On this day, June 21

A selection of significant and interesting snippets of news, with a South African angle, on this day over the ages

Award-winning actress Charlize Theron and her mother, who shot dead her husband. Picture: Reuters

Published Jun 21, 2023


A selection of significant and interesting snippets of news, with a South African angle, on this day over the ages

1547 A fire in Moscow kills 3 000 people.

1837 Zulu king, Dingaan cedes Port Natal and adjacent territory to Britain.

1887 Britain annexes Zululand. King Dinuzulu is banished to the remote St Helena island.

1861 Britain takes possession of the guano-rich Ichaboe Island off the Namibian coast.

1901 In a letter to St John Broderick, the British Secretary of War, Lord Kitchener declares, ‘It was a mistake to regard the Boers as a civilised race which could be an asset to the British Empire: they are uncivilised savages with a thin White veneer.’ He asks the cabinet to allow the permanent banishment of all Boers who at any time have fought against Britain, as well as their families...” He suggests the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific.

1916 Mexican troops give General “Black Jack” Pershing’s US force a bloody nose.

1919 The German Navy, feeling betrayed by the terms of the Versailles Treaty, scuttles most of their ships interned at the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow, Scotland. Fifty-two ships go to the bottom. It is the biggest loss of shipping in a single day.

1942 The Second South African Division surrenders the strategic port of Tobruk to German forces. Of the 25 000 captured Allied troops, 10 722 were South Africans – a third of the country’s total force.

1965 SA’s Gary Player wins the US Open golf tournament to become only the fourth winner to earn all four top-pro golf titles. Player is the first non-American to achieve the feat.

1980 Pierre Fourie, boxer and winner of middle and lightweight SA titles in the ’60s and ’70s, is killed in a car accident. He was the first White boxer to fight a Black opponent in SA.

1991 Gerda, the mother of actress Charlize Theron, shoots her husband dead in their home in Benoni. Her self-defence plea is accepted.

1989 The US Supreme Court rules it okay to burn the US flag as a political expression.

2014 The Andean Road System of the Inca Empire, 30 000km long through six countries, is granted World Heritage status by Unesco .

2015 Hackers ground 1 400 passengers at Warsaw’s Chopin airport, in Poland.

2015 Ninety-four people die from drinking moonshine in Mumbai, India.