January 12th stands out in South African history as a day marked by a variety of significant events, each contributing to the country’s complex historical narrative.
These historical events happened on 12 January
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From tragic massacres and political upheavals to pivotal moments in colonial history and the birth of influential leaders, this day encapsulates the multifaceted nature of South Africa’s past. This article delves into five such events that took place on this day.
1) The Sebokeng Massacre (1991)
On the night of 12 January 1991, a sombre event unfolded in Sebokeng, in the Vaal region.
More than 30 people were killed while attending an all-night vigil in a tent, paying their final respects to Chris Nangalembe, a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and community leader.
This massacre underscored the violent and turbulent period during the latter years of apartheid, highlighting the ongoing struggle against the regime.
2) Removal of Prince Goodwill Zwelithini from the Zulu Legislative Assembly (1972)
A significant shift in the political landscape occurred on 12 January 1972, when the Paramount Chief of the Zulus, Prince Goodwill Zwelithini, was officially removed as a member of the Zulu Legislative Assembly.
This event altered the traditional power structures within the Zulu nation and marked a notable moment in the history of South African governance.
3) South Africa Begins Occupation of South-West Africa (1915)
On 12 January 1915, South Africa began its occupation of South-West Africa, now known as Namibia, following the outbreak of World War I.
This event, occurring just a few years after the Second Anglo-Boer War, highlights the broader context of colonial expansion and control in the region during the early 20th century.
4) British Sports Council’s Fact-Finding Tour (1980)
January 12, 1980, marked the beginning of a significant three-week fact-finding tour by the British Sports Council in South Africa.
This mission aimed to investigate racial discrimination in sport, a contentious issue during the apartheid era. The visit reflected growing international concern over racial segregation in South African sports and its global implications.
5) Birth of P.W. Botha (1916)
Pieter Willem Botha, who would become a central figure in South Africa’s apartheid government, was born on this day in 1916. Born to Afrikaner parents on the farm Telegraaf in the Paul Roux district of the Orange Free State, Botha’s political career would significantly influence the country’s history, particularly during his tenure as Prime Minister and later as President.