Timeline: Life and times of Nelson Mandela

Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:13am EST
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(Reuters) - Nelson Mandela celebrates the 20th anniversary of his release from prison on Thursday.

Here are key dates in his life.

July 18, 1918 - Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela near Qunu, in Transkei (now Eastern Cape), the youngest son of a counselor to the chief of his Thembu clan.

1944 - Founds African National Congress (ANC) Youth League with Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu.

-- Marries his first wife Evelyn, with whom he had a daughter and two sons. They were divorced in 1957.

1952 - Mandela and others arrested and charged under Suppression of Communism Act; given suspended prison sentence.

-- Elected deputy national president of ANC

1958 - Marries Winnie Madikizela. They separated in April 1992 and were divorced nearly four years later.

1962 - Leaves country secretly. Goes for military training in Morocco and Ethiopia. Returning to South Africa, the "Black Pimpernel" is captured and sentenced to five years for incitement and illegally leaving the country.   Continued...