On this day in history: 08 February


Tuesday, 08 February 1881

During the Anglo-Boer War 1 –  also called Transvaal War of Independence or Anglo-Transvaal War – a Boer force of about 200 (under General Nicolaas Smit) defeated a British force of about 600 (under the leadership of Major-General George Pomeroy Colley) at the Battle of Ingogo Heights, near Schuinshoogte. The fierce battle lasted the whole afternoon amid a heavy thunderstorm. When night fell, Colley withdrew under the protection of darkness. The battle claimed the lives of 8 Boers and nearly 100 British soldiers.

Friday, February 08, 1884

Cetewayo (Cetshwayo), a cousin of Shaka and the last king of independent Zululand, died in Eshowe.

Wednesday, February 08, 1860

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius was elected president of the Orange Free State.

Thursday, 07 February 1901

Britain sent 30 000 additional troops to South Africa in the Anglo-Boer War (now called the South African War). Initially, the British government thought that the war would last only weeks. This was largely because they underestimated the resilience of the Boers to defend their autonomy from being usurped by the British government. Instead of lasting for a few weeks the war dragged on for four years.

Thursday, 08 February 1906

Natal in the early years of the 20th century became the site of conflict between Colonial Administrators and autonomous African chiefdoms. The death of Cetshwayo in Eshowe in 1884, the last of the independent Zulu kings left the task of resistance to colonial rule to be pursued by minor chiefs. By 1906, one of the most formidable of these chiefs, Bambatha, resisted colonial measures imposing a poll tax on his subjects in addition to the hut tax. This led to first a standoff between him and the colonial officials. Bambatha was determined to resist the 1 pound poll tax imposed by the colonial government. The outcome of the Bambatha rebellion has gone down in history as the last of the primary resistance movements that were superseded by the establishment of the African National Congress in 1912. Bambatha is still regarded as a hero in the literature on resistance too colonial rule.

Tuesday, February 08, 1921

Gen. J.C. Smuts was elected as premier in the fourth general election of the Union of South Africa. Burne: Chronicle of the World.

Wednesday, 7 February 1962

African National Congress (ANC) leaders, Walter Sisulu and Duma Nokwe went from house to house in Orlando, Soweto near Johannesburg rallying support amongst community members against the government’s Bantu Urban Councils Act. The Bantu Urban Councils Act, Act No 79 of 1961 created black councils in urban areas that were linked to authorities in the homelands.

The secret activity by Sisulu and Nokwe was conducted at a very difficult time in the history of the ANC as it was banned along with other liberation movements like Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), South African Communist Party (SACP) and others. These liberation movements, banned under the Unlawful Organisations Act in April 1960, were forced to conduct their political activities underground.

Friday, 7 February 1969

Prime Minister BJ Vorster announced that white entrepreneurs would be given long-standing contracts in the ‘homelands’ to speed up economic development. This effectively further disadvantaged the many already disenfranchised blacks who had their South African citizenship canceled by actively encouraging economic exploitation of them, based on their race and their need for work while restricted to a labour pool ‘homeland’.

Friday, 7 February 1986

Dr. Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, a staunch opponent of ‘separate development’ (Apartheid) and leader of the opposition Progressive Federal Party (PFP), resigned as leader of the PFP and as an MP. In his dramatic announcement, he stated that he came to the conclusion that Parliament was incapable of bringing about the desired reforms. Slabbert came from an Afrikaner family and studied sociology at the University of Stellenbosch. He published a book, The Last White Parliament, after his resignation. In the book, he explained his reasons for resigning and his predictions for South Africa. In 2002, then President Thabo Mbeki appointed him to head a team investigating a new electoral system for South Africa. Slabbert passed away on 14 May 2010.

Wednesday, 7 February 1990

The Transkei leader, Gen. Bantu Holomisa, announced the unbanning of the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan African Congress (PAC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO), the Marxist Front, COSATU and the Azanian Liberation Movement. The unbanning allowed all political organizations to resume their political activities in Transkei. In the same speech, Holomisa announced the release of Ndibulele Ndzamela, Phumzile Mayaphi, Teko Mokhou, Tandisile Jada, Mcebisi Waqu and Sindiso Sigcu, all of them political prisoners.

Monday, 7 February 2005

On 7 February 2005, reports were issued of the use of fake versions of the then new South African banknotes. These came hardly a week after the latest currency was released by the Reserve Bank. The central bank introduced at that time, a series of new R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 notes. The decision was made in accordance with international banking practice, which calls for a new design of banknotes every six to eight years as a measure to try and curb counterfeit notes and to upgrade security features. Unlike the genuine article, the fake note did not have a shimmering gold band visible on the back when the note was tilted or color-changing ink on the rand number value at the right-hand bottom of the note. There was also no watermark (shadow picture of an animal) embedded on the front left-hand side of the note when it was held up to the light.

All information taken from http://www.sahistory.org.za/this_day/05/02