On this day

South African cricketer, Roelof van der Merwe celebrates his birthday. Image: Flickr

On This Day in South Africa: 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.

On this day

South African cricketer, Roelof van der Merwe celebrates his birthday. Image: Flickr

Here’s a look at what happened on this day, 31 December, throughout world and South African history. We remember the news, events, and people that influenced the course of history forever.


1959 | Final removals of residents  from Sophiatown which started in 1955 and by 1963 the demolition of the existing houses started.

2018 | Thirty nine people were killed after a 10-story building in the Magnitogorsk Industrial City collapsed.

2011 | NASA successfully placed the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites into orbit around the Moon.

2010 | Tornadoes occurred in the midwestern and southern United States, including Washington County, Arkansas;  Greater St.  Louis, Sunset Hills, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, with a few tornadoes in the early hours.  A total of 36 tornadoes touched down, causing nine deaths and $113 million in damage.

1999 | The United States government ceded control of the Panama Canal (including all land adjacent to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama.  This action coincided with the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Accords of 1977.

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1984 | South African cricketer, Roelof van der Merwe. 

1977 | South African rugby union player, Eddie Fredericks

1979 | American lawyer and politician, Jeff Waldstreicher. 

1970 | English singer-songwriter, Danny McNamara. 

1973 | Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist, Malcolm Middleton. 


2013 | German author and screenwriter, Irina Korschunow, 88.

2018 | Indian actor, Kader Khan,81. 

2000 | Italian-American dancer and choreographer, José Greco, 82.

2006 | American businessman,George Sisler, Jr.,89.

2015 | American singer-songwriter, Natalie Cole, 65.


2022 | On this day Portugal forward, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr FC of Saudi Arabia. 


2017 | Indian film actor, Rajinikanth announced he is entering politics on this day. 


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