Policy of apartheid (separateness) adopted when National Party (NP) takes power.
Populations classified by race
Group Areas Act passed to segregate blacks and whites. Communist Party banned. ANC responds with campaign of civil disobedience, led by Nelson Mandela.
The African National Congress (ANC) starts Defiance Campaign
Volunteers begin a peaceful resistance to apartheid by breaking the laws they think are wrong. The peaceful protests include black people sitting on benches marked for white people only and being out in the city after the curfew set for blacks.
Bantu Education Act is passed
A law is passed that creates a separate education system for blacks and whites. Blacks are trained to prepare them for a life as part of the working class since it is not expected that they will be allowed to do anything more than that.
Nelson Mandela arrested for treason
Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, is arrested with several other people for fighting against apartheid. He is charged with treason, but after a four-year trial he is found not guilty.
Separate homelands are created for major black groups
The government passes new laws to create separate homelands, called Bantustans, for the major black groups in the country. The government does this to stop blacks from being citizens of South Africa.
Apartheid requires blacks to carry passbooks, which contain personal information such as name, date of birth, and photos. When protestors show up at the Sharpeville police station without their passbooks, a riot breaks out and police kill 69 people.
South Africa declared a republic
South Africa declared a republic, leaves the Commonwealth. Mandela heads ANC's new military wing, which launches sabotage campaign.
Nelson Mandela arrested for treason, again
Mandela was the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, part of the African National Congress. He is arrested for his role in bombing government targets.
ANC leader Nelson Mandela sentenced to life imprisonment.
Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd assassinated
Many forced to move
More than 3 million people forcibly resettled in black homelands.
South Africa expelled from United Nations
Due to apartheid, South Africa is removed from the United Nations. South Africa is not allowed back into the United Nations until apartheid ends in 1994.
High school students in Soweto start a protest for an improved education system for blacks. Police break up the protest with tear gas and bullets, killing more than 600 people.
1984 - 1989
Causes state of emergency.
Frederick William de Klerk replaces PW Botha as president and meets Mandela. Public facilities desegregated. Many ANC activists freed.
Ban on ANC ends
February 2, 1990
Even though he supported segregation at one time, President Frederick Willem de Klerk lifts the ban on the African National Congress in 1990.
Nelson Mandela released from prison
February 11, 1990
After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela is freed from prison. Mandela thanks President de Klerk for helping set him free, but says that there is more work to be done to end apartheid.
Start of multi-party talks
De Klerk repeals remaining apartheid laws, international sanctions lifted. Major fighting between ANC and Zulu Inkatha movement.
Nobel Peace prize
Frederick William de Klerk wins the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for helping end apartheid.
Nelson Mandela becomes president
In the country's first election that allowed both whites and blacks to vote, Nelson Mandela is elected president of South Africa. He is the first black president in the history of South Africa. Government of National Unity formed, Commonwealth membership restored, and remaining sanctions lifted. South Africa takes seat in UN General Assembly after 20-year absence.