Today in History: April 16th


On 16 April, 1883 was elected President of the Transvaal State

After the abolition of the triumvirate, consisting of Vice-President Paul Kruger, Commander-General Piet Joubert and W.M. Pretorius, Kruger was elected president of the Transvaal State (the new name of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek after the signing of the Pretoria Convention on 3 August 1881) for the first time.

He won the election against Joubert with 3 471 votes to 1 171.

Kruger was sworn in on 9 May 1883 as state president and announced a policy based on Christian principles.

The election took place after a prolonged liberation struggle waged by the Boer republic against the British in the 19th century.
The struggle can be traced back to 12 April 1877, when Theophilus Shepstone, despite Boer protests, hoisted the Union Jack on Church Square in Pretoria and annexed the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR or Transvaal Republic) as a British colony.

In 1880 the Afrikaners launched a war of independence which was known as the First Anglo-Boer War or First South African War. On 27 February 1881, they gained a convincing victory over the British at the Battle of Majuba Hill and the republic regained its partial independence soon afterwards as the Transvaal State.

Kruger was re-elected for three more five year terms.

Today, some political parties and their supporters want the statue of Kruger at Church Square in Pretoria removed. This as they feel it symbolises apartheid.


Paul Kruger. Photo by:

Paul Kruger. Photo by:

Statue of Paul Kruger at Church Square in Pretoria. Photo by:

Compiled by: Sellwane Khakhau