On this day, January 29

Novak Đoković ties for most number of Grand Slam tennis titles won. Picture: AFP

Novak Đoković ties for most number of Grand Slam tennis titles won. Picture: AFP

Published Jan 29, 2024


More than just dates and boring facts.

1504 Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge about a lunar eclipse to frighten hostile Jamaican Indians into providing him with supplies.

1684 Cape Governor Simon van der Stel sends Isak Schrijver with 15 soldiers and three mineworkers north to look for copper. They find it, near Springbok in the northern Cape

1752 An expedition of 71 under August Beutler leaves the Castle at the Cape with 11 wagons and 37 soldiers to explore the interior of the eastern Cape. They return after eight months.

1940 Hattie McDaniel becomes first black person to win an Oscar for Gone with the Wind, which wins eight of the statuettes.

1944 Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, is run down and injured by a Nazi truck in Krakow. German officers tended to him and sent him to a hospital where he spends two weeks recovering from a severe concussion and a shoulder injury. It seemed to him that this accident and his survival was a confirmation of his vocation: studying for the priesthood.

1960 An earthquake in Morocco flattens the city of Agadir and kills a third of its population (12 000-15 000).

1988 South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 other clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town.

1996 Serb forces withdraw from Sarajevo, ending the siege after 1 425 days, the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare

2000 Eighty-four Russian paratroopers are killed in a rebel attack on a guard post near Ulus Kert, during the Second Chechen War.

2004 Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as President of Haiti following a rebel uprising, thought to have had US backing. After being cast into exile, he is welcomed in South Africa, where he and his family take up residence in a government villa in Pretoria. He becomes an honorary research fellow at the University of South Africa, learns Zulu, and, receives a doctorate in African languages. Despite pressure from the US, he returns to Haiti in 2011.

2004 South African actress Charlene Theron becomes the country’s first Oscar winner for her portrayal of prostitute turned serial killer Aileen Wuornos, in Monster. Renowned film critic Roger Ebert in his review says that Theron gave ‘one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema’.

2019 Tehran, Iran bans dog walking in public, and driving with dogs.

2021 Nigerian farmers win landmark case against Shell at Court of Appeal of the Hague - held accountable for oil spills and ordered to carry out a clean-up in Delta region.

2023 Australian Open Men's Tennis: Novak Đoković beats Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 for his 10th AO and record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title, drawing level with Rafael Nadal. Đoković goes on to win another two before the year is out.