On this day, March 21

A man jumps into the sea at Sevastopol in the Crimea, which Russia annexed. Picture: Reuters

A man jumps into the sea at Sevastopol in the Crimea, which Russia annexed. Picture: Reuters

Published Mar 21, 2024


‘The pope is the anitchrist’, Kipling called to Bloemfontein, the Sharpeville and Langa massacres, and a ban on semi-automatic weapons

630 Emperor Heraclius returns the True Cross, one of the holiest Christian relics, to Jerusalem.

1349 Up to 3 000 Jews are killed in Black Death riots in Efurt, Germany.

1556 On the day of his execution in Oxford, former Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer deviates from the scripted sermon by renouncing his recantations and adds, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine”.

1800 With the church leadership driven out of Rome during an armed conflict, Pius VII is crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mâché.

1844 The Bahá’í calendar begins.

1871 Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

1900 Poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling, summoned from Cape Town by Lord Roberts, arrives in Bloemfontein to join the editorial staff of the newspaper, The Friend.

1943 Wehrmacht officer Rudolf von Gersdorff plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler by using a suicide bomb, but the plan falls through; Von Gersdorff is able to defuse the bomb in time.

1960 Police open fire on a group of black demonstrators at Sharpeville, killing 69, giving rise to today’s public holiday.

1975 The Inkatha National Cultural Liberation Movement is founded. It and the Black Consciousness Movement, to fill the vacuum caused by the banned ANC and PAC.

1985 At least 17 people are killed in Langa, near Port Elizabeth, during a commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre, 25 years before.

1990 Namibia becomes independent after 75 years of South African rule.

1996 Eleven people are killed at Donnybrook, KZN, hours after President Nelson Mandela visits the province.

2014 Russia annexes Crimea.

2018 Nigeria confirms that 101 out of 110 kidnapped schoolgirls have returned home.

2019 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons, 6 days after the Christchurch terrorist attack.

2021 45 people are crushed to death in a crowd paying respects to the late president John Magufuli at a stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2023 The Ugandan government passes the Anti Homosexuality Bill, which allows for punishment of 10 years in prison for identifying as LGBTQ+.