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1876

Enshrined within Algiers’s new Catholic Basilica Notre-Dame d’Afrique, the much-venerated image of Marian is ceremonially “crowned” by the Archbishop of Carthage (Libya), to fulfill a decree of Pope Pius IX.

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1876

1885

The predecessor of the South African Navy, the Natal Naval Volunteers, is formed in Durban, to provide maritime security to Britain’s Natal Province of South Africa. A similar organisation will be formed in Cape Town in 1905.

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1885

1889

International telegraph service finally arrives in South Africa with a submarine cable running 1,485 nautical miles and laid by the Eastern and Southern Africa Telegraph Company from Mossamedes, Angola to the South African ports of Nolloth and Cape Town. (pic: Cape Town Cable Office)

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1889

1924

The Pan-African association Ligue Universelle pour la Defense de la Race Noire is formed in Paris. Founded by Kojo Tovalou Houénou, descendant of the last king of Dahomey (Benin), who has lately become radicalised in the anti-colonial movement, the group’s aim is to defend the rights of black people worldwide. Houénou will travel to the U.S. in August to establish ties between the organization and black empowerment groups serving the African Diaspora in in America.

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1924

1925

Africa's first and only (as of 2023) carillon - a collection of 37 bells that are rung using a keyboard - is inaugurated today at Cape Town City Hall. The first tune to be played is the hymn O God Our Help in Ages Past.

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1925

1935

The Mena House Hotel (pic: in background, top), in Cairo, Egypt, offers guests guided trips to the top of the nearby Pyramids of Giza. The tours will be ended after World War II by Egypt’s government to preserve the ancient monuments.

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1935

1964

Algerian President Ben Bella is awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, at a time when both East and West Cold War powers seek his favour. Bella is more interested in championing liberation movements throughout the Third World, and he seeks to position Algeria as the leader of Third World countries. (pic: Bella, right, with Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, centre left, and Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, top left)

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1964

1993

The last State President of South Africa’s apartheid regime, F.W. de Klerk, who with Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress is transitioning the country from a racist white minority government to a multi-racial democracy, issues an apology for the crimes of apartheid: “It was not our intention to deprive people of their rights and to cause misery, but eventually apartheid led to just that. Insofar as to what occurred, we deeply regret it. Yes, we are sorry.”

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1993

1995

The first international exhibit of Malian photographer Malick Sidibé (pic: self-portrait), opens in Paris at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain. This is the first of many exhibits, books and films celebrating Sidibé’s work, which focused on the Bamako club scene of the 1960s and 1970s.

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1995

2006

Zambia’s new main Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Child Jesus Cathedral in Lusaka, is dedicated on the site that was a vacant field when Pope John Paul II conduct a mass there in May 1989 to tens of thousands of Zambians.

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2006

2021

A teenage schoolgirl from Limpopo Province, South Africa who has been repeatedly bullied at school, Lufuno Mavhunga, takes her own life after a video of her being assaulted by a girl schoolmate is posted on social media and “enjoyed” by her classmates. (pic: as she is about to be slapped in video). Her suicide sparks an international discussion on bullying, the misuse of social media, and the need to make schools sanctuaries for education and children’s growth, not brutality.

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2021

Births

1888
Perla Gibson

South African singer, in Durban, South Africa. During World War II she became internationally famous by singing patriotic songs to soldiers and sailors arriving on more than 5000 ships at busy Durban port en route to battles in the Far East and North Africa. In 1995, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a statue of Gibson in Durban.

1943
Frederick Chiluba

President of Zambia (1991-2002), in Masangu Village, Northern Rhodesia. As Zambia’s second president, Chiluba ran an infamously corrupt administration.

1978
Rama Thiaw

Mauritanian filmmaker and screenwriter, in Nouakchott, Mauritania. From age five, she grew up in Senegal, and her first documentary, Boul Fallé, la Voie de la lutte, in 2009, was about the revival of traditional Senegalese wrestling. That film set the political and social themes she followed in latter documentary work that was also set in Senegal.

1986
Avril (Judith Nyambura Mwangi)

Kenyan singer and actress, in Nakuru, Kenya. Shortly after the release of her first single, Mama, in 2009, she made her acting debut in a TV soap opera. Her work as singer and actress won awards throughout the 2010s.

1995
Prince Gyasi (Prince Gyasi Nyantakya)

Ghanaian photo artist, in Accra, Ghana. He began photography using an iPhone. He stages his pictures, often with actors, to tell a story, and uses a computer to manipulate the images. His work has shown him to be one of 21st Africa’s most vivid colourists.