After a day of demonstrations, at which a crowd of black protesters far outnumbered the police, the South African police opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people.
Mandela is arrested for plotting against the government. Though he stays active politically, he will spend 27 years in prison.
President F.W. de Klerk announces the end of apartheid. Mandela is freed from prison after serving 27 years.
De Klerk and Mandela are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
South Africa holds its first elections in which all races can vote. Nelson Mandela is elected President.
South Africa hosts and wins the World Cup rugby tournament.
Mandela steps down as President.
April - 39 multi-national pharmaceutical companies halt a legal battle to stop South Africa importing generic Aids drugs. The decision is hailed as a victory for the world's poorest countries in their efforts to import cheaper drugs to combat the virus.
November - Government approves major programme to treat and tackle HIV/Aids. It envisages network of drug-distributon centres and preventative programmes. Cabinet had previously refused to provide anti-Aids medicine via public health system.
he African National Congress wins a landslide election, gaining almost 70% of the votes. Thabo Mbeki begins his second term as president.
March - Investigators exhume the first bodies in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigation into the fates of hundreds of people who disappeared in the apartheid era.
August - Around 100,000 gold miners strike over pay, bringing the industry to a standstill.
May - Former deputy president Jacob Zuma is acquitted of rape charges by the High Court in Johannesburg. He is reinstated as deputy leader of the governing African National Congress.
Jacob Zuma is elected President
South Africa hosts the World Cup soccer tournament.