Today in History: 21st March


Historical Event:

• 1900: Anglo-Boer War 2 Poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling, summoned from Cape Town by Lord Roberts, arrives in Bloemfontein to join the editorial staff of The Friend.
• 1901: A British missionary, Canon Farmer, accuses Gen. Smuts of having committed an atrocity against members of his flock at Modderfontein at the end of January 1901.
• 1960: In Sharpeville sixty-nine Blacks are shot and 152 wounded by police during a demonstration. (The official report of the Commission appointed by the government to investigate the happenings states that sixty-nine people were killed and about 180 wounded). On the same day two or three protestors are killed and twenty-seven injured in Langa, Western Cape.
• 1903: John Beaver Marks, teacher, trade unionist and political activist, who identified himself as an African though he was of Coloured descent, and who was a staunch member of the SACP and ANC, is born in Ventersdorp, Transvaal.
• 1924: African Explosives and Chemical Industries (AECI) is founded.
• 1964: The 1964-65 Budget provides for R210m on defence, an increase of R52m over the previous year. The Minister of Defence, Dr. Donges, admits it is a large increase but is confident the House will furnish ‘the wherewithal to discourage foreign aggression’.
• 1973: The banning orders on NUSAS leaders are discussed by the Principals of four English language universities with the Prime Minister, who is unsympathetic. Extra-Parliamentary action to bring about change in the form of government in South Africa will not be tolerated.

Arts, Music, TV:

• 1980 – Gideon Fagan, SA composer and conductor, dies.
• 1999 – Emile Serfontein, SA actor, is killed in a road accident near Oudtshoorn.
• Apple iPad’s retina display is actually manufactured by Samsung.
• Smoking near Apple computers voids the warranty.
• Apple has over 80,000 employees around the world.
• Apple earns US$300,000 per minute.


• The average life span of an MLB baseball is five to seven pitches.
• Kite flying is a professional sport in Thailand.
• The Olympic rings cover every flag in the world. Yellow, green, red, black, and blue were selected because at least one of those five colors appears in every flag in the world.
• The longest tennis match took place in 2010 at Wimbledon. John Isner of the United States beat Nicolas Mahut of France in a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes. It took 3 days to complete!

Source: & &
Compiled by: Thandi Xaba