With Election Day around the corner (8 May 2019 will be the sixth democratic elections in South Africa) it is important that we are once again reminded of and celebrate our right to vote.
Throughout history most societies believed women to be inferior to men. Women were also thought to be less intelligent. Since ancient times the lives of most women centered around their children and homemaking. In most countries women had no or a very limited political voice.
In 1902 the Cape Parliament introduced the first radio legislation in the world: “Electric Telegraph shall be interpreted as including any system or means of conveying signs, signals or communication by electricity, magnetism, electro-magnetism or other like agencies, whether with or without the aid of wires, and including the system commonly known as Wireless Telegraphy or Aetheric Signalling and any improvement and development of such system.” The first wireless licences in the world were also introduced in South Africa (1902), and by 1910 the country was producing its own radio equipment.
Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl was born in Pretoria in 1887 and studied at Victoria College (today Stellenbosch University) before travelling to Germany to complete his doctorate in electrical engineering. While busy with his studies he unwittingly reinvented the thermionic valve that had first been developed by the American Lee de Forest in 1906. Van der Bijl’s research came to the attention of the American physicist Robert Millikan, who invited him to join his staff at the University of Chicago.
The most popular word or phrase in South Africa this year is “land expropriation without compensation”. For many years black South Africans were not allowed to own land.
In 2014 a valuable donation was made to the document collection of the National Museum. For the first time the author was struck by the reality of the Group Areas Act of 1950 and the impact it had on black communities. Mrs. Alina Motsumi donated three “Certificates of Occupation” dating from the 1970s along with a “work permit” from 1978.
In the late 19th century, before the introduction of the railway, coach travelling became the main mode of transport. The foremost destination was certainly the newly discovered diamond fields at Kimberley. Stagecoach companies such as the Inland Transport Company, the Red Star Line and later the Zeederberg Line strived to transport passengers from the Cape Colony and Natal to the interior of South Africa as quickly and in as much comfort as possible. By 1891 there was a network of 73 stagecoach routes in the Free State.