Today in History: 20th February


Historical Events:

• 1832: Charles Darwin visits Fernando Noronha in Atlantic Ocean.
• 1981: Prime Minister P.W. Botha announces Ciskei will become independent on 4 December 1981.
• 1937: The Totius festival reaches a climax as 2 500 people gather in the Bloemfontein City Hall.
• 1946: A Day of Prayer, called by NIC, is observed very widely. Indian businesses are closed at 1 pm, and many Indians take a resistance pledge.
• 1965: Ranger 8 makes hard landing on the Moon, returns photos, other data.
• 1975: Margaret Thatcher elected leader of British Conservative Party.
• 1999: A former president of the Eastern Cape Agricultural Union, Fred Pettit, is stabbed to death in his house near Queenstown.

Arts, Music, TV:

• 1984: SA poet Sydney Vernon Peterson dies.
• 1925: Justin Alexander (Alex) La Guma, SA novelist, short story writer and political activist, is born in Cape Town.
• 1960: Jimi Hendrix, rock and roll guitarist, plays his first gig.
• 1965: Beatles record "That Means a Lot".
• 1987: David Hartman quits ABC’s "Good Morning America" after 11 years.
• 2005: Dalene Matthee (66), laurelled Afrikaans writer, dies of heart failure in a hospital in Mossel Bay. Her best-known book, Kringe in ‘n bos (Circles in a forest), has been translated into at least 15 languages.


• 1970: The Springbok rugby team receives the State President Sports Award.
• 1971: Joost Van Der Westhuizen, Springbok rugby scrum-half and captain, is born
• 1976: Muhammad Ali KOs Jan Pierre Coopman in 5 for heavyweight boxing title.
• 1977: Judy Rankin wins LPGA Orange Blossom Golf Classic.
• 1986: Mike Tyson sexually harasses a woman in Albany, NY.
• 1989: Members of 1949 Oklahoma football team cancelled an April reunion because of deplorable conduct of Oklahoma players.

Source: &
Compiled by: Thandi Xaba