February 3 marks a day of significant historical events that have shaped not only South Africa’s past but also had far-reaching impacts on the world stage.
These historical events happened on 3 February
From exploratory voyages that connected continents to pivotal moments in the fight for equality and workers’ rights, this day reflects the diverse and dynamic history of South Africa.
1. Bartolomeu Dias Reaches Present Mossel Bay (1488)
On 3 February 1488, Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer, made a landmark discovery by reaching what is now known as Mossel Bay.
This event marked a significant point in the Age of Discovery, as Dias became the first European to sail around the southernmost tip of Africa, opening the sea route to Asia.
His journey was fraught with challenges, including violent storms and unfamiliar territories, yet it culminated in a momentous achievement that would forever alter global trade routes and navigational maps.
2. The Clash Between Dr Albert Hertzog and Ben Schoeman (1970)
Dr Albert Hertzog, a far-right political figure and son of a former Prime Minister, found himself at odds with Ben Schoeman, the Minister of Transport, on 3 February 1970.
This confrontation in the House of Assembly highlighted the deep ideological divides within South African politics at the time.
Hertzog’s speech, criticising the government’s deviation from apartheid-era policies, and Schoeman’s vehement opposition, underscored the tensions that plagued the National Party, leading to Hertzog’s eventual expulsion and the formation of the Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP).
3. Volkswagen Workers Dismissal (2000)
In a significant labour movement event, 1300 workers at Volkswagen’s South African plant were dismissed on 3 February 2000.
The workers had engaged in an unprocedural strike against the leadership of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), showcasing the ongoing struggles between labour forces and management in the country’s evolving industrial landscape.
4. De Klerk and Mandela Receive UNESCO Peace Prize (1992)
This honour recognised their efforts in peacefully ending apartheid and laying the groundwork for a democratic South Africa, highlighting a moment of reconciliation and hope for a country marked by decades of racial division.
5. Desmond Tutu’s Appointment as Anglican Bishop (1985)
Tutu, a vocal critic of the apartheid regime, used his position to advocate for racial equality and justice, becoming a symbol of resistance and a beacon of hope for many South Africans.