July 27 (2017) Thursday

On this day in 1994, top South African press photographer Kevin Carter took his own life.

After witnessing the Church Street bombing in Pretoria in 1983, he decided to become a news photographer and journalist. He started to work as a weekend sports photographer in 1983. In 1984, he moved on to work for the Johannesburg Star, went on exposing the brutality of apartheid. Carter was the first to photograph a public execution "necklacing" by black Africans in South Africa in the mid-1980s. In March 1993, while on a trip to Sudan, Carter photographed a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding center when a hooded vulture landed nearby. Sold to The New York Times, the photograph first appeared on 26 March 1993 and was carried in many other newspapers around the world. In April 1994, the photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 33. The 1996 song "Kevin Carter" by rock band Manic Street Preachers, the third single taken from their fourth album Everything Must Go, was inspired by Carter's life and suicide.

ALSO TODAY IN HISTORY

  • In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh imported the first tobacco to England from Virginia. Raleigh was an English writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is best known for popularising tobacco in Britain. After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Raleigh was imprisoned for being involved in a plot against King James I. In 1616, he was released to lead an expedition to South America. This was unsuccessful, and men under his command ransacked a Spanish outpost. He returned to England and, to appease the Spanish, was arrested and executed in 1618.
  • In 1789, the United States Congress established then Department of Foreign Affairs. It is now referred to as the State Department.
  • In 1976, the Tangshan earthquake killed an estimated 240 000 Chinese nationals. The natural disaster is believed to be the largest earthquake of the 20th century by death toll. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Tangshan in Hebei, an industrial city with approximately one million inhabitants. The earthquake was generated by the 25-mile-long Tangshan Fault, which runs near the city and ruptured due to tectonic forces caused by the Amurian Plate sliding past the Eurasian Plate.
  • In 1975, the British government closed its consulate and evacuated British citizens from Angola. This after an escalation of fighting between Cuban forces representing the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and South African troops supporting the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
  • In 1976, Britain broke off diplomatic relations with Uganda. This followed a military coup when Milton Obote was deposed from power by Idi Amin. Amin carried out mass killings within the country to maintain his rule. An estimated 300 000 Ugandans lost their lives during his regime, many of them in the north, which he associated with Obote's loyalists. He also forcibly removed the entrepreneurial Indian minority from Uganda, which left the country's economy in ruins. Amin's reign ended after the Uganda-Tanzania War in 1979, in which Tanzanian forces aided by Ugandan exiles invaded Uganda.

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Lehlohonolo Ledwaba

Local boxer Lehlohonolo Benedict Ledwaba was born in Soweto on this day in 1971.

Known as the "Hands of Stone", Ledwaba was a champion in the super bantamweight division. He turned pro in 1990 and in 1999 captured the vacant IBF super bantamweight title with a decision victory over John Michael Johnson. Ledwaba defended his belt five times before losing it to Manny Pacquiao via TKO. Ledwaba continued to fight, but has never challenged for a major title since the loss. He retired from boxing after losing to Maxwell Awuku on 24 November 2006.