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On this day in history, July 7

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

Top South African women’s golfer Ashleigh Buhai in action. Picture: Carl Fourie

Published Aug 7, 2023


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

1606 The first known performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is performed.

1795 One of the pivotal points in the history of this country, the Battle of Muizenberg, takes place when British troops land, scare off the Dutch garrison and march to Cape Town.

1901 Boer General Jan Smuts reports on the devastation of the Orange Free State by British forces: “Dams full of rotting animals; water undrinkable. Veld covered with slaughtered herds. The horror passes description. But the saddest sight of all is the large number of little lambs, staggering from hunger and thirst round the corpses.”

1909 Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends become the first women to complete a transcontinental car journey, taking 59 days to travel from New York to San Francisco.

1914 The first British troops arrived in France during World War I.

1947 Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa raft Kon-Tiki runs aground in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7 000km journey to prove prehistoric South Americans could have peopled Pacific islands.

1975 Actress and producer Charlize Theron is born in Benoni. One of the world's highest-paid actresses, she is the only African to win an Oscar in acting, for Monster in 2003. She also gets nominated for North Country (2005) and Bombshell (2019). Othere South African wins at the Oscars have been: Tsotsi (2005, Best International Feature Film) and My Octopus Teacher (2020, Best Documentary Feature).

1985 The South African Council of Churches meets President PW Botha about the unrest, forced removals and emergency regulations.

1987 American Lynne Cox sets a new record by swimming 4.3km from Alaska to Siberia and becoming the first person to swim between the superpowers. At the time, it was a big deal to swim between America and Russia, which was part of the Soviet Union. Research suggests she survived the 5°C water temperature because she had 36% body fat whereas the normal average for women of 18-25%.

1990 Five days after Iraq invades Kuwait, US President George Bush snr orders a massive military build-up to prevent Iraqi advances.

1998 Nearly simultaneous bombs at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania kill 224 people and wound 4 500.

2017 US medical examiners say the remains of a man killed at New York’s World Trade Center on 9/11, 2001, has finally been identified, nearly 16 years after the attacks.

2022 At the British Open Women's Golf tournament at Muirfield in Scotland, South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai wins her first major title, beating Gee Chun of South Korea on the fourth hole of a sudden death play-off.