On this day, April 18

A road tanker washes up in front of the Durban Country Club. A state of disaster is declared. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

A road tanker washes up in front of the Durban Country Club. A state of disaster is declared. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 18, 2024


The Cape and South Africa’s first school, San Francisco devastated, the audacious Doolittle raiders bomb Japan and South Africa’s first Test match against a non-white team

1658 The first school is founded six years after Van Riebeeck’s arrival at the Cape.

1775 Paul Revere and others ride to warn the countryside of advancing British troops during the American Revolution.

1874 The body of David Livingstone, the explorer and missionary who died of malaria on the shore of Lake Bangweulu (‘where the water meets the sky’), in Zambia, is finally buried in London’s Westminster Abbey, England.

1905 Death of Enoch Sontonga, composer of our national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel ‘iAfrika.

1906 An earthquake and fire kills nearly 4 000 people and destroys 75% of San Francisco.

1912 The Cunard liner Carpathia lands survivors from the Titanic in New York.

1924 The first crossword puzzle book is published by Simon & Schuster.

1930 The BBC announces that “there is no news” and plays music instead.

1942 In response to the raid on Pearl Harbour, the audacious Doolittle Raid sees five Japanese cities attacked by bombers brought close enough by an aircraft carrier.

1943 Primed with the knowledge of his whereabouts, US P-38 fighters shoot down the plane of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto – the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor – in over Bougainville Island.

1946 The International Court of Justice holds its inaugural meeting in The Hague.

1980 The Republic of Zimbabwe comes into being, with Canaan Banana its first president.

1983 A suicide bomber in Lebanon destroys the US embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people.

1988 The US launches Operation Praying Mantis against Iranian naval forces in the largest naval battle since World War II.

1992 Captained by Kepler Wessels, South Africa plays its first 5-day Test match – against the West Indies. The tour by South Africa marked the first-ever official Test and One Day International matches between the two teams. It was also South Africa's first Test match since their reintroduction to the sport after being suspended in 1970 due to the apartheid regime, and their first Test against a non-white team. The West Indies won the 1-match Test series, and also the ODI series, 3-0. Previously, South Africa had played a 1-match ODI against India at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. The visitors, every one of whom were making their international débuts, were led by Clive Rice. They lost the match by 3 wickets,

1994 Ken Oosterbroek, chief photographer of The Star newspaper, is killed when he and several other journalists are caught in the crossfire peacekeepers and hostel dwellers in Thokoza.

1996 In Lebanon, at least 106 civilians are killed when the Israel Defence Force shells the UN compound at Quana where more than 800 civilians were seeking refuge.

2007 Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq, kill 198 people.

2014 Twenty-five men, mostly Sherpas, are buried in an ice avalanche on the slopes of Mt Everest. The group had fixing ropes and preparing for fee-paying climbers. Sixteen of the men were killed, the rest were badly injured. Three of the victims are still buried beneath roughly 80 to 100 metres of snow and ice.

2019 Irish Journalist Lyra McKee is shot dead while covering riots in Derry, Northern Ireland. The dissident republican group the New IRA claims responsibility.

2022 President Cyril Ramaphosa declares a national state of disaster, after floods and mudslides in Durban area result in over 400 deaths and destroy more than 4 000 homes.