2006 in Culture

Tsotsi wins the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The stars, Terry Pheto and Presley Chweneyagae, along with director Gavin Hood, attend the ceremony.

Beloved South African artist, Tsakani “TK” Mhinga who was affectionately referred to as Black Butterfly, dies at 27. Each of Mhinga’s albums, TKO, Tsakani and Black Butterfly were South African Music Award (Sama) -winning projects.

Thula Sindi begins his eponymous fashion brand with a show at South Africa Fashion Week.

Brickz is named the best newcomer at the 12th annual South African Music Award

As we celebrate a decade of the Afropolitan, nostalgia hits, we look back at the year that was 2006. From the good, all the way to the controversial. 

The music legends Miriam Makeba, Caiphus Semenya and Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse perform at the 7th annual Cape Town International Jazz Fest. The festival is billed Makeba’s “grand finale tour”.

Oxford word of the Year:

The Oxford dictionaries UK select “bovvered,” a word that grew in popularity after appearing in a popular sketch on The Catherine Tate Show, as their annual word of the year It becomes a popular catchphrase and “Am I bovvered?” is all the rage that year.

New Oxford American dictionaries pick carbon-neutral as their word of the year, which is a reflection on the rise of “green” talk in the United States.

Both these words, though reflective of culture, are a long way from 2015’s word of the year, which wasn’t even a word. The “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji came up tops in 2015 and became the first pictograph to be the Oxford word of the year.


2006 in Politics

Former South African deputy president, Jacob Zuma, is acquitted of rape charges.

At the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Zuma’s corruption trial is struck off the roll. This puts him in a prime spot for the ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane the following year.

President Thabo Mbeki hosts Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Cape Town in what is the first state visit by a Russian leader.

2006 in Society

South Africa passes the civil unions act on November 30, 2006, effectively legalising same-sex marriage. It becomes only the fifth country in the world to do so. Today, same sex marriages are legal in 21 other countries.

Two accused in the “Boeremag” treason trial escape from North Gauteng High Court. Back in 2002, eight bombs were set off in Soweto, seven went off in trains. Almost two weeks after the bombings, a right-wing white supremacist group called Boeremag claimed responsibility for the terrorist acts.

The Boeremag treason trialists were eventually sentenced in 2013.

2006 in the Economy

In Cape Town, the 16th World Economic Forum on Africa takes place and is attended by delegates from 39 countries.

The South African rand averages R6.77 against the US dollar and R13 against the British Pound.

The rand is currently battling to make a recovery after hitting all-time lows against the US dollar in late 2015 after the cabinet reshuffle now termed “Nenegate.” During this period, the rand hit a record low of about R17.

2006 in Science

The International Astronomical Union demotes Pluto as a planet and reassigns it new “dwarf planet” status. Scientists decide that Pluto is far too small to count as a planet, another factor that works against its planet status is that it cannot clear objects in its path.

In 2016, astronomers are back to debating Pluto’s status and majority are saying it should be reinstated as a planet.

2006 in controversy

Herschelle Gibbs is questioned in connection in Mumbai India with regard to his role in the match-fixing scandal of 2000 that involved the Proteas during their tour of India. Gibbs admits to receiving an offer twice through then captain, Hansie Cronje.

Deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge makes policy changes in the ministry while the department’s minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is ill. Government announces that antiretroviral treatment is to be made available at public health facilities. This is a move in a different direction from President Mbeki and Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang’s previous stance on treatment, which was often referred to as HIV/Aids denialism.

Mbeki releases a series of public writings, colloquially termed the “Mbeki Letters.” In one of these letters he denies ever disputing that HIV caused Aids.