On this day, April 11

Supposedly bad behaviour costs Julian Assange his asylum. Picture: Reuters

Supposedly bad behaviour costs Julian Assange his asylum. Picture: Reuters

Published Apr 11, 2024


The Boers lose two of their heroes, trial of the ‘banality of evil’ begins, nuking the Chinese a step too far, Proteas fire their captain for match fixing, and Julian Assange’s bad behaviour gets him booted out of his hidey hole

1809 A less than satisfactory British victory over the French fleet at the Battle of the Basque Roads leads to the court-martial of James, Lord Gambier.

1838 Zulu warriors ambush and kill Boer hero Piet Uys, his son, Dirkie, and seven others at Italeni.

1902 The last major battle of the Anglo-Boer War occurs in Rooiwal Valley, near Klerksdorp – 2 600 mounted Boers attack 11 000 British in an entrenched hillside position and, not surprisingly, lose.

1905 The Victoria Falls Bridge and railway line are completed, linking Zambia to Zimbabwe.

1938 Captain Charles Barnard begins a record-breaking flight from London to Cape Town. What today takes 11 hours, took him took 91 hours and 20 minutes.

1951 US President Harry Truman fires his top general in Korea, war hero General Douglas MacArthur, because of insubordination and a desire to nuke the Chinese. Truman – not a man to tolerate fools gladly – had put up with a lot of grief from MacArthur, but that was the last straw.

1961 The widely publicised trial of one of the Holocaust’s major organisers, Adolf Eichmann, who was plucked from hiding in Argentina by secret agents, begins in Jerusalem. Later found guilty and hanged, prosecutors would hear that Eichmann – described as the ‘banality of evil’ – said he would ‘leap laughing into the grave because five million people on his conscience was a source of satisfaction’.

1980 Dr Canaan Banana is selected as the first president of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

1981 A riot in Brixton, London, leaves almost 300 police and 65 civilians injured.

2000 South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje is sacked by the Proteas because of match-fixing allegations.

2019 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is forcibly removed by police from Ecuador’s London embassy where had sought asylum for the past 7 years. He is arrested for failure to appear in court on US extradition charges. His expulsion comes after his hosts say their patience had “reached its limit” with Assange’s “discourteous and aggressive behaviour”.

2019 Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is overthrown and arrested by the army in Khartoum after 29 years in power.

2021 In an unusual occurrence, Cyclone Seroja makes landfall in Western Australia near the town of Kalbarri with winds up to 170km/h and causing considerable damage. (It’s rare for cyclones to strike the east coast of continents.)