1985-86: Nelson Mandela begins talks with South African officials from his prison cell.

September 1989: Frederik de Klerk is elected president.

December 1989: De Klerk meets with Mandela in prison.

February 1990: De Klerk legalizes African National Congress and Communist Party. Mandela is freed.

May 1990: Two leaders open first ANC-National Party talks.

August 1990: ANC suspends armed struggle - Pretoria's main pre-condition for talks.

June 1991: De Klerk orders repeal of major apartheid laws.

September 1991: Mandela, De Klerk, and Zulu leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi sign national peace accord.

March 1992: De Klerk wins endorsement for reform policies in whites-only referendum.

September 1992: De Klerk and Mandela reach agreement paving way for elections of Constituent Assembly and an interim government.

July 1993: Mandela and De Klerk set April 27, 1994 as date for first democratic ballot.

September 1993: At the UN, Mandela calls for the lifting of sanctions against South Africa.

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