10 things about South Africa’s history that will make you feel super old


Before the internet, the only real reminders of time passing were our children’s birthdays, friends you hadn’t seen in forever, and changing landscapes. 

These days though, there is no shortage of blast-from-the-past lists to remind us that the first smartphone was released eleven years ago, or that kids today actually believe floppy disks are 3D print versions of the save icon (true story). 

And then there’s always the fact that most 2-year-olds are mastering the same technology most adults struggle to comprehend to keep you real. 

But we're a nostalgic bunch, us humans. So if you’re not idolising the past, are you even alive? 

Here are a few South African facts to rehash warm feelings of days gone by – perhaps even of the time before you had kids (remember that?) – while simultaneously making you feel old. You’re welcome! 

1. This year marks the 28th anniversary of the release of one of SA’s most iconic figures: the dearly departed Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned for 27 years at the time of his release. 

2. It’s been 42 years since South African audiences were first introduced to television in January 1976. 


Feeling old? (If you were wondering, this is Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, 1962.)

3. The national beauty pageant, Miss South Africa, is 62 years old. Last year’s winner, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, is the second South African representative in history to win the Miss Universe title (the first was Margaret Gardiner in 1978).

We also had 3 Miss Worlds: Penny Coelen (1958), Anneline Kriel (1974) and Rolene Strauss (2014).

4. Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 1 was released in South Africa 34 years ago, and we’re currently on Now! Vol. 75. 

5. It’s been 26 years since Egoli, South Africa’s first daily soapy was aired, and 8 years since it wrapped in 2010. 

6. The original Nokia 3310 turns 18 this year, first launched 1 September 2000. An updated version (although still not a smartphone) was released in May 2017 in South Africa. 

7. It’s been 31 years since the beloved kiddies programme Pumpkin Patch first graced our screens. 31 years!

8. The year 2002 marked the first time South Africans got to try out for the television show Pop Idols. Heinz Winckler, SA’s first winner, was the second to take the title after American singer, Kelly Clarkson. This happened 16 years ago. 

9. It’s been 11 years since South African audiences said goodbye to M-Net’s Open Time. 

10. Hakeem Kae-Kazim, the actor from the infamous Fresca ads, turns 56 this year. 


What makes you feel old? Tell us in the comments section below. 

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