This day in history: Pretoria bombed!


One of the deadliest attacks carried out in South Africa during the struggle against apartheid occurred in Pretoria on Sunday March 20, 1983.

A large mortar bomb was detonated outside the Nedbank Square in Church Street, Pretoria, claiming the lives of 19 people and injuring more than 100 others. The bomb claimed the lives of both black and white people.

Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress, claimed responsibility for the attack, under the leadership of Oliver Tambo.

The action achieved its aim of causing the most harm and damage, as the 16:30 detonation occurred during peak rush-hour traffic.  Read more.

Other events on this day:

1999 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair phones Nelson Mandela to thank him for his assistance in persuading Libya to hand over the two men suspected of being involved with the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Mandela confirms that the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, will hand the suspects over on April 6.

1995 – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II addresses the South African Parliament in Cape Town during a state visit to the country.

1956 – Following an off-and-on struggle for more than fifty years, and two years of negotiation between the French government and Tunisia, France finally grants Tunisia independence, with Habib Bourguiba becoming its first president. Read more.

1896 – The Second Matabele War, also referred to as the Matabele Rebellion, breaks out between the Matabele and British South Africa Company (BSAC) led by Cecil John Rhodes in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. The Matabele warriors were persuaded to lay down arms after their leader Mlimo, is assassinated by the British after being betrayed by an informant. Read more.