Mandela: The early years & political life

With memorable photos and audio from Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Ahmed Kathrada and others, we relive Mandela's extraordinary political journey.

A young Nelson Mandela pictured in Johannesburg in the early 1960s before he was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage. He was sentenced in June 1964 at the Rivonia trial. (Reuters)
Nelson Mandela is pictured in 1952 at the lawyers firm he opened with Oliver Tambo. It was the first black legal practice in Johannesburg. (Jurgen Schadenberg, AP)
African National Congress Youth League leaders, Nelson Mandela (centre), Walter Sisulu (left), and Harrison Motlana, in 1952 during the defiance campaign trial at the Johannesburg Supreme Court. The campaign encouraged blacks to defy apartheid laws. (AP)
Nelson Mandela leaves the Pretoria synagogue, being used as a court, at the end of a day's proceedings in 1958 during the first treason trial. He and the other co-defendants were acquitted in 1961 after a four-and-a-half-year trial. (Jurgen Schadenberg, AP)
Nelson Mandela talks to Ruth First (centre) outside the court during the first treason trial in 1957. First, a writer, sociologist and ANC member was an accused in the trial. Married to ANC member Joe Slovo, she published several political books in England. She was killed by a letter bomb in Mozambique in 1982. (Bob Gosani, AP)
Nelson Mandela talks to a group of women demonstrating against the pass laws in South Africa in 1959. (Peter Magubane, AP)
Photographs of Rivonia trialists are displayed at the mayibuye Centre in Cape Town on March 10 2005. From left, top, is Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Gowan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba. From left, bottom, are Elias Motsoaledi, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Dennis Goldberg. (Radu Sigheti, Reuters)
Crowds cheer as a police van brings prisoners to the Drill Hall in Johannesburg on December 31 1956 for the start of the treason trial. (AP)
Nelson Mandela and defendant Mrs S Bunting during a break at the treason trial in 1958. (Drum)
Three defendants in the first treason trial, Robert Resha (left), Patrick Molaoa (centre), and Nelson Mandela arrive in Pretoria from Johannesburg in August 1958. The trial lasted for four-and-a-half years. (AP)
Nelson Mandela in 1961. (Reuters)
SA police beat African women with clubs in Durban in 1959, after the women raided and set fire to a beer hall in protest at police action against home brewing. (AP)
Bodies of dead and injured people are strewn over the ground following the Sharpeville massacre on March 22 1960. (AP)
Police drag a black student to a police van after rioting broke out on August 12 1976 in Gugulethu near Cape Town. (AP)
Black demonstrators cower from police during a demonstration in Gugulethu, near Cape Town, on August 12 1976. (AP)
Winnie Mandela is surrounded by police, reporters and friends who were travelling with her after police forced her car to a halt and arrested her for the third time in recent weeks on December 30 1985. Mandela was en route from Jan Smuts airport to her home in Soweto. (AP)
ANC president Nelson Mandela is pictured in the cell he occupied on Robben Island for much of his 27-year sentence, on February 11 1994. (Patrick de Noirmont, Reuters)
Robert Resha (left), a member of the banned African National Congress, is pictured at Dar-Es-Salaam airport, Tanganyika, on his arrival from London on August 23 1962. With him is another banned ANC member, Oliver Tambo. (AP)
Winnie Mandela, wife of ANC leader Nelson Mandela, carries the coffin of Clayton Sithole on February 10 1990 in Soweto shortly before hearing that her husband was to be released from prison. Sithole, boyfriend of Zinzi Mandela, died while in police custody. (Grag English, AP)
Release Nelson Mandela poster issued by the Anti-Apartheid Movement. (Radu Sigheti, Reuters)
A Nelson Mandela poster is shown in this undated photo. (Radu Sigheti, Reuters)
Winnie Mandela apperared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, on January 22 1986 after defying her banning order. (Greg English, AP)
Black students take part in a march in Soweto in October 1976 where they rallied after the funeral of a 16-year-old black student who died in jail. The student, Dumisani Mbatha, was taken into custody following a protest march and died two days after his arrest. (AP)
ANC activist Winnie Manela, flanked by Reverend Alan Boesak (left) and Helen Joseph, long-time campaigner for black civil rights, at a press conference to launch a campaign to protect Mrs Mandela on February 14 1986. (AP)
(Radu Sigheti, Reuters)
(Radu Sigheti, Reuters)
Homeless supporters of Nelson Mandela attend a rally at Los Angeles City Hall in California on June 29 1990. (Doug Mills, AP)
South African State President FW de Klerk announces the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and South African Communist party, and the lifting of the state of emergency, during Parliament in Cape Town on February 2 1990. (Dana Le Roux-Argus, AP)
Jubilant supporters celebrate the release of Nelson Mandela on February 11 1990 in Bonteheuwel. (Adil Bradlow, AP)
Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela enter Soweto's Soccer City stadium on February 14 1990. (Udo Weitz, AP)
Nelson Mandela speaks to the 120 000 ANC supporters at Soweto's Soccer City stadium shortly after his release from prison. (AP)
Nelson and Winnie Mandela are pictured after his release from Victor Verster prison in Cape Town on February 11 1990. (Greg English, AP)
Oliver Tambo (left), former ANC president, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, the ANC's internal leader, are pictured at a rally in Johannesburg on December 16 1990 to welcome Tambo home after 30 years in exile. (John Parkin, AP)
Nelson Mandela visits residents at a squatter camp on May 31 1992 in Phola Park. (Greg Marinovich, AP)
South African State President FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela are seen prior to talks between the ANC and the government in Cape Town on May 2 1990. (Denis Farrel, AP)
Nelson Mandela casts his vote for new leadership in the ANC on June 5 1991 in Durban. (John Parkin, AP)
FW de Klerk shakes hands with Nelson Mandela after they received a 800 000-franc peace prize at Unesco headquarters in Paris, France, on February 3 1992. (Remy de la Mauviniere, AP)
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie salute thousands of ANC supporters at a rally to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the ANC in Bloemfontein on January 8 1992. (Adil Bradlow, AP)
ANC and Azanian People's Organization supporters drag the body of one of their comrades killed in a running battle against members of the Inkatha Freedom Party, in Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg, on February 24 1994. (Joao Silva, AP)
A township resident confronts a policeman shortly before police opened fire on a crowd and killed at least one and injured several in Boipatong on June 20 1992. The shootings followed an aborted visit by South African President FW de Klerk to the scene of a massacre that left 39 people dead. (Greg Marinovich, AP)
Nelson Mandela views the body of slain activist Chris Hani as the body lies in state in a Soweto soccer stadium on April 18 1993. (John Parkin, AP)
Police take cover as IFP supporters flee as they are fired upon by unidentified gunmen on March 28 1994 in Johannesburg. Nine IFP supporters were later killed outside the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters. The IFP were opposed to the upcoming all-race election. (Peter Dejong, AP)
A security forces official tries to extinguish a burning shack during clashes between the IFP and Azanian People's Organization and African National Congress supporters on February 2, 1994 in the Bekkersdal mining township west of Johannesburg. (Joao Silva, AP)
South African State President FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands on May 2 1990 in Cape Town before talks between the ANC and the government began. (Adil Bradlow, AP)
Nelson Mandela waves to the crowd at Jouberton Township stadium during a campaign rally on January 30 1994. (David Brauchli, AP)
Nelson Mandela greets the crowd on January 31 1994 in Ikageng Stadium, outside Potchefstroom. (David Brauchli, AP)
Nelson Mandela casts his vote in South Africa's first all-race elections at Ohlange High School hall in Inanda, north of Durban, on April 27 1994. (John Parkin, AP)
Nelson Mandela salutes the crowd in Galeshewe Stadium near Kimberley before a "People's Forum" on February 25 1994. (David Brauchli, AP)
The crowd at Bisho stadium wait for Nelson Mandela on February 27 1994. (David Brauchli, AP)
Nelson Mandela takes the oath of office in Pretoria on May 10 1994 to become South Africa's first black president. (David Brauchli, AP)
Nelson Mandela waves to spectators while members of Parliament applaud him after his speech in the German Bundestag on May 22 1996. (Fritz Reiss, AP)
South African Defence Force helicopters carrying the new South African flag fly over Pretoria during Mandela's inauguration on May 10 1994. (AP)
President Nelson Mandela dances at a celebration concert following his inauguration in Pretoria on May 10 1994. (John Parkin, AP)
Nelson Mandela dances as he gets up on stage to deliver his victory address in downtown Johannesburg on May 2 1994. (David Brauchli. AP)
Nelson Mandela follows a staff bearer as they leave Parliament on June 14 1999 in Cape Town. Parliament selected Thabo Mbeki (right) as the country's second freely elected president. (Peter Dejong, AP)
Nelson Mandela and Deputy President FW de Klerk confer outside Parliament after the approval of South Africa's new Constitution on May 8 1996. Despite fears that parties would not reach the required two thirds consensus, the final vote was 421-2 with 10 abstentions. (Mike Hutchings, AP)
Nelson Mandela acknowledges the cheers of the vast Trafalgar Square crowd from the balcony of South Africa House in London on July 12 1996. Mandela addressed the crowd on the last leg of his four-day state visit to Britain. (Tony Harris, AP)
Nelson Mandela kisses the hand of a young girl during an early morning stroll in London's St James' Park on July 10 1996. (Andrew Buurman, AP)
Nelson Mandela walks among the crowd gathered at Trafalgar Square in London on July 12 1996. (Dave Caulkin, AP)
Nelson Mandela raises the hand of the new ANC president Thabo Mbeki after he was elected unopposed on the second day of the ANC's 50th general congress in Mafikeng on December 17 1997. (Adil Bradlow, AP)
Nelson Mandela raises the hand of new President Thabo Mbeki, at an inauguration ceremony in Pretoria on June 16 1999. (Jean-Marc Bouju, AP)