June 24 (2017) Saturday

On this day in 1995, the South African rugby team won the World Cup final against New Zealand.

Joel Stransky scored the winning drop kick just in extra-time. Prior to the tournament, the Springboks were seeded only ninth in the world and were not expected to dethrone the incumbent champions Australia, who had not lost a game in the preceding 12 months. During the tournament, South Africa beat Australia, Romania, Canada, Western Samoa and France. They then met New Zealand in the final at Ellis Park Stadium. Francois Pienaar played on in extra-time despite a calf strain and the Springboks secured their three-point victory with Stransky’s famous kick. During the remarkable post-match presentation Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok jersey bearing Pienaar's number, presented him with the Web Ellis Cup. In his acceptance speech, Pienaar said the team won the trophy not just for the 60 000 fans at Ellis Park, but also for all 43 million South Africans. Pienaar was portrayed by Matt Damon in the movie Invictus, released in December 2009, which focused on the story of the 1995 World Cup.

ALSO TODAY IN HISTORY

  • In 1717, the Freemason Movement was founded in London. It was introduced into South Africa from the Netherlands in 1772. Freemasonry is a brotherly organisation now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million. Freemasonry uses stonemasons' tools as a metaphor to convey what both Masons and critics have described as "a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols". While Freemasonry has often been called a secret society, Freemasons themselves argue that it is more a specialised interest society, in that certain aspects are private, making it less of a secret society and more of a "society with secrets". Freemasonry's central preoccupations are charitable work within the community, moral uprightness (in most cases requiring a belief in a supreme being) as well as the development and maintenance of fraternal friendship.
  • In 1842, Dick King returned by boat to Natal after his 10-day horse ride to Grahamstown. On 25 May, the 29-year-old wagon driver and his 16-year-old assistant, Ndongeni, left Durban on horseback for Grahamstown to seek reinforcements for the British garrison under siege by Voortrekkers at Durban. In the Battle of Congella a few days earlier, the English suffered heavy casualties. The English garrison had to retreat to their tented camp which was besieged by Andries Pretorius who kept up the small arm and artillery attack continuously, day after day. King and Ndongeni, who brought two horses to the current Salisbury Island in Durban bay tethered to a boat, escaped. From Port Natal (now Durban), King and Ndongeni started a heroic horseback ride to deliver a request from the English Captain Charlton Smith for immediate reinforcements. Ndongeni was forced to return half way through the journey, as he had no saddle or bridle. Dick King reached Grahamstown 10 days after leaving Port Natal, a distance normally covered in 17 days. A month after his escape, King returned on the Conch, one of the British vessels that carried the relief parties. On 24 June, it arrived at the bay with reinforcements just in time to save Smith’s garrison from imminent surrender or starvation. For their services, Ndongeni received a farm at the Mzimkulu river and King a farm at Isipingo, where he managed a sugar mill until his death in 1871.
  • In 1901, Pablo Picasso’s first exhibition opened in Paris. Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement. Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments.
  • In 1964, the General Law Amendment Act was enacted. It allowed a police officer to detain, without warrant, any person suspected of a politically motivated crime for 90 days without access to a lawyer. Suspects were often re-detained for another 90-day period immediately after release. The Act also introduced the Sobukwe Clause (named so it was used to keep PAC leader Robert Sobukwe on Robben Island for an additional six years), which allowed people already convicted of political offences to be further detained, initially for 12 months. The act was amended by the General Law Amendment of 1964 which allowed the Minister of Justice to extend the Sobukwe Clause as desired. In 1976, this clause was re-enacted in amended form.
  • In 1973, athlete Danie Malan set a new world record of 2 min 16.0 sec in the 1 000m event in Munich. Malan was raised in the Boland area of the Cape, and took part in athletics from a young age. He began to take athletics seriously only during his last two years of high school. In 1967, he won the national under 17 title for the 400m race. Malan then studied at the Stellenbosch University, where he also excelled in athletics and later received his BSc. Malan's ability to compete internationally was hampered by South Africa's exclusion from international competition.

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Godfrey Nakane

Prominent academic Godfrey Nakene was born in Ga-Ramokgopa, Pietersburg on this day in 1908.

Through the intervention of Reverend Peter Raynes, Nakene was allowed to enrol at the University of the Witwatersrand and he became the first black South African to receive a BA degree from the institution. In the 1950s, Nakene obtained a University Education Diploma (UED) from the University of South Africa. His first appointment was as principal of the Dutch Reformed School in Johannesburg. Nakene led Orlando High School and its staff through turbulent times, and when he left Orlando, the school was renamed in his honour to the Nakene High School. In 1969, he was promoted to circuit inspector in the Ramokgopa Circuit. In 1973, Nakene retied and turned to his love for farming. He concentrated on cattle on his farm in Kameelrivier in the Groblersdal district that he had bought in September 1954. He died on his farm in January 1983.