Beatles Before Brian

Beatles Before Brian

There are nearly 5 1/2 years between John Lennon’s formation of the Quarrymen and Brian Epstein becoming both the Beatles’ manager and the last piece of the puzzle that launched Beatlemania.

Here are some of the many dates between August 1956 and December 1961.

Beatles Before Brian

Quarrymen

In August 1956: named after his school, John Lennon formed The Quarry Men, The band performed what was known in England as “skiffle” music which was originally an early 20th century American style music.

Beatles Before Brian

Paul the Quarryman

November 11, 1956: Paul McCartney saw skiffle king Lonnie Donegan perform at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre. The concert inspired McCartney to start playing the guitar. Shortly afterwards he traded the trumpet he had received four months previously on his 14th birthday for a guitar.

July 6, 1957: The Quarry Men perform at St. Peter’s Church Garden Fete. John and Paul meet and find that they have similar pop idol interests: “Paul, what kind of music do you like?” asked John. “Well I used to like Lonnie Donnegan but now that skiffle is fading out I love the music of Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochrane, Gene Vincent, Little Richard…” “Hey,” John interrupted, “they’re all the people I’m into.”

October 18, 1957: The Quarry Men performed at the New Clubmoor Hall (Conservative Club), Norris Green, Liverpool. This was Paul McCartney’s first appearance with the group. The line-up for The Quarry Men was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Eric Griffiths, Colin Hanton, and Len Garry. Paul McCartney, suffering from a case of the stage jitters, flubs hisguitar solo on the song “Guitar Boogie”. Upset with his playing, Paul tries to make amends by showing John a song he had written, “I Lost My Little Girl”. John then shows Paul some songs that he has composed. The two start writing songs together from that moment, which marks the birth of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. Pete Shotton, out of the group by this time, had no real musical ability and knew it; he was almost relieved when, during a drunken argument, John Lennon had smashed Pete’s washboard over Pete’s head. That was the end of Pete Shotton’s career as a Quarry Man.

Beatles Before Brian

The Cavern

January 24, 1958: The Quarry Men performed at the Cavern in Liverpool. This was the band’s only performance billed as The Quarry Men at the club. It would three years before the band would turn up again at the Cavern but under their new name as The Beatles.

Beatles Before Brian

George Harrison

February 6, 1958: George Harrison joined Liverpool group The Quarrymen. The group, now featured John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Len Garry, Eric Griffiths and John Lowe.

George Harrison later recalled: “I was very impressed by John, probably more than Paul, or I showed it more. I suppose I was impressed by all the Art College crowd. John was very sarcastic, always trying to put you down, but I either took no notice or gave him the same back, and it worked.”

Beatles Before Brian

Julia

Beatles Before Brian

July 15,1958: John Lennon’s mother, Julia was visiting her sister Mimi’s house where her John was living. Shortly after leaving Mimi’s house, while crossing the road to get to a bus stop, she was struck by a car driven by an off-duty policeman, 24-year-old Eric Clague. Contrary to some reports, Clague was not drunk at the time and he was driving under the 30mph speed limit. He was, however, a learner driver who was unaccompanied. “Julia,” “Mother,” and “My Mummy’s Dead.” are Lennon songs dedicated to or inspired by Julia.

Beat Brothers

In 1959: In early 1959, Tony Sheridan joined Vince Taylor and the Playboys in Hamburg, Germany where they would play. The band would eventually morph into the Beat Brothers with a line-up consisting of Tony Sheridan (vocals/guitar), Ken Packwood (drums), Rick Richards (guitar), Colin Melander (bass), Ian Hines (keyboards) and Jimmy Doyle (drums). Over the years the band’s line-up would continue to see many personnel changes. Some of the most notable inclusions were: Ringo Starr, Roy Young, Rikky Barnes, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best.

Beatles Before Brian

Ringo

In August 1959: Ringo Starr begins drumming for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Ringo would be Rory’s drummer until August 18, 1960.

Beatles Before Brian

The Casbah

August 29, 1959: the opening night of a new social club for teenagers, based in the cellar of a large Victorian house at 8 Hayman’s Green, Liverpool. The club was called The Casbah and run by Mona Best, mother of Pete Best and owner of the house. She had bought it after winning a horse racing bet in the 1954 Epson Derby; it had previously been owned by the West Derby Conservative Club, and had 15 bedrooms and an acre of land.

Mona Best had the idea for opening the club after seeing a television report on the 2i’s Coffee Bar in London’s Soho district. The Casbah was intended as a members-only club for Pete, his younger brother Rory, and their friends.

She charged half a crown for annual membership, and served soft drinks, snacks and cakes. The Casbah also had, unusually for the time, an espresso coffee machine. When there weren’t live performances Mona played records on a small Dansette record player, amplified through a 3″ speaker.

The Les Stewart Quartet, with George Harrison and Ken Brown on guitars, had been booked to perform on the opening night, but they cancelled after Stewart and Brown had an argument: Brown had missed a rehearsal as he had been helping Mona Best decorate the club.

As 300 membership cards had already been sold, Mona Best didn’t want to cause disappointment on the club’s opening night. Harrison suggested the Quarrymen play instead, and so they went round to arrange the booking. At this point their line-up was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ken Brown. They didn’t have a drummer at the time, so they played without one.

John, Paul and George went around to see Mona, who told them they were welcome to play but she was still painting the cellar for the club’s opening the following week. The three boys grabbed paintbrushes and helped her finish it off. John mistook gloss for emulsion – because of his short sight – which took days to dry. Cynthia Powell also helped, and painted a silhouette of her future husband John Lennon on the wall; it can still be seen there today.

Beatles Before Brian

October 31, 1959: Quarry Men auditioned for Carroll Levis Show in Liverpool. During this audition period, the band would change its name from “Quarry Men” to “Johnny and the Moondogs” by November 15. On that day, they lose out for the Carrol Levis finals.

Beatles Before Brian

Audition

November 15, 1959: Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison auditioned for a British talent program called TV Star Search at the Hippodrome Theatre in Lancashire. They had been known as The Quarrymen but for this audition, they took the name “Johnny and the Moondogs.” They played two Buddy Holly songs: “Think It Over” and “It’s So Easy.” They must have been good as they were invited back for the next round of audition the next day.

They returned to Liverpool the same night, having no money to rent a hotel room, and therefore missing out on the next round of auditions.

Beatles Before Brian

Weekend Nerk Twins

April 23 & 24, 1960: the first of only 2 performances ever by The Nerk Twins at the Fox and Hounds pub in Caversham, Berkshire, UK. The Nerk Twins were actually Paul McCartney and John Lennon. From Paul in Anthology: “That spring of 1960, John and I went down to a pub in Reading, The Fox And Hound, run by my cousin Betty Robbins and her husband. We worked behind the bar. It was a lovely experience that came from John and I just hitching off down there. At the end of the week we played in the pub as The Nerk Twins. We even made our own posters.”

Beatles Before Brian

Silver Beatles

May 5, 1960: The Quarry Men became The Silver Beetles.

May 10, 1960: the Silver Beetles auditioned for promoter Larry Parmes at the Blue Angel (formerly known as the Wyvern Social Club) in Liverpool. Vying for the job of backing band for Billy Fury on an upcoming tour, the band was hampered by the fact their drummer, Tommy Moore, arrived late and the band had to use an unfamiliar drummer (Johnny Hutchinson from Cass & The Cassanovas, seen in photo). The Silver Beetles didn’t win the job but Parmes took the absence of their regular drummer into consideration and hired the band to back Johnny Gentle on a tour of Scotland.

Beatles Before Brian

Briefly Silver Beats

May 14, 1960: the Silver Beats (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe, and Tommy Moore) performed at Lathom Hall, Seaforth, Liverpool. They played a few songs during the “interval” to audition for promoter Brian Kelly. This is the only occasion on which the group used the name “Silver Beats”, quickly changing it back to “Silver Beetles”.

May 20, 1960: the Silver Beetles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe, and Tommy Moore) played the first night of a short tour of Scotland backing singer Johnny Gentle, at Alloa Town Hall in Clackmannanshire. They were never billed as The Silver Beetles on the tour; all posters gave the billing as “Johnny Gentle and his group”. Paul McCartney later wrote:

Now we were truly professional, we could do something we had been toying with for a long time, which was to change our names to real showbiz names. I became Paul Ramon, which I thought was suitably exotic. I remember the Scottish girls saying, ‘Is that his real name? That’s great.’ It’s French, Ramon. Ra-mon, that’s how you pronounce it. Stuart became Stuart de Staël after the painter. George became Carl Harrison after Carl Perkins (our big idol, who had written ‘Blue Suede Shoes’). John was Long John. People have since said, ‘Ah, John didn’t change his name, that was very suave.’ Let me tell you: he was Long John. There was none of that ‘he didn’t change his name’: we all changed our names.

So here we were, suddenly with the first of Larry’s untempestuous acts and a tour of Scotland, when I should have been doing my GCE exams. A lot of my parents’ hopes were going up the spout because I was off with these naughty boys who weren’t doing GCEs at all.”

Beatles Before Brian

Pete Best

June 11, 1960: drummer Tommy Moore quit The Beatles and returned to his job of driving a forklift at Garston bottle works. Norman Chapman briefly replaced Moore, but Chapman was called into National Service after only three gigs.

August 6, 1960: The Silver Beetles went to Mona Best’s Casbah Coffee Club where they saw The Blackjacks playing.

The group had Mona’s son Pete Best playing a brand new drum kit. The Blackjacks were on the point of splitting up, so The Beatles suggested to Pete that he join them for their first trip to Hamburg. Best was interested in the proposal, and agreed to audition for them.

August 16, 1960: Pete Best becomes The Silver Beetles’ drummer. The band’s current line-up included John, Paul, George, Pete and Stuart Stutcliffe.

The band traveled to Hamburg, Germany.

Beatles Before Brian

Hamburg

August 17, 1960: arrived very early in the morning but the Indra Club was closed. A manager from a neighboring club found someone to open it up, and the group slept on the red leather seats in the alcoves.

The group played at the club on the same night, but were told they could sleep in a small cinema’s storeroom, which was cold and noisy, being directly behind the screen of the cinema, the Bambi Kino.

McCartney later said, “We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and you could always smell them. The room had been an old storeroom, and there were just concrete walls and nothing else. No heat, no wallpaper, not a lick of paint; and two sets of bunk beds, with not very much covers—Union Jack flags—we were frozen.”[30] Lennon remembered: “We were put in this pigsty. We were living in a toilet, like right next to the ladies’ toilet. We’d go to bed late and be woken up next day by the sound of the cinema show and old German fraus [women] pissing next door.” After having been awoken in this fashion, the group were then obliged to use cold water from the urinals for washing and shaving. They were paid £2.50 each a day, seven days a week, playing from 8:30-9:30, 10 until 11, 11:30-12:30, and finishing the evening playing from one until two o’clock in the morning.

German customers found the group’s name comical, as “Beatles” sounded like “Peedles”, which meant a small boy’s penis.

Beatles Before Brian

Beatles

August 18, 1960: new stage name and first performance as “The Beatles” at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany. Paul McCartney (on discussing performing and other things they learned in Hamburg): “Sex…was one of the first things ’cause we were kids just let off the leash, you know. And then there was like, the amount of music we played — we played — the shear amount of music. Some evenings I think we probably…we played eight hour periods ’cause you’d come on and another band would take an hour and you’d take an hour, so we probably played four hours but we had to stretch it over an eight hour period. And that’s an awful long time, man, to play. I mean even bands now with three or four hours sets is a hell of a long time.”

Beatles Before Brian

Recording

October 15, 1960: in a small Hamburg recording studio, the Akustik, The Beatles (minus Pete Best) and two members of Rory Storm’s Hurricanes (Ringo Starr and Lou “Wally” Walters) recorded a version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime”, which is cut onto a 78-rpm disc. This is the first session that included John, Paul, George, and Ringo together. Two other songs were recorded, but Ringo plays on those without John, Paul, or George. Nine discs are cut, but only one is known to have survived.This was the first time Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr recorded together.

Beatles Before Brian

Cancelled

Beatles Before Brian
Bruno Koschmiderbeat

November 1, 1960: furious that The Beatles had made a verbal agreement to play at rival Peter Eckhorn’s Top Ten Club, Kaiserkeller owner Bruno Koschmider terminated their contract. Despite this, they continued to perform at the club for another three weeks.

An additional reason why Koschmider wanted them out: at 17 years of age, George Harrison was too young to be working in the club. Eckhorn’s statement read: I the undersigned hereby give notice to Mr George Harrison and to Beatles’ Band to leave [the Club] on November 30th, 1960. The notice is given to the above by order of the Public Authorities who have discovered that Mr George Harrison is only 17 (seventeen) years of age.

Beatles Before Brian

George deported

November 20, 1960: German authorities ordered Harrison deported. He stayed up all that night teaching John Lennon his guitar parts, so The Beatles could continue without him.

November 21, 1960: George Harrison deported. From his Anthology: It was a long journey on my own on the train to the Hook of Holland. From there I got the day boat. It seemed to take ages and I didn’t have much money – I was praying I’d have enough. I had to get from Harwich to Liverpool Street Station and then a taxi across to Euston. From there I got a train to Liverpool. I can remember it now: I had an amplifier that I’d bought in Hamburg and a crappy suitcase and things in boxes, paper bags with my clothes in, and a guitar. I had too many things to carry and was standing in the corridor of the train with my belongings around me, and lots of soldiers on the train, drinking. I finally got to Liverpool and took a taxi home – I just about made it. I got home penniless. It took everything I had to get me back.

Beatles Before Brian

Arrested

November 29, 1960: Having been told on 1 November that their contract to perform at his Kaiserkeller club was being terminated by owner Bruno Koschmider, The Beatles began moving their belonging to the attic room above the nearby Top Ten Club. At the time The Beatles were staying in the Bambi-Filmkunsttheater cinema, where the accommodation was basic and sanitary facilities minimal. John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe had already moved out, and Paul McCartney and Pete Best were to follow. George Harrison had already been deported (Nov 21). It was dark as McCartney and Best gathered their belongings in the Bambi Kino. As there were no lights they set lit an object – different accounts mention rags, a wall tapestry, or a condom attached to a nail – in order to see. There was no damage apart from a burn mark on the wall, and the fire eventually extinguished itself on the damp wall. Bruno Koschmider, however, was furious, and told the police that The Beatles had attempted to set fire to the cinema. McCartney and Best were arrested. (see Nov 30)

Beatles Before Brian

John, Paul, Pete deported

November 30, 1960: after being released from St Pauli police station after being held overnight, McCartney and Best went to their new lodgings above the Top Ten Club to get some rest. In the early afternoon, however, they were awoken by heavy banging on the door. Best opened the lock and was greeted by two plain-clothes policemen. They were told to get dressed and were taken by car to Hamburg’s Kriminal police headquarters. The officer in charge told them they were to be deported at midnight.They were taken back on last time to the Top Ten where they were given five minutes to pack up their possessions; Pete Best was forced to leave his drums behind. They were then held in prison before being escorted to the airport in the evening.

They Beatles were not entirely sure why they were being deported, as their limited command of German made it difficult to understand the police procedures. Their request to telephone the British Consul was refused.

December 1, 1960: McCartney and Best arrived at London Airport. They spent their remaining money on a bus to Euston Station and a train ticket to Liverpool. John Lennon stayed behind in Hamburg for a while.

December 10, 1960: John Lennon traveled back to England by train and boat. Stuart Sutcliffe continued stay in Hamburg, , effectively signified the end of his time in The Beatles.

Beatles Before Brian

Back to the Cavern

February 9, 1961: the group makes their first lunchtime debut as The Beatles at the Cavern.

March 21, 1961: their first night-time appearance at the Cavern. The band gets $42.00 per night.

Beatles Before Brian

Back to Hamburg

March 24, 1961: Beatles returned to Hamburg, Germany.

June 22 & 23, 1961: Tony Sheridan and The Beatles do first session recordings for Bert Kaempfert with the following songs: My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean); The Saints (When the Saints Go Marching In); Why; Cry For a Shadow; Ain’t She Sweet;Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby and Nobody’s Child.

July 3, 1961: the Beatles return to England from Hamburg.

Beatles Before Brian

My Bonnie released

Beatles Before Brian

In August 1961: Tony Sheridan and the Beatles or Beat Brothers released “My Bonnie/The Saints (Go Marching In) in Germany.

October 28, 1961: “My Bonnie” is a success in Germany and eventually heard and released in England.

Beatles Before Brian

My Bonnie requested

October 28, 1961:  according to Beatles legend, it was on this day that a fan named Raymond Jones attempted to purchase the single “My Bonnie” from Brian Epstein’s NEMS record store in Liverpool. Brian managed the record shop, which was part of a large department store owned by his father. The legend states that this was the first occasion on which Brian Epstein heard of the single or, indeed, of The Beatles. “Mersey Beat” editor Bill Harry discounts this story as improbable. Harry claims to have discussed The Beatles and other local groups with Epstein well before this date, and he adds that Epstein was already writing record reviews for “Mersey Beat” and selling copies of the paper in his shop. Further, Epstein was selling tickets to Sam Leach’s ‘Operation Big Beat’ concert, and The Beatles’ name was at the top of the list of groups that were scheduled to appear at the November 10 event.

October 30, 1961: two days after Beatles fan Raymond Jones asked for The Beatles’ German single “My Bonnie” (recorded with Tony Sheridan) at Brian Epstein’s NEMS record store, two girls ask for the same record. Brian Epstein begins to search foreign record company import lists to find the single. Since Epstein had already sold at least 12 dozen copies of Liverpool’s “Mersey Beat” magazine (and had written a column for it), it is highly unlikely that he doesn’t already know who The Beatles are. Still, Epstein’s difficulty in locating the record is probably due to his not knowing that the record was released, not by The Beatles, but by Tony Sheridan and ‘The Beat Brothers’ (‘Beatles’ resembles a vulgar slang word in German, so The Beatles’ name was changed for this historic single).

Beatles Before Brian

Brian Epstein listens

November 9, 1961: The Beatles performed at the Cavern Club at lunchtime. That night they appear at Litherland Town Hall, Liverpool (their final performance at that venue).

This is a major day for The Beatles, although they are unaware of it at the time–in the audience at the Cavern Club show is Brian Epstein, dressed in his pin-stripe suit and seeing The Beatles for the first time. Accompanying Epstein is his assistant Alistair Taylor.

Epstein will recall his first impressions in a 1964 interview: “They were fresh and they were honest, and they had:star quality. Whatever that is, they had it, or I sensed that they had it.” Over the next few weeks, Epstein becomes more and more interested in possibly managing The Beatles and he does a lot of research into just exactly what that would entail. When he speaks with the group’s embittered ex-manager Allan Williams, he is told, “Brian, don’t touch ’em with a fucking bargepole.” Nonetheless, Epstein invites The Beatles to a meeting at his record store on December 3.

Beatles Before Brian

Brian manages

December 3, 1961: The Beatles’ first formal meeting with Brian Epstein, where he proposed to them that he become their manager. The Beatles are interested, but they are not ready to make a commitment, so a second meeting is arranged for December 6.

December 6, 1961: The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best) meet with Brian Epstein for further discussions about his proposal to manage them. He wants 25 percent of their gross fees each week, in return for which he will be responsible for arranging their bookings. He promises that their bookings will be better organized, more prestigious, and will expand beyond the Liverpool area. He also promises that they will never again play for less than 15 pounds, except for Cavern lunchtime sessions, for which he will get their fee doubled to ten pounds. Most important of all, he promises to get them out of their recording contract with Bert Kaempfert in Germany, then use his influence to garner them a contract with a major British label. John Lennon, as leader of The Beatles, accepts on their behalf. There is no contract signing at this point, because the standard contracts are so exploitative that Epstein is disgusted by them; he promises The Beatles that he will prepare a fairer document.

December 10, 1961: their first contract was for a five year period. The contract was formally signed at Pete Best’s house on January 24, 1962, with Alistair Taylor as witness, although Brian, himself, didn’t sign it.

When asked why later, Brian answered “Well, if they ever want to tear it up, they can hold me but I can’t hold them.”

Beatles Before Brian

Beatles Before Brian
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Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013

The following timeline is not intended on being a fully complete list of all the major events in Mandela’s life, but hopefully there are enough listed to give the reader a fuller appreciation of Mandela’s heroic life including the advent and end of apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Madiba clan

Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, on 18 July 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and his father was Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, principal counselor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo.

His primary school teacher gave Mandela the Christian name Nelson, as was the custom.

According to the Nelson Mandela dot org site:

He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated.

Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest.

On his return to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni the King was furious and said if he didn’t return to Fort Hare he would arrange wives for him and his cousin Justice. They ran away to Johannesburg instead, arriving there in 1941. There he worked as a mine security officer and after meeting Walter Sisulu, an estate agent, he was introduced to Lazer Sidelsky. He then did his articles through a firm of attorneys – Witkin, Eidelman and Sidelsky.

He completed his BA through the University of South Africa and went back to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

ANC Youth League

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

On April 2, 1944,  Mandela and other activists formed the African National Congress Youth League after becoming disenchanted with the cautious approach of the older members of the African National Congress (The ANC had been formed on January 8, 1912)

The youth league’s formation marked the shift of the congress to a mass movement. But its manifesto, so charged with pan-African nationalism, offended some non-black sympathizers.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Apartheid

In 1948: the National Party took power in South Africa and set out to construct apartheid, a system of strict racial segregation and white domination.

Mandela began studying for an LLB, but he left the university without graduating. He had earned a two-year diploma in law which allowed him and Oliver Tambo, in August 1952, to open South Africa’s first black law practice.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Arrest

December 5, 1956: South African authorities arrested Nelson Mandela at his home and charged him with treason, along with 155 others who had called for a nonracial state in South Africa.

March 21, 1960: police fired on a demonstration in Sharpeville, killing 69 people and wounding 181. After the shooting, the South African government banned black political groups and gatherings and arrested thousands. The African National Congress was among the banned groups. Its members went underground and began to plan a campaign of direct attacks on the apartheid government.

The 1956 Treason Trial ended on March 29, 1961.  Mandela and his co-defendants were acquitted of treason. Fearing he would be arrested again, Mandela went underground.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Umkhonto we Sizwe

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

December 16, 1961: Mandela and other A.N.C. leaders formed a military wing called Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation. Mandela became the first commander in chief of the guerrilla army. He trained to fight, work to obtain weapons for the group, and came to be known as the Black Pimpernel, but he would never see combat.

January 11, 1962, using the adopted name David Motsamayi, Mandela secretly left South Africa. He traveled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962.

August 5, 1962: Mandela was arrested after his returning to South Africa.  He was convicted of leaving the country illegally and ofincitement to strike, and sentenced to five years in prison.

November 6, 1962: the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 1761, which condemned Apartheid in South Africa and called on member-nations to boycott the country. The Resolution also set up a Special Committee against Apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Rivonia Trial

July 11, 1963: police raided a farm in Rivonia, outside Johannesburg, where the African National Congress had set up its headquarters. They find documents outlining the group’s plan for guerrilla warfare. Using the evidence found on the farm, the government charges Mandela and eight co-defendants with sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. The ensuing trial, which became known as the Rivonia trial, established Mandela’s central role in the struggle against apartheid.

October 9, 1963 Mandela joined 10 others on trial for sabotage.

April 20, 1964: Mandela delivered his famous “I am prepared to die” speech while on trial.

[exerpt] “Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing, and not work which the Government declares them to be capable of. We want to be allowed to live where we obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because we were not born there. We want to be allowed and not to be obliged to live in rented houses which we can never call our own. We want to be part of the general population, and not confined to living in our ghettoes. African men want to have their wives and children to live with them where they work, and not to be forced into an unnatural existence in men’s hostels. Our women want to be with their men folk and not to be left permanently widowed in the reserves. We want to be allowed out after eleven o’clock at night and not to be confined to our rooms like little children. We want to be allowed to travel in our own country and to seek work where we want to, where we want to and not where the Labour Bureau tells us to. We want a just share in the whole of South Africa; we want security and a stake in society.

Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy.

But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another. The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs as it certainly must, it will not change that policy.

This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.

During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” [full text]

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Convictions

On June 11 Mandela and seven others [Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni] were convicted and on June 12 they were sentenced to life in prison.

Mandela was sent to Robben Island prison, seven miles off the coast of Cape Town. He would spend the next 18 years there.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Continued protests

August 18, 1964: the International Olympic Committee barred South Africa from participating in the Summer Olympics due to the country’s Apartheid policy. The nation would not be reinstated until 1992.

June 16, 1976: tens of thousands of students take to the streets of Soweto to oppose the use of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in black schools. The police fire on the protesters, setting off months of violence that will leave more than 570 people dead. The uprising is considered a turning point in the history of black resistance to apartheid.

November 9, 1976: The United Nations General Assembly approved 10 resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa.

April 27, 1977: Anti-apartheid riots in Soweto, South Africa.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Steve Biko

August 18, 1977: In South Africa police arrested Steve Biko [headed the Black Consciousness Movement and was the country’s best known political dissident] and Peter Jones at Grahamstown.

August 31, 1977: Ian Smith, espousing racial segregation, won the Rhodesian general election with 80% of overwhelmingly white electorate’s vote.

September 11, 1977: a guard found Steve Biko semiconscious and foaming at the mouth. A doctor ordered him transported to a prison hospital in Pretoria.

September 12, 1977: Steven Biko died while in police custody. Police had driven him naked in a truck 700 miles to Pretoria where he died in a prison cell.

Peter Gabriel released the song Biko in 1980. Its success continued to keep the violence of South Africa’s apartheid system in the minds of many.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Mandela transferred

March 28, 1982: Mandela and four other A.N.C. leaders were transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison in the suburbs of Cape Town. While many believe the move was intended to lessen the influence of the famous prisoners, government officials later say they wanted a way to open a discreet line of communication with the men.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Sun City

In 1985, activist and performer Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker organized a protest against apartheid in South Africa.

Sun City was a place where the South African government had allowed entertainment that was banned in most of the country.

Van Zandt wrote a song called Sun City and invited many recording artists to participate in its recording. Some of those who participated were:  including Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run–D.M.C., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Jackson Browne, Daryl Hannah, Peter Wolf, Bono, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Stiv Bators, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil Scott-Heron, Nona Hendryx, Kashif, Lotti Golden, Lakshminarayana Shankar and Joey Ramone.

They vowed never to perform at Sun City, because to do so would in their minds seem to be an acceptance of apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Bishop Tutu/PW Botha

October 16, 1984: South African activist Bishop Desmond Tutu awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

February 10, 1985: South Africa’s president, P. W. Botha, offered to free Mandela if he renounced violence. Mandela refused, saying the government must first dismantle apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

More killings

March 21, 1985: police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings, killing at least 21 demonstrators.

April 15, 1985: South Africa ended its ban on interracial marriages.

July 20, 1985: P. W. Botha declares a state of emergency in 36 magisterial districts of South Africa amid growing civil unrest in black townships.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

State of Emergency

June 12, 1986: the South African government declared a nationwide state of emergency, granting itself sweeping powers, including authorization for the police to use force against protesters and to impose curfews. The decree bans the promotion of unlawful strikes, boycotts and protests and puts tight restrictions on the press. More than 1,000 activists are detained.

September 7, 1986: Desmond Tutu became the first Black Anglican Church bishop in South Africa.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Reagan veto/override

September 26, 1986: President Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. The law would have imposed sanctions against South Africa and stated five preconditions for lifting the sanctions that would essentially end the system of apartheid.

September 29, 1986: the House of Representatives voted to overrides the President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.

October 2, 1986: the US Senate overrode President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act and the bill became a law.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Free Nelson Mandela Concert

June 11, 1988: the biggest charity rock concert since Live Aid three years earlier took place at London’s Wembley Stadium, to denounce South African apartheid. Among the performers were Sting, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, George Michael, Whitney Houston and Dire Straits. Half the money raised went towards anti-apartheid activities in Britain, the rest was donated to children’s charities in southern Africa.

12 August 1988: Mandela was hospitalized with  tuberculosis. After more than three months in two hospitals he was transferred on December 7, 1988 to the Victor Verster Prison Farm, about 50 miles from Cape Town.

The South African government said he would not have to return to Pollsmoor Prison.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Easing

July 5, 1989: Mandela met informally with Mr. Botha at the presidential office in Cape Town. It is the first publicly acknowledged meeting between Mr. Mandela and a government official outside prison, and leads to speculation that he will soon be released. [NYT article]

August 15, 1989: F. W. de Klerk is sworn in as acting president of South Africa, replacing Mr. Botha. Saying the country is about to enter an era of change, Mr. de Klerk reaffirmed an earlier promise to phase out white rule.

October 15, 1989: the government freed eight of the country’s most prominent political prisoners, including Walter Sisulu, 77, a mentor to Mr. Mandela and his close friend, in a gesture that was widely seen as a trial run for Mandela’s release.

December 13, 1989: South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, at de Klerk’s office in Cape Town.

February 2, 1990: South Africa President F.W. de Klerk  lifted the ban on the A.N.C. and several other political organizations, and lifted many of the restrictions put in place when the state of emergency was declared four years earlier. He promised that Mandela would be released shortly.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Release

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

February 11, 1990: Nelson Mandela, 71, released from Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years behind bars. [NYT article}

June 10, 1990: the Central Intelligence Agency played an important role in the arrest in 1962 of Nelson Mandela. The intelligence service, using an agent inside the African National Congress, provided South African security officials with precise information about Mr. Mandela’s activities that enabled the police to arrest him. The report quoted an unidentified retired official who said that a senior C.I.A. officer told him shortly after Mr. Mandela’s arrest: ”We have turned Mandela over to the South African Security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be.”

August 7, 1990: The A.N.C. announced that it ordered the immediate suspension of its guerrilla campaign against apartheid, which started in the early 1960s. While the war between the A.N.C. and the government had operated on a low level for years, the announcement was significant because it gave de Klerk political ammunition to use against the right-wing opposition to negotiations.

October 15, 1990: South Africa’s Separate Amenities Act, which had barred blacks from public facilities for decades, was scrapped.

June 17, 1991: South Africa repealed the Population Registration Act. Since its passage in 1950, the Act had required every South African to be racially classified at birth. These classifications, in turn, would determined the child’s social and political rights for the rest of his or her life in South Africa.

December 20, 1991: negotiations begin to prepare an interim constitution based on full political equality. de Klerk and Mandela traded recriminations, with de Klerk criticizing Mr. Mandela for not disbanding the A.N.C.’s inactive guerrilla operation and Mandela saying that the president “has very little idea of what democracy is.”

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

More killing

June 17, 1992: a mob descended on the black township of Boipatong, killing more than 40 people with guns, knives and axes. The A.N.C. contended that Zulu men and white police officers were responsible for the violence. (see June 23). The two sides do not return to negotiations until September.

June 23, 1992: the African National Congress announced that it was withdrawing from talks on the political future of South Africa until the white-controlled Government took steps to restore the trust shattered by the Boipatong massacre. The 90-member executive committee of the congress led by Nelson Mandela said it was halting the peace process, which seemed just a month ago to have brought South Africa to the brink of majority rule, because of what it called a systematic Government campaign to subvert democracy through violence.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Paul Simon

January 11, 1992: Paul Simon was the first major artist to tour South Africa after the end of the cultural boycott. [NYT article]

April 10. 1993: Chris Hani, a popular black leader of the South African Communist Party, was shot and killed by a white man. At least seven people were killed in clashes over the following days. Mandela appeared on national television and called for calm, urging a stronger commitment to negotiations, a contrast to the A.N.C.’s confrontational reaction to the massacre in Boipatong the year before.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Nobel Peace Prize

October 15, 1993: Mandela and FW de Klerk share the Nobel Peace Prize. The two men accept the award with the strained grace that characterized their relationship, and Mandela declined to repeat his much-quoted assessment of Mr. de Klerk as a man of integrity.

January 3, 1994: more than 7 million people received South African citizenship that had previously been denied under Apartheid policies.

April 27, 1994: general voting opened in the first election in South African history that included black participation. Despite months of violence leading up to the vote, not a single person was reported killed in election-related violence. When the voting concluded on April 29, the A.N.C. had won more than 62 percent of the vote, earning 252 of the 400 seats in Parliament’s National Assembly. Voters choes Mandela as president without opposition.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Presidency

May 10, 1994:  Mandela sworn in as president of South Africa, making a speech of shared patriotism that summons South Africans’ communal exhilaration in their land and their relief at being freed from the world’s disapproval.

June 24, 1995:  South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks, won the World Cup final. The team had been banned from international competition until 1992, and was long seen as a symbol of oppression by many black South Africans. Mr. Mandela’s call for blacks to support the team is hailed as a masterly move toward racial reconciliation. He congratulated the team while wearing a green Springboks jersey, in a stadium full of cheering white rugby fans.

November 1, 1995: South Africans voted in their first all-race local government elections, completing the destruction of the apartheid system.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Recriminations

October 30, 1996: saying many of Eugene de Kock’s actions had been cruel, calculated and without any sympathy for the victims Judge Willem van der Merwe sentenced the former head of a South African police assassination squad to two life sentences and more than 200 years in jail. (see below, January 30, 2015)

December 10, 1996: Mandela signed into law a new democratic constitution, completing the country’s transition from white-minority rule to a non-racial democracy.

January 28, 1997: four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Peaceful transfer

June 16, 1999: Thabo Mbeki inaugurated as Mandela’s successor as president of South Africa after another electoral victory for the A.N.C. After five years with Mr. Mandela at the helm, the country still faced serious problems of poverty and crime, but it had made the transition to democracy while maintaining widespread respect for the law and avoiding political revenge killings.

June 1, 2004: Mandela says he would severely reduce his public activities so he could spend his remaining years resting and writing. A month shy of 86, he was increasingly frail and had trouble walking.

December 8, 2012: Mandela was hospitalized for nearly 19 days, being treated for pneumonia and having an operation for gallstones.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Mandela’s death

December 5, 2013: Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died. He was 95. [NYT editorial]

January 30, 2015:  the South African government granted parole to Eugene de Kock, a death squad leader for the apartheid state, after two decades in jail. “In the interest of nation building and reconciliation, I have decided to place Mr. de Kock on parole,” said Justice Minister Michael Masutha.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a non-profit organization continues  to promote Mandela’s vision of freedom and equality for all.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela
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