Key Mandela moments: A biographical timeline

4. Beginning of apartheid's end

Former South African president P.W. Botha, left, addresses a press conference with former President Nelson Mandela, in this 1995 file photo, six years after they first met to discuss Mandela's release from prison.

1976: In the Soweto uprising, police fire upon high school students who are protesting over being taught in Afrikaans language. Some 176 people are killed, including Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old boy who became a symbol of resistance to apartheid brutality. 

1977: Steve Biko, founder of the “black consciousness movement,” dies after torture in police custody.

1982: Nelson Mandela and other members of the ANC leadership are transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on South Africa's mainland.

1988: Mandela is moved to Victor Verster open prison in Paarl, near Cape Town, for negotiations with the apartheid government.

1989: Meets President P.W. Botha to discuss his release. Botha soon resigns office.

Feb. 9, 1990: President F.W. de Klerk announces the dismantling of apartheid and the unbanning of the ANC.

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