South African History Today – April 7


South Africa has a rich and diverse history that can be traced back to ancient times. April 7 stands as another thread woven into this remarkable tapestry. Let us explore the layers of South African history, delving into the past and unravelling the narratives that left their mark on this extraordinary land.

April 7

2011: World Health Day

World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year, commemorating the formation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1945. The purpose is to create awareness about health care and working conditions and equip health practitioners to provide better health services. In 2009, the focus is on emergency health care and the safety of health workers who treat emergency patients. The WHO aims to increase investments in health infrastructure that can withstand hazards. Recently, training sessions were conducted globally, including in South Africa, to equip health workers to deal with emergency situations effectively.

  South African History Today - April 8

1997: The ANC leader in the KwaZulu Natal midlands, Sifiso Nkabinde, is expelled from the ANC

Sifiso Nkabinde was expelled on the 7 April 1997 for allegedly being a spy for the Apartheid regime and for fomenting violence between African National Congress (ANC) members and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members in KwaZulu Natal. After his expulsion from the ANC, Nkabinde joined the United Democratic Movement (UDM). Nkabinde had previously refused to heed calls by the ANC to disband self-defence units. He was also accused of starting a low-level war that left 120 people in the Richmond area dead. In January 1999, Nkabinde was assassinated. Two men, Simphiwe Shabane, and Anil Jelal were implicated in this act and are serving or have served jail time.

1992: Djibouti and Cote d’ Ivore strengthen diplomatic ties with South Africa

Following a visit to Nigeria by the state president, F.W. de Klerk, and his foreign minister, Roelof “Pik” Botha, a number of other African countries announced their willingness to improve their diplomatic relations with South Africa. Djibouti lifted all trade and travel restrictions it had imposed on South Africa, while Cote d’Ivore announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations, making it the second African country after Malawi to exchange ambassadors.

  South African History Today - April 4

1988: South African Lawyer and African National Congress (ANC) member, Albie Sachs is seriously wounded by a car bomb in Maputo

A prominent white South African lawyer and African National Congress (ANC) member, Albie Sachs, is seriously wounded by a car bomb in Maputo. The ANC and Mozambique government blamed South Africa for the attack, which was subsequently covered in the Truth and Reconciliation hearings.

1902: Cecil John Rhodes is buried in the Matopos

Empire-builder and former prime minister of the Cape Colony, Cecil John Rhodes, was buried in the Matopo Hills, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Rhodes visited England in 1901. He was already ill on his return to Cape Town in the early months of 1902 and died soon afterwards at his seaside cottage in Muizenberg, Cape Town. In his will, he asked to be buried on the ‘View of the World’ hill in the Matobo district, Matabeleland. The bulk of his vast fortune was left to the public service, but he also provided for the education of young British colonists through the creation of a yearly scholarship, still in existence today. His immense estates in Rhodesia were left to the people of the territory, to be cultivated for their benefit. He left his home in Groote Schuur as a residence for the prime minister of a united South Africa.

  South African History Today - April 6

1886: Jan Carel Juta, father of the publishing industry in South Africa, dies at 52 in Chiswick, London

Jan Carel Juta was a South African business man born in Holland in 1824. He sailed to the Cape in South Africa in 1853 where he soon established the company that has come to be known as the father of all publishing companies – JC Juta &Co. The Juta Company won the right to supply reference books to the University of the Cape of Good Hope in the 1850’s. The company is still a leader in the publication of education materials and textbooks to this day. Juta died on 7 (some sources claim 8)April 1886 in Chiswick, London. He was married to philosopher, Karl Marx’s sister Louise and they had seven children.

1884: Charlotte Maxeke is born

Charlotte Maxeke was born on April 7, 1847, in Fort Beaufort in Cape Town. From a young age, Maxeke showed musical talent. She finished primary school early, and her parents moved to Kimberly, where Maxeke completed her secondary school. It was at this time that she took part in musical activities. She joined a choir, and traveled throughout Europe, performing. One of the highlights was the 1897 Jubilee at the London Royal Albert Hall, where she performed for the Queen. Maxeke then travelled to the US on a church scholarship, where she obtained her doctorate in arts and humanities. She met her husband, Marshall Maxeke, during her stay in the US. Upon her return to South Africa, Maxeke took up teaching and also took part in political activities in the African National Congress (ANC). She co-founded the Bantu Women’s League of South Africa, later renamed the ANC Women’s League. Maxeke died on October 16, 1939. Johannesburg Hospital has been renamed the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in honor of her contribution to the freedom struggle.

1854: Adoption of the Orange Free State constitution

The Orange Free State Constitution was adopted on April 7, 1854, three weeks after the renunciation of British sovereignty. Initially, the Boers (Voortrekkers) who came from the Cape Colony in the Great Trek settled just north of the Orange River, which formed the border between the Cape Colony and the rest of South Africa. The Boers declared the area the Orange Free State, a Boer republic, in 1853. The Orange Free State was recognised as an independent territory under the Bloemfontein Convention in 1854. The convention guaranteed the independence of the territory between the Orange and Vaal Rivers. In the course of the Second Boer War (1988–1902), the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), also known as the Transvaal Republic, were engaged in a war against the British. The war ended in 1902 when the Boers lost the war. Consequently, the Orange Free State was annexed as the Orange River Colony and was later incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910. Its name became the Orange Free State once more, and after South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994, the Orange Free State became a South African province, and the name was changed to Free State.


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