On this day in history, December 2

Guilty is the verdict for Heidi Fleiss. Picture: IOL archives

Guilty is the verdict for Heidi Fleiss. Picture: IOL archives

Published Dec 2, 2023


What happened on this day, back in the day

1697 The world-famous St Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is consecrated for use – the previous building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

1804 In Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French.

1856 The Battle of Tugela (aka Battle of Ndondakusuka) is fought between Cetshwayo, the eldest son of Mpande, and his younger brother, Umbolazi (Mbulazi). In one of the bloodiest battles fought in southern Africa – more than 5 000 warriors are killed.

1859 American abolitionist John Brown is hanged for murder, treason, and conspiring with slaves to revolt, at Charles Town, Virginia.

1875 The Reverend Pambani Jeremiah Mzimba is ordained as the first South African-trained black Presbyterian Church minister. He is remembered for his exceptional contribution to and pioneering spirit in the formation of the African independent churches and his role in the development of a new understanding of Christianity among African believers.

1901 Businessman King Gillette begins selling safety razor blades.

1908 Pu Yi – the last emperor of China – ascends the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1927 Author Jan Jacobus van der Post, who lived as a boy with the San for several years, is born in Rehoboth, South West Africa.

1950 A Chinese victory in the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River sees UN forces expelled from North Korea.

1950 South African world bantamweight boxing champion Vic “Benoni Buzzsaw” Toweel sets a record for knockdowns in a world title fight against Englishman Danny Sullivan in Johannesburg. Sullivan is floored 14 times in 10 rounds before the fight is stopped. Toweel – described as an instinctive boxer who, at his best, flaunted incredible stamina, perfect balance and a blazing work ethic as well as the ability to throw non-stop batteries of punches without tiring – is still South Africa’s only undisputed world boxing champion.

1982 Afrikaans poet Breyten Breytenbach, brother of pioneering soldier Jan Breytenbach, is released from prison after serving seven of nine years for treason.

1994 The cruise ship Achille Lauro sinks off the coast of Somalia.

1994 A US jury finds ‘Hollywood Madam’ Heidi Fleiss guilty of running a up-market call-girl ring.

2017 Egyptian lawyer Nabih al-Wahsh is sentenced to 3 years in prison for saying that women wearing ripped jeans should be raped.