Today in History

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Events of this day in the South African history/Twitter

1999    J.M Coetzee wins the Booker Prize

John Maxwell Coetzee is a well-known South African author. After completing a degree in English and Mathematics, he went on to complete a PhD in English, Linguistics and German languages. In 1968, he became an assistant professor of English at New York State University. A year later he began to write fiction, with his first book, Dusklands, being published in 1974. Following three other publications, one of which won Britain’s Booker Prize, Coetzee taught extensively in the United States, while also holding a number of prominent positions at the University of Cape Town. On 25 October 1999, Coetzee won the Booker Prize a second time for his novel Disgrace (1999). In 2003, he was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Coetzee, who has also been involved in Dutch and Afrikaans literature translation, currently lives in Australia and holds an honorary position at Adelaide University. He has been praised for his contribution to literature due to the richness of variety in his work, his analytical brilliance, and his frequent portrayal of the devastation caused by the injustices of the former regime in South Africa.

J.M Coetzee/sahistory.org
J.M Coetzee/sahistory.org

1993    South Africa is invited to rejoin Commonwealth of Nations

On 25 October 1993, South Africa was invited to rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations with effect from January 1994. The move came after prolonged promising talks on constitutional reform between the government, African National Congress (ANC) and other key liberation movements. South Africa withdrew its membership from the Commonwealth in 1961 after it declared itself a Republic under the leadership of Prime Minister H.F Verwoerd. The country’s move followed a storm of criticism for its racial policies by Commonwealth members.

The invitation came at a time when South Africans and the world alike were beginning to see positive changes as the country was moving towards holding its first all-inclusive general election in April 1994.

 

 

Common Wealth logo/sahistory.org
Common Wealth logo/sahistory.org

1988   The Board of Censors prohibits the screening of the controversial film on the life of Christ, The Last Temptation of Christ

The last temptation of Christ is a 1988 film directed by Martin Scorsese.The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis.The film depicts Jesus as a mere mortal as opposed to the divine rendition of him found in the Bible. In the film he admits to making mistakes and struggles with temptations. He experiences negative emotions including depression and doubt, and marries Mary Magdalene.

The movie caused an outrage worldwide and was banned in some countries, including South Africa. The Board of Censors prohibited the screening of the movie on 25 October 1988. The movie is still banned in countries like Chile, Singapore and the Philippines.

The last temptation of Christ film cover/www.imdb.com/sahistory.org
The last temptation of Christ film cover/www.imdb.com/sahistory.org

1988     SOSCO and Azanian Co-ordinating Committee are restrticted by Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok.

The Soweto Students’ Congress (SOSCO), a United Democratic Front (UDF) affiliate, and the Azanian Co-ordinating Committee were restricted in terms of Regulation 7(1) of Proclamation R97, an emergency regulation published on 10 June 1988. Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok issued a notice in the Government Gazette prohibiting the two organisations from carrying on or performing any acts whatsoever. According to newspaper reports the following day, the minister said that SOSCO had been responsible for the planning and execution of several school and rent boycotts since its inception in 1985. The minister also claimed that ‘SOSCO even considered murdering South African Police members to obtain firearms’.

1987    IFP declares attacks on UDF self defence

Mr Velaphi Ndlovu, an IFP parliamentarian in the KwaZulu homeland claims that attacks by Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) men on United Democratic Front (UDF) family members were self-defence. This was despite the fact that they were not party to any attack against the IFP. Close to 150 people had been killed in this war that started shortly after the emergence of the UDF as a front for the African National Congress. The IFP saw the emergences of the popular UDF as a threat to its stronghold and control of rural Kwazulu. To make matters tense both organisations were on a recruitment drive to expand their membership to areas formally not under their control. However, the position of the IFP was threatened because the area of Pietermaritzburg was outside the unpopular Kwazulu homeland. As a result, chiefs in the area were less inclined to join the IFP and the Inkatha supporting chiefs were also not capable to influence their followers to join the IFP. The intense recruitment drive and suspicion between the IFP and UDF camps led to sporadic attacks against each other.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)/sahistory.org
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)/sahistory.org

1919    South African Aerial Transports services are inaugurated

Air services were inaugurated in South Africa with the amalgamation of a London-based company, the South African Aerial Navigation Company and the SA-based South African Aerial Transports Ltd company, under the name of the latter. The headquarters of the service was at Barangwanath airport, near Johannesburg. The company aimed to convince the public of the feasibility and safety of commercial aviation and to secure a Government subsidy.

However, it was only in 1929 that a government subsidy was secured. That enabled Maj. Allister Miller, since 1919 the driving-force behind SA aviation, to start the first official commercial air services under the name of Union Airways Company (Pty.) Ltd, introducing a regular service between Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Aerial view of Johannesburg/sahistory.org
Aerial view of Johannesburg/sahistory.org

Source: sahistory.org

Compiled By: REFILWE GAESWE