Nelson Mandela was arrested on several occasions and also stood trial four times. He spent over 27 years in prison. Our archivists and also researchers have assembled dates and also locations of transfers and also time invested in confinement.

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Prison numbers

19476/62 – Pretoria neighborhood Prison 7 November 196211657/63 – Pretoria neighborhood Prison1963, once he went back to Pretoria ~ a quick spell ~ above Robben Island466/64 – Robben Island June 1964220/82 – Pollsmoor prison March 19821335/88 – Victor Verster Prison7 December 1988

Trials and also prisons chronology

2 December 1952

Nelson Mandela is charged, through 19 others, including Walter Sisulu, because that violating the Suppression of communist Act. They room convicted and sentenced to nine months" tough labour, suspended for 2 years.

21 march 1960

Sixty-nine serene protesters are eliminated by police in ~ Sharpeville. On 30 march Mandela is just one of thousands detained under a state the emergency.

8 April 1960

The apartheid regime bans the African nationwide Congress (ANC) and also the Pan Africanist congress (PAC).

29 march 1961

After a four-and-a-half-year trial, where he and scores that other people were charged through high treason, Mandela and the last 27 remaining accused room acquitted. He goes underground.

11 January 1962

Mandela pipeline the country for army training, and also to gather assistance for the freshly formed equipped wing that the ANC, Umkhonto us Sizwe (Spear that the Nation).


Nelson Mandela was recognized as the black Pimpernel once he went underground in 1961.

(Image: Courtesy that Azher Saloojee)

23 July 1962

Mandela returns to southern Africa via Botswana.

5 august 1962

He is arrested at a roadblock close to Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.

“ I have actually fought versus white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the appropriate of a democratic and free society in which every persons live with each other in harmony and also with equal opportunities. It is suitable which i hope to live for and to achieve. Yet if requirements be, the is an ideal for which ns am prepared to die. ”Nelson Mandela, decided from the Dock, 20 April 1964

7 November 1962

He is sentenced to 5 years in prison, for incitement and leaving the nation illegally. He starts serving his sentence at Pretoria neighborhood Prison and is assigned the sinner number 19476/62.

27 might 1963

Transferred come Robben Island Prison.

12 June 1963

Transferred come Pretoria neighborhood Prison.

9 October 1963

Appears, for the very first time, through 10 rather in the palace of righteousness in Pretoria. They become the accused in the Rivonia Trial. The case is remanded to 29 October.


Nelson MandelaWalter SisuluGovan MbekiAhmed KathradaRaymond MhlabaDenis GoldbergElias MotsoalediRusty BernsteinBob HeppleAndrew MlangeniJames Kantor

A record from the Rivonia Trial the forms component of Ahmed Kathrada’s archival materials at the Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archives.

29 October 1963

The defence uses for the quashing of the indictment, i m sorry alleges 199 acts of sabotage.

30 October 1963

Prosecutor Percy Yutar announces the Bob Hepple is to end up being a state witness. He is released and also skips the country. The indictment versus the 10 rather is quashed. Castle are automatically rearrested.

1 November 1963

Justice Quartus de Wet refuses bail come Kantor and also Bernstein. The situation is remanded come 12 November.

12 November 1963

Yutar presents a new indictment dividing the sabotage charges into two parts. The instance is remanded to 25 November.

25 November 1963

The 199 alleged acts of sabotage are lessened to 193. The defence uses to have the brand-new indictment quashed.

26 November 1963

Justice De Wet dismisses the applications to have actually the indictment quashed.

27 November 1963

The trial is remanded come 3 December, after Kantor’s new defence inquiry time to prepare.

“ genuine leaders have to be ready to sacrifice every for the flexibility of their people. ”Nelson Mandela, 25 April 1998

3 December 1963

The 10 accused plead no guilty to sabotage in the Rivonia Trial.

4 march 1964

Kantor is discharged and released.

20 April 1964

Mandela provides his famous "Speech from the Dock", in i m sorry he says he is "prepared come die" because that a democratic South Africa.

11 June 1964

All, except Bernstein, space convicted that sabotage.

12 June 1964

Mandela and seven others are sentenced to life imprisonment.

12 June 1964

All other than Goldberg are sent out to Robben Island to serve their sentences. Goldberg, together the just white human convicted in the trial, is organized in Pretoria main Prison. Mandela is assigned the sinner number 466/64.


24 September 1968

Mandela’s mother, Nosekeni dies. That is forbidden from attending her funeral.

13 July 1969

Mandela’s eldest son, Thembekile, is eliminated in a auto accident. Mandela is forbidden native attending his son"s funeral.

31 march 1982

Mandela, Sisulu, Mhlaba and Mlangeni, and also later Kathrada, room transferred come Pollsmoor Prison. Mandela is assigned the prisoner number 220/82.

10 February 1985

Rejects chairman PW Botha"s uses to release him and other political prisoners if lock renounce violence.

28 February 1985

Goldberg, who has actually been organized apart indigenous his comrades for more than 20 years, accepts the offer and is released.

3 November 1985

Mandela admitted to the Volks Hospital in Cape city for prostate surgery.

23 November 1985

Is discharged indigenous the Volks Hospital and held in a cabinet alone in ~ Pollsmoor Prison, from whereby he begins communicating through the government about eventual talks v the ANC.

16 may 1986

Meets through an Eminent Persons group from the republic Group that Nations.

20 July 1986

Holds his very first meeting v Justice Minister Kobie Coetsee about talks between the government and also the ANC.

5 November 1987

Govan Mbeki is released from Robben Island.

12 august 1988

Mandela admitted come Tygerberg Hospital, wherein he is diagnosed through tuberculosis.

31 august 1988

Transferred come Constantiaberg Mediclinic to proceed his treatment.

7 December 1988

Is moved to Victor Verster Prison near Paarl, where he is organized in the house previously occupied by a warder. Mandela is assigned the prisoner number 1335/88.


5 July 1989

Meets PW Botha in his office in Cape Town.

15 October 1989

Sisulu, Kathrada, Motsoaledi, Mlangeni and Mhlaba room released, in addition to Oscar Mpetha and PAC prisoner Jeff Masemola.

13 December 1989

Meets chairman FW de Klerk in ~ his office in Cape Town.

2 February 1990

At the opened of Parliament, De Klerk announces the unbanning of every political organisations, including the ANC.

10 February 1990

Meets De Klerk, who states he will certainly be released the next day in Johannesburg. Mandela objects, saying he desires to walk with the gates of Victor Verster Prison, and also asks for 2 weeks for the ANC come prepare. De Klerk refuses the extension yet agrees to relax him indigenous Victor Verster.

10 February 1990

De Klerk announces in ~ a press conference the Mandela will be released the following day.

11 February 1990

Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison.

11 February 1990

He addresses countless well-wishers gathered ~ above the cool Parade, from the balcony the the City Hall, in Cape Town. Security the night at Bishopscourt, the main residence the the Anglican Archbishop that Cape Town.

12 February 1990

Holds a push conference in the garden the Bishopscourt. Paris to Johannesburg.

12 February 1990

Spends the night in north Riding, at the house of a supporter, Sally Rowney.

13 February 1990

Flies come FNB stadium in Soweto because that a welcome home rally.

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13 February 1990

Spends his first night in years at his household home, 8115 Orlando West, Soweto.