail after serving 27 years on Robben Island.


The legal system of apartheid is repealed, making room for the emergence of the new democracy and, in September, Mandela and De Klerk sign a record of understanding confirming their agreement that a single, freely elected constituent assembly will draft a new constitution.Some of the people who played prominent roles in South Africa would not see the new South Africa. Activist and treason trialist Helen Joseph dies on December 25, 1992. On April 10, secretary-general of the South African Communist Party and ANC national executive committee member Chris Hani is assassinated in his driveway by right wing extremist Janusz Waluz. Shortly after, the liberation movement suffers another blow when the ANC’s president, Oliver Tambo, suffers a stroke and dies on April 24, 1993.At the end of the year President FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Trade sanctions imposed in 1986 are lifted.

April 27

Millions queue to cast their first vote in a democratic South Africa. About 90% of eligible voters cast their ballot. The ANC is victorious, winning a clear majority and freedom becomes a reality for all South Africans.South Africa adopts the new multi-coloured national flag
May 3: South Africa resumes full membership of the World Health Organisation.
May 5: Bill Clinton, president of the US announces doubling the $600m of US assistance to South Africa over the next three years.
May 6: South Africa establishes diplomatic relations with Ghana, Mali and Senegal.
May10: Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as the South African state president at a ceremony in Pretoria. To commemorate the 1994 presidential inauguration (the first democratically elected president in South Africa) the South African Mint produces a 24-carat gold coin.
May: The United Nations lifts its arms embargo on South Africa.
May 13: South Africa attends its first Assembly of Heads of State and Government (OAU Summit) in Tunis.
The ANC government of Nelson Mandela begins to implement the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), a South African socio-economic policy framework decided after months of discussions, consultations and negotiations between the ANC, its alliance partners the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, and “mass organisations in the wider civil society”.

June 3
South Africa rejoins the Commonwealth nations secretariat.
October 3
Nelson Mandela addresses the General Assembly of the UN.


South Africa wins the Rugby world cup.

April 15: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission starts its first formal hearings.

December 16 - 20:
The ANC holds its 50th national conference in Mafikeng. Thabo Mbeki is elected president.

July 16:
Bulelani Ngcuka is elected as the first National Director of Public Prosecutions.
October 29: Nelson Mandela receives the Truth and Reconciliation report.

June 2:
The second democratic election is held and is won by the African National Congress.
June 10: George Bizos is awarded the Order for Meritorious Service Class II medal from President Nelson Mandela.
June 16: Thabo Mbeki becomes the second president of South Africa.

May 19:
Thabo Mbeki is awarded an honorary doctorate in law from Glasgow Caledonian University.
July 9-14: The 13th International AIDS conference is held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, the first ever to be held in a developing country
22 August: Thabo Mbeki is voted Newsmaker of the Year by the Pretoria Press Club.

April 5:
George Bizos is awarded the 2001 International Trial Lawyer of the Year prize by the International Academy of Trial Lawyers
September 1-8: Durban hosts the World Conference Against Racism.
October: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) secretariat is based at the Development Bank of Southern Africa in Midrand.
October: The second South African National Census is held.

January 29:
Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organisation, begins importing cheap, generic versions of patented Aids drugs into South Africa in direct defiance of South Africa’s patent laws.
April 25: Mark Shuttleworth gains worldwide fame as the second self-funded spaceflight participant.
June 16: The Hector Pieterson Museum becomes the first museum to open in Soweto.
July 15: Nelson Mandela calls on the government and business leaders worldwide to find ways to provide access to treatment to those people living with HIV-Aids.
August 8: The government announces the go-ahead for an anti-retroviral roll-out plan
December 16-20: The African National Congress holds its 51st national conference in Stellenbosch. Thabo Mbeki is re-elected ANC president.
March 21: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final report.

Ten Years After
April 14: Legislative elections are held.
May 15: South Africa wins the bid for the World Cup 2010.

March 5:
Tsotsi wins the 2005 Academy Award for best foreign language film at the 78th Academy Awards.
May 31-June 2: The 16th World Economic Forum on Africa takes place in Cape Town
September 5: Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, arrives in Cape Town to meet president Mbeki.
November 1: Nelson Mandela receives Amnesty Internati

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