TODAY IN HISTORY – January 10 (2017) Tuesday

In 1962, liberation hero Nelson Mandela slipped out of South Africa and surfaced soon afterwards in Addis Ababa.

He was trained in Ethiopia by Colonel Fekadu Wakene in preparation for beccomming commander-in-chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). The group had announced its arrival at the end of 1961 by blowing-up electricity pylons in various places in South Africa. Mandela’s mission on his trip was to meet as many African political leaders as possible and garner assistance for the ANC, including money and training for its military wing. He left a deep impression on those who met him during his stay in the Ethiopian capital.


  • In 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, signalling the start of a civil war. Leading the Legio XIII Caesar crossed the boundary between the Cisalpine Gaul province to the north and Italy proper to the south, a legally-proscribed action forbidden to any army-leading general.
  • In 1908, Mahatma Gandhi was in South Africa arrested for the first time. The preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world, including South Africa. Gandhi was 24 when he arrived in South Africa to work as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders based in Pretoria. He spent 21 years in the country where he developed his political views, ethics and political leadership skills. In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act compelling registration of the colony's Indian population. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi adopted his still evolving nonviolent protest, for the first time. He urged Indians to defy the new law and to suffer the punishments for doing so. The community adopted this plan, and during the ensuing seven-year struggle, thousands of Indians were jailed, flogged, or shot for striking, refusing to register, for burning their registration cards or engaging in other forms of nonviolent resistance. The government arrested Ghandi and successfully repressed the protesters, but the public outcry over the harsh treatment of peaceful Indian protesters forced South African leader Jan to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Time magazine named Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930. He was also the runner-up to Albert Einstein as "Person of the Century" at the end of 1999.
  • In 1920, the League of Nations which was established the previous year, held its first meeting in London. The League was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.
  • In 1946, the UN General Assembly met for the first time. The first session of the UN General Assembly was convened on 10 January 1946 in the Westminster Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations. The next few annual sessions were held in different cities: the second session in New York, and the third session was in Paris. It moved to the permanent United Nations Headquarters in New York at the start of its seventh regular annual session, on 14 October 1952. In December 1988, in order to hear Yasser Arafat, the General Assembly organised its 29th session in the Palace of Nations, in Geneva (Switzerland).
  • In 1957, the African Convention was founded in Dakar. African Convention was a political party in French West Africa. The CA was formed at a meeting in Dakar on 11 January 1957. The CA constisted of the Senegalese Popular Bloc (BPS) of Léopold Sédar Senghor, the African Popular Movement of Nazi Boni in Upper Volta and the Nigerien Democratic Front (FDN) of Zodi Ikhia in Niger. In the 1957 territorial assembly elections, CA member parties won 96 seats. CA won in Senegal, and gained presence in three other assemblies. In March 1958 the African Convention and the African Socialist Movement (MSA) merged to form the African Regroupment Party (PRA).

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Fatima Hajaig

South African politician Fatima Hajaig was born on this day in 1938. Hajaig graduated from University of the Witwatersrand in 1963.

In 1967, she earned her LLB from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary. She is a member of the African Union's Pan-African Parliament. She used to be chairperson of the committee of foreign affairs of the South African parliament. She was also a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs under President Kgalema Motlanthe. In January2008, she summoned Israel's new ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to criticize Israeli actions in Gaza. This led to an official complaint by Israel to the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv because, it said, Hajaig insulted Elias Inbram, the Israeli Embassy's Ethiopia-born spokesman. At a COSATU rally in 2009 in Lenasia, she said “the control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else.” Her remarks about Jews were condemned by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who issued a statement saying such remarks are against foreign policy.