On this day

South African musician, Shaun Morgan Welgemoed celebrates his birthday. Image: Wikimedia Commons

On This Day in South Africa: What happened on 21 December?

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

On this day

South African musician, Shaun Morgan Welgemoed celebrates his birthday. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a look at what happened on this day, 21 December, throughout world and South African history. We remember the news, events, and people that influenced the course of history forever.


1938 | A fishing trawler off the South African Coast caught a coelacanth. A fish that had been swimming in the ocean 400 million years ago, and is believed to have been extinct for about 70 million years.

1976 | The long-running trial of nine student leaders from the Black People’s Convention (BPC) and the South African Students’ Organization (SASO) ended.

2004 | Iraq war: A suicide bomber killed 22 people at a forward camp near the main US military airfield in Mosul, Iraq, the deadliest suicide attack against US troops.

1999 | The Spanish Civil Guard intercepted a car loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up the Torre Picasso in Madrid, Spain.

1988 | A bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, and killed 270 people. This is the worst disaster to happen on British soil.

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1978 | South African musician, Shaun Morgan Welgemoed.

1956 | South African politician, Joel Netshitenzhe.

1937 | American actress, activist, and former fashion model, Jane Seymour Fonda.

1969 | Latvian footballer, coach, and manager, Mihails Zemļinskis.

1966 | British-Canadian actor and musician, Kiefer Sutherland.


2013 | Canadian-American businessman and philanthropist, Edgar Bronfman, Sr., 84.

2014 | Austrian-Swiss singer-songwriter and pianist, Udo Jürgens, 80.

2017 | US astronaut who conducted the first untethered spacewalk, Bruce McCandless II, 80.

1967 | Recipient of the first successful human heart transplant in the world, Louis Washkansky, 55.

2013 | American historian, general, and diplomat, 45th United States Ambassador to Belgium, John Eisenhower, 91.


1999 | Barcelona and Brazil midfielder Rivaldo won the Ballon d’Or award and was named the best footballer in Europe beating Manchester United midfielder David Beckham.


2012 | South Korean rapper Psy’s music video for Gangnam Style became the first YouTube video to cross a billion views.


Among the most amazing tourist destinations in the world includes Marrakech in Morocco.