The 5th of February is a day marked by significant events in South Africa’s rich and tumultuous history.
These historical events happened on 5 February
From the tragic to the triumphant, these events have shaped the nation’s course.
This article delves into five pivotal moments that occurred on this day, offering insight into the people and occurrences that have contributed to South Africa’s complex heritage.
Poqo Members Kill a White Family (1963)
On 5 February 1963, members of Poqo, the military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress, carried out a brutal attack resulting in the murder of the Grobbelaar family, who were camping at Bashee River in the Transkei.
Norman and Elizabeth Grobbelaar, along with their teenage daughters Edna and Dawn, and Mr Derek Thompson, were hacked to death in their caravans.
This attack was part of Poqo’s strategy to destabilise the country and incite an uprising against the apartheid government. The violence of Poqo’s actions and its aim for a mass terror movement marked a significant moment in the struggle against apartheid, despite the lack of mass support for its brutally aggressive approach.
Neil Aggett Dies in Detention (1982)
Dr Neil Aggett, a medical doctor and anti-apartheid activist, tragically died in police custody on 5 February 1982, after 70 days of detention without trial.
Aggett was the first white person to die in detention since 1963, marking a pivotal moment in the fight against apartheid.
Despite initial claims of suicide, further investigations revealed he was killed due to excessive torture by members of the Apartheid Security Branch. His death sparked outrage and led to a significant inquest that challenged the apartheid regime’s treatment of detainees.
John Traicos’ International Cricket Test Debut (1970)
John Traicos, a cricketer renowned for his exceptional spin bowling, made his Test debut for South Africa on 5 February 1970, against Australia.
His debut was notable not only for his personal achievements on the field but also for the context in which it occurred, during a period of significant political and sporting isolation for South Africa. Traicos’ cricketing career spanned a unique trajectory, later representing Zimbabwe in international cricket, making him one of the few cricketers to play Test matches for two countries.
His debut marks a significant moment in the history of South African cricket, showcasing the country’s sporting talent amidst challenging international relations.
Mandela’s Last Major Address to Parliament (1999)
On 5 February 1999, President Nelson Mandela delivered his final major address to the South African Parliament, marking the opening of the ultimate session of the first democratically elected parliament.
This address was a significant moment, symbolising the closing chapter of Mandela’s presidency and his monumental role in the nation’s transition from apartheid to a democratic society. Mandela’s speech reflected on the achievements and challenges of his term, emphasizing the progress made towards racial equality, democracy, and the improvement of living standards for all South Africans.
General Jannie Geldenhuys Born (1935)
General Jannie Geldenhuys, born on 5 February 1935 in Kroonstad, became a significant figure in South African military history. He served as the Chief of the South African Defence Force during a tumultuous period marked by regional conflicts and internal resistance against apartheid.
Geldenhuys’ military career and leadership reflected the complex dynamics of South Africa’s defence strategy during the late Cold War era.