Africa's greatest soccer star – On this day, May 23

He set the world alight in the colours of Portugal, but he was, in fact, Africa's best ever soccer player. Picture: Reuters

He set the world alight in the colours of Portugal, but he was, in fact, Africa's best ever soccer player. Picture: Reuters

Published May 23, 2023


Straight out of Africa – global soccer superstar; marathon runners freeze to death; pirate hanged twice; justice for wife buried in cement, and; earliest brewers

1699 Sheikh Yusuf, 73, Islamic leader and banished brother of the sultan of Macassar, dies at Zandvliet in the Cape. He is regarded as the founder of the Islamic faith in the province.

1701 Convicted of piracy and murder, Captain William Kidd – whose fabled treasure is said to lie off Madagascar – is hanged in London. He was hanged twice. On the first attempt, the hangman’s rope broke. Although some in the crowd called for Kidd’s release, claiming the breaking of the rope was a sign from God, Kidd was hanged again minutes later. His body was gibbeted over the River Thames at Tilbury Point – as a warning – for three years.

1785 Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocal spectacles.

1842 The Battle of Congella starts. In an attempt to throw the Boers out Port Natal, British Captain Charlton Smith leads a night attack against Andries Pretorius’s Boers. It’s a disaster. Smith has to retreat, leaving 16 men dead and 31 men. They retreat to what is today Durban’s Old Fort and are besieged for the next four weeks, during which time Dick King makes his famous break-neck dash on horseback to Grahamstown to summon help.

1844 The Báb (Sayyed ʻAlí Muhammad Shírází) says he is a prophet and founds a religious movement – the beginning of the Bahá’i faith.

1853 Buenos Aires gains independence, albeit short-lived, from Argentina.

1892 Johannesburg gold digger FB Deeming is hanged in Australia for killing his wife and casting her in a cement block.

1934 Notorious US bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed and killed by police.

1960 An earthquake in Chile causes a tsunami that kills 61 people in Hawaii.

1961 Born in Lorenzo Marques (Maputo) and one of the world’s greatest footballers, Eusébio makes his debut for club side Benfica. He goes on to become one of the world’s greatest footballers, dazzling Europe with his skills and, scoring 727 goals in 770 appearances for Benfica, and netting 41 times in 64 appearances for Portugal. Eusébio has been called ‘Africa’s’ greatest-ever player’.

2016 Archaeologists say the earliest use of barley to make beer was in China in 3 400BC.

2019 Prototype of new high-speed train that will float above the track, capable of travelling 600km an hour (370 mph), unveiled by Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corporation in Qingdao.

2019 The last slave ship to smuggle slaves to America from Africa, the Clotilda (sunk 1860), is found in Mobile River,in the US state of Alabama.

2021 21 runners die in freezing conditions during an ultramarathon in Yellow River Stone Forest Park, Gansu Province, China.