South African History Today – February 28


South Africa has a rich and diverse history that can be traced back to ancient times. February 28 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.

March 12

1998: Bafana Bafana lose to Egypt in the African Cup of Nations final

South Africa’s football team, Bafana Bafana, lost 2-0 to Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations final in Burkina Faso. The match was played in front of 50,000 spectators in Ouagadougou. Despite the defeat, South Africa won a silver medal, finishing as runners-up in the competition for the second time.

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1992: South Africa signs diplomatic relations with Russia

A few days after signing diplomatic agreements with Bulgaria, South African Foreign Minister Roelof “Pik” Botha signed an agreement with his Russian counterpart, Andrei Kozyrev, to establish full diplomatic relations between the two countries. The move was criticised by the South African Communist Party (SACP).

1985: UDF members challenge the government to arrest them on charges of high treason

Boesak and his colleagues founded the UDF in August 1983. The UDF became an umbrella organization for about two million white, mixed-race, and black South Africans. It was the largest and most powerful legal opposition force in South Africa and had similar goals to the then-banned ANC.

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1980: Reverend David Russell sentenced for defying his banning order

Religious leaders who opposed the Apartheid regime, such as Reverend David Russell, faced consequences for their actions. Russell was sentenced to three and a half years in prison (with two and a half years suspended) after defying a banning order in 1980. He had attended an Anglican Church synod which went against his banning order. He was released on bail pending the outcome of an appeal.

1980: Makhwenkwe Harrison Butshingi dies

Makhwenkwe Harrison Butshingi died in 1980 in Orlando West, Soweto. He was an insurance agent who later became involved in worker’s unions. Butshingi was also President of the South African Cricket Board and a community leader.

1956: Separate Representation of Coloured Voters Act is passed

The Separate Representation of Coloured Voters Bill was passed after enlarging the Senate and the Appellate Court. It removed Coloured voters from the common voters roll in the Cape and placed them on a separate roll. The Cape was divided into four electoral divisions and the Coloureds received the right to elect one White representative for each of these constituencies. The government achieved its aim after a long and bitter struggle lasting six years.

1922: The Rand Mine Workers Revolt intensifies

The Rand mineworker revolt intensifies when 3 mineworkers are shot and killed outside the prison in Boksburg. Read our features on the Rand Rebellion.

1900: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller’s troops relieve British forces at Ladysmith

In November 1899, General Sir Redvers Henry Buller’s troops relieved British forces at Ladysmith near Durban, KwaZulu Natal, who had been under siege by the Boers almost a month after the outbreak of the Second South African War. At the end of the war, the two parties signed the peace treaty of Vereeniging at Melrose House in Pretoria.

1900: Lord Kitchener And Louis Botha engage in doomed peace talks during the Second Anglo-Boer War

On February 28 British commander Lord Kitchener met Boer commander Louis Botha at Middelburg. The talks ultimately came to nothing, resulting in Kitchener changing his military tactics and setting up barbed wire and block houses all over the Boer Republic, in order to combat the Boer fighters guerilla tactics.

1900: British reinforcements arrive at Ladysmith

British reinforcements arrive to relieve troops stationed at Ladysmith after a siege of 4 months, during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Ladysmith was not the only town to be under Boer siege. Towns like Mafikeng, and Kimberley were besieged for equally long periods.

1706: Adam Tas is arrested

Adam Tas was arrested for his role in drawing up a petition against Governor Van der Stel and other officials, submitted to the VOC in Amsterdam. The petition protested against corruption and abuse of power, leading to unfair competition with burghers. The petition led to a ban on officials owning land or trading.


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