On this day in history, August 12

Controversial author Salman Rushdie. Picture: File

Controversial author Salman Rushdie. Picture: File

Published Aug 12, 2023


Significant and interesting snippets of news with a South African angle, from this day in history

1480 Conquering Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians in southern Italy for refusing to convert to Islam.

1779 Johannes Jacobus Janse (Lang Hans) van Rensburg, leader of one of the early Voortrekker treks, is born at the Sundays River, Cape Colony. His entire trek of 51 people is massacred in 1836 at Inhambane (Mozambique) by a Zulu impi, except for his two children who are saved by a Zulu warrior.

1871 Tiyo Soga, missionary and the first ordained black minister, who published a Xhosa translation of the first part of The Pilgrim’s Progress and was a member of the board for the revising of the Xhosa Bible, dies at Butterworth, in the Eastern Cape.

1873 Author and poet Cornelis Jacob Langenhoven, who penned Die Stem – which forms part of our national anthem – is born in Ladismith in the Cape.

1883 The last quagga, a zebra subspecies, dies at a zoo in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Once vast in numbers, the quagga – whose name is derived from the Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga’s call – was hunted to extinction.

1930 Clarence Birdseye gets a patent for a method for quick freezing food.

1945 Emperor Hirohito tells his nation that Japan must surrender to the Allies.

1953 An earthquake in the Mediterranean’s Ionian islands kills 435 people.

1976 Langa and Guguletu residents stop employees leaving for work. Young children request donations of petrol from cars to make petrol bombs.

1977 First flight of Enterprise, the first of the space shuttles, but it never flies in space.

1981 IBM’s Personal Computer is released.

2000 The Russian submarine Kursk explodes in the Barents Sea, killing her 118-man crew. An international search-and-recovery effort ensues.

2006 Poet Professor Mazisi Kunene, known for his epic poem, Emperor Shaka the Great, dies in Durban at the age of 76, after a long illness.

2015 Two explosions kill 173 people and injure nearly 800 more in Tianjin, China.

2019 Beginning of the ‘glitter revolution’ in Mexico City when security chief showered with pink glitter in protest of violence against women after a teenager is raped by police.

2019 Scientists say they are closer to an effective treatment for Ebola after a drug trial has 90% success rate in the DRC.

2022 Author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie is repeatedly stabbed on stage before giving a lecture at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. The book is deeply offensive to Islam.