Key Events in History for Your Wedding Speech

Welcome to the key events section on Hitched. Using a key event that relates to the bride or groom, such as something that occurred in their year of birth, is a great starting point for a speech, and gives you something to work from.

Browse Events by Year

Key Events in 1960

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  • British Prime Minister Harold Macmillian makes the ‘Winds of Change’ speech in Cape Town
  • Following a referendum, the population votes to sever ties with the British Monarchy and become a republic
  • Mark Mathabane, an author and tennis player, is born

Key Events in 1961

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  • South Africa becomes a republic
  • Charles Robberts Swart becomes the first State President of South Africa
  • The Nobel Peace Prize is won by Dr Albert Luthuli, the president of the African National Congress

Key Events in 1962

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  • Nelson Mandela is arrested whilst in the Natal Province
  • The maximum security prison on Robben Island is completed
  • Ebrahim Rasool, premier of the Western Cape, is born in Cape Town

Key Events in 1963

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  • Indian golfer Sewsunker ‘Papwa’ Sewgolum wins the Natal Open tournament
  • Artist Justice Sfiso Mkame is born in Durban
  • The first electric locomotives to be built in quantity in South Africa are placed in mainline service

Key Events in 1964

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  • The University of Port Elizabeth is established
  • Nelson Mandela is awarded the Joliot-Curie Gold Medal for Peace
  • The Mahotella Queens singing group is put together by Rupert Bopape for Gallo Record Company

Key Events in 1965

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  • Rhodes University, Grahamstown, becomes the first university in South Africa to install a computer
  • The African National Congress political party establishes headquarters in Morogoro, Tanzania
  • Politician Angela Thoko Didiza is born in Durban

Key Events in 1966

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  • American Senator Robert Kennedy visits South Africa
  • B. J. Vorster becomes the eighth Prime Minister
  • Marathon runner David Tsebe is born

Key Events in 1967

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  • The Northern Transvaal records its first snowfall, as it snows in the Transvaal
  • The world’s first heart transplant takes place at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. Professor Christiaan Barnard operates
  • Jozua Francois Naude becomes State President of South Africa, the second person to hold the position

Key Events in 1968

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  • Jacobus Johannes Fouche is the third State President of South Africa
  • Andy Flower, Zimbabwean Test Cricket player, is born in Cape Town
  • The South African Bureau of State Security is formed

Key Events in 1969

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  • Dorothy Fisher becomes the first woman to receive a heart transplant by Professor Christiaan Barnard. She is the fifth heart transplant patient
  • Cricketers Derek Crookes and Wessel Johannes ‘Hansie’ Cronje are born

Key Events in 1970

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  • The Springboks draws with Ireland 8-8 in Ireland
  • The first Chief Executive Officer of the new Bantustan of KwaZulu is elected; Mangosuthu Buthelezi holds the position
  • Poet and novelist Phaswane Mpe is born

Key Events in 1971

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  • The turtle beaches and coral reefs of Maputaland and St. Lucia Lake are listed by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
  • Radio DJ Alan Khan is born
  • World champion boxer Mzukisi Sikali is born

Key Events in 1972

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  • Lead singer of rock band Springbok Nude Girls, Arno Carstens, is born
  • Author Lawrence George Green dies in Cape Town
  • Max Theiler, first South African recipient of a Nobel Prize, dies in America

Key Events in 1973

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  • Anglican priest, Michael Lapsley, comes to South Africa
  • Actress Nathalie Boltt is born
  • Bela Bela is established north of Pretoria at the hot springs

Key Events in 1974

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  • The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith is signed by Harry Schwarz and Mangosuthu Buthelezi
  • The Rosenkowitz sextuplets are born in Cape Town – the first sextuplets to be born in the world where all six survived
  • The British and Irish Lions began a 22 match rugby tour of South Africa

Key Events in 1975

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  • The government announces all black children will receive a free and compulsory education
  • Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs becomes the 4th State President of South Africa

Key Events in 1976

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  • The country’s first television service is started by the SABC
  • South Africa national rugby union team captain, Robert Brian Skinstad, is born

Key Events in 1977

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  • The South African Grand takes place at Kyalami
  • Football player Benni McCarthy is born
  • Sculptor Moses Kottler dies in Johannesburg

Key Events in 1978

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  • Pieter Willem Botha becomes the 9th Prime Minister of South Africa
  • Previous Prime Minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster becomes 6th State President
  • Rugby player John Smit is born

Key Events in 1979

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  • The National Council of Lawyers for Human Rights is established
  • Jody Scheckter is Formula One World Champion
  • Harry Haart, athlete, dies

Key Events in 1980

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  • Glamour model Cassidy Cruise is born in Durban
  • Thompson Magawana wins his first national title in the men’s marathon in Faure

Key Events in 1981

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  • Mark Plaatjes wins his first national title in the men’s marathon in Potchefstroom
  • The Sprinboks beat Ireland twice
  • Iain Evans, field hockey player, is born

Key Events in 1982

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  • Swaziland and South Africa sign a pact of non-aggression
  • The Prime Minister of South Africa and President of Zambia meet on the Botswana border meet to discuss South Africa and South West Africa’s political situation

Key Events in 1983

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  • The United Democratic Front is launched
  • Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana, Springboks rugby players, are born
  • Former Prime Minister John Vorster dies

Key Events in 1984

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  • Mozambique and South Africa sign non-aggression treaty the Nkomati Accord
  • Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Key Events in 1985

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  • Nelson Mandela rejects an offer of conditional release
  • Divan Van Der Merwe, guitarist, is born
  • Mark Plaatjes wins his second national title in the men’s marathon

Key Events in 1986

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  • Michael Hawthorne is born
  • Pass books are abolished
  • Moses Mabhida dies in exile

Key Events in 1987

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  • Desmond Tutu and other religious leaders hold talks with the African National Congress in Zimbabwe
  • Malawi and South Africa sign an agreement which will allow nurses from Malawi to train in South Africa
  • Bulelani Ngcuka joins the United Democratic Front

Key Events in 1988

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  • South Africa’s first email link to the internet is established at Rhodes University, Grahamstown
  • Nelson Mandela is moved to Victor Verster Prison
  • PJ Powers was banned from TV and radio for one year

Key Events in 1989

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  • State President P. W. Botha has a mild stroke
  • A peace march arranged by Cape Town city mayor Gordon Oliver is attended by 100,000 people
  • The four tunnel Hex River Tunnels system becomes operational

Key Events in 1990

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  • State President F. W. de Klerk announces the beginning of the negotiated transition to end apartheid.
  • Nelson Mandela is released after serving 27 years in jail
  • The state of emergency is South Africa is lifted after 10 years

Key Events in 1991

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  • The Population Registration Act is repealed
  • South Africa’s suspension from the International Olympic Committee is lifted
  • The great white shark is granted full protection under South African law

Key Events in 1992

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  • The internet domain is created
  • The Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize is jointly awarded to Nelson Mandela and President F. W. de Klerk
  • Olympic swimmer Chad le Clos is born

Key Events in 1993

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  • The Nobel Peace Prize is jointly awarded to President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela
  • An Indian diplomatic culture centre is opened in Johannesburg
  • In New Delhi a South African diplomatic mission is opened

Key Events in 1994

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  • The Nokia 2110 is launched in South Africa and costs R4,199 to buy
  • South Africa’s new national flag is unveiled
  • Nelson Mandela is sworn in as the first post-apartheid President of South Africa

Key Events in 1995

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  • Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit South Africa
  • The Constitutional Court abolishes capital punishment
  • Desmond Tutu is appointed chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation commission