Today in History

Events of this day in the South African history/Twitter

1988   Mother Teresa arrives in SA to establish a missionary home for HIV/AIDS sufferers

Mother Teresa was born in Albania and at a young age felt compelled to care for the sick and poor. When she was eighteen years old, she left home and joined the Loreto sisters, an Irish community of nuns, working in India. After teaching at St. Mary’s High School, she left the mission to work in the slums of Calcutta.

In 1950, she received permission from the Holy See to establish her own order, called the Missionaries of Charity. The aim of the order was to care for orphans and to establish homes for people suffering from leprosy, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The Missionaries of Charity began to expand, with missions being established world-wide.

In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1980, she received the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honor in India for her humanitarian work. On 7 November 1988, Mother Teresa visited South Africa for the first time. She founded a mission of the order in Khayelitsha, which was to serve as a home for HIV/AIDS sufferers.

At present, the Missionaries of Charity operates in 120 countries, with 600 missions.

Mother Teresa/
Mother Teresa/

1917   Helen Suzman is born

Politician and Anti-Apartheid activist, Helen Suzman ,was born in Germiston, South Africa. During her 36 years in Parliament she defended the right to freedom of expression for all South Africans; with great courage she used every opportunity to speak out against discriminatory legislation. She entered politics when she represented the United Party (UP) in Parliament in 1953.

Six years later she founded the Progressive Party (PP) and became its sole representative in Parliament. As a Member of Parliament she was able to visit prisons, among them Robben Island, where she inspected the living conditions of prisoners. She visited former President Nelson Mandela several times at Robben Island. When Nelson Mandela signed the new constitution in 1996, Suzman was alongside him.

In the course of her career the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard have awarded her honorary doctorates. Her struggle against apartheid won her the United Nations Human Rights Award in 1978 and in 1980, the Medallion of Heroism. The Helen Suzman Foundation was been established to promote liberal democracy in South Africa.

Helen Suzman/
Helen Suzman/