On This Day: What happened on 20 January?

We look back on this day in history and remember the people and events that shaped the world we live in today. Every day is worth remembering.

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Here’s a look at what happened on this day, 20 January, throughout history. We remember the news, events, and people that influenced the course of history forever.


1971 | The Ruth Prowse Art Centre an art and cultural centre was opened in Retreat. Erik Laubscher, an artist was the first head.

1986 | Bishop Desmond Tutu was honoured with the Martin Luther King Jr Award for his commitment to non-violence during the struggle against apartheid.

1986 | Major general Lekhanya overthrew the prime minister of Lesotho Leabua Jonathan in a bloodless coup. 

1987 | The hearing on the mysterious death of Mozambican president Samora Machel, begins at the Rand Supreme Court in Johannesburg. His plane crashed in Mbuzini near Komatipoort, when he was coming back from a meeting of African leaders held in Lusaka, Zambia.

READ: On this Day: What happened on 19 January?


1994 | First Kenyan vice-president, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (83)

2009 | Egyptian patriarch, Stéphanos II Ghattas (89)


1950 | Former Tanzanian Minister of Finance, William Mgimwa

1950 | Former President of Nigeria, Mahamane Ousmane 

1977 | South African cricketer, Paul Adams

1984 | Tunisian tennis player, Malek Jaziri

1988 | Nigerian footballer, Uwa Elderson Echiéjil


2007 | ICC Tri-series in Mombasa – Kenya win without a ball being bowled because Canada forfeited the match due to a player who was ill.

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2007 | Makhaya Ntini becomes the third South African to reach 300 Test wickets in the second Test against Pakistan.



1994 | Four Weddings and a Funeral, a British movie starring Hugh Grant, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. 

2006 | High School Musical starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens is released and becomes the most successful TV movie on Disney Channel.


The Pharaonic civilisation of ancient Egypt is the oldest literate civilisation in the world. According to historical records, the Egyptian state dates back to about 3300 B.C.

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