South African History Today – April 4


As the sun paints the South African sky on April 4, the whispers of the past echo in the air. Like many threads woven into the nation’s vibrant tapestry, this date holds stories waiting to be unearthed. We embark on a journey of exploration, delving into the triumphs, tragedies, and turning points that mark April 4 in South Africa’s history.

April 4

2012: “Maberete” strike ends more than a decade of labour broking at the South African Post Office

In 2012, labour broker workers employed through South African Post Office reached an agreement with management to be employed directly. At its peak, around 8,000 labour broker workers were earning a quarter of the salary of SAPO’s permanent employees. By forming a group known as the “Mabarete”, they were able to bring postal delivery to a halt and intimidate a SAPO manager into negotiating with them. This approach was effective, and the workers were made permanent.

  South African History Today - March 22

2004: Gito Baloi of Tananas fame is killed

Musician Gito Baloi was shot dead on 4 April 2004, during a hijacking on his way home from a concert. Gito Baloi was born in Mozambique on 30 September 1964. He gained fame as a bass guitarist and vocalist of the South African band Tananas. In his lifetime he released four solo albums, namely Ekhaya (1995), Naku rhandza (1997), herbs and seeds (2001) and Beyond released in 2008, four years after his death. During his career, he had collaborations with Mzwakhe Mbuli and Nico Carstens amongst others. The Gito Baloi Memorial Trust has been set up for his children and all proceeds from his posthumous album will go into it.

1989: South African government threatens to pull out of the UN peace plan for Namibia

In 1988, the South African government agreed to give up control of Namibia under a UN brokered peace initiative. The South African government threatened to pull out of the UN peace plan for Namibia unless action was taken against SWAPO fighting near the northern border. Namibia gained independence on 21 March 1990.

  South African History Today - March 28

1988: SADF Gaborone raid kills 4

In what was believed to be a raid on African National Congress (ANC) members who were in hiding in Gaborone, Botswana, the South Africa Defence Force (SADF) killed four innocent people.

1980: ANC attack on Booysens Police Station

African National Congress (ANC) insurgents launched a rifle, rocket and grenade attack on Booysens Police Station Johannesburg. Pamphlets were scattered demanding the release of Walter Sisulu from Robben Island. In 2000, the Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) granted amnesty for the attack to Siphiwe Nyanda, Solly Zacharia Shoke and Malekolle Johannes Rasegatla, all members of the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

  South African History Today - February 13

1939: Hugh Masekela is born

Hugh Ramopolo Masekela was a South African musician born on April 4, 1939 in Witbank, South Africa. He started playing the piano at a young age but was introduced to the trumpet by Father Trevor Huddleston. Masekela later became a renowned trumpet player and played in the Huddleston Jazz Band. He went into exile in 1961 and studied music in London and New York. Masekela composed and recorded many new songs while in New York, including his 1968 number one hit “Grazing in the Grass”. He won a Grammy for “Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Instrumental” that same year. Masekela returned to South Africa in the early 1990s and continues to produce music and perform extensive tours around the world. Today, he remains one of South Africa’s most celebrated musicians.

1902: Anglo-Boer War 2 – The siege of Okiep, in Namaqualand, starts

In the final stages of the South African War, the British had superior military power and used ‘scorched earth’ tactics to confine Boer resistance to sporadic guerrilla campaigns. A British relief column eventually relieved the mining town of Okiep after General Smuts led a commando to lay siege to it. The majority of refugees fled to Port Nolloth, and the British had issued siege notes in preparation for a protracted siege.

1875: Explorer Karl Gottlieb Mauch dies

Karl Gottlieb Mauch, a German explorer, is said to have discovered gold in South Africa. He made important geological and archaeological discoveries in southern Africa, including the Hartley Hills gold fields and the ruins of the ancient city of Zimbabwe. Upon his return to South Africa, he claimed to have found a vast ancient gold field, but he never found any payable deposits from his prospects and died in poverty in Stuttgart, Germany.


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