Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

On This Day: What happened on 31 December?

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, 31 December, throughout history. We remember the news, events, and people that influenced the course of history forever.


1959 | Final day for the evacuation of black residents from Sophiatown. The area was given to White residents and renamed Triomf (triumph).

1980 | After 20 years as president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor resigns. He is the first African president to resign voluntarily. 

1986 | Esso Oil Company terminated business operations in South Africa due to political conflict and violence. 

2003 | Eight British tourists were killed in an accident on the R74 between Harrismith and Bergville. They were on their way to the Royal Natal National Park. 

READ: On This Day: What happened on 30 December?


2010 | South African-born Canadian epidemiologist, William Harding le Riche (94)

2012 | Tunisian politician, Tarak Mekki (54)

2013 | Kenyan Olympic hockey player, Hardev Singh Kular (83)


1946 | Zimbabwean Roman Catholic archbishop, Pius Ncube

1946 | South African international development academic, Raphael Kaplinsky

1981 | Ghanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson

1984 | Congolese footballer, Calvin Zola


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2004 | Cricket teams in the world including Cricket South Africa agreed to donate money for the humanitarian effort in South-East Asia. 



1970 | Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit to end The Beatles’ partnership.

2010 | Freshlyground, pan-African South African music group had their last group performance at Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town. 

2017 | Indian film superstar and is one of Asia’s highest-paid actors, Rajinikanth announced he is entering politics.


Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.

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