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.