April 27, 2023

#ThrowbackThursday – 27 April

As one looks back on the elaborate rise and fall of nations, a sense of drama can unfold for the observer. And what is drama without a stunning soundtrack to highlight the twists and turns of life?

Join us as we look at the inspiring moments which took place on 27 April throughout history.

1810 – A Note Which Would Echo Around the World

In 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven was truly beginning to find his stride in the world of music. Based in Vienna, Austria, the composer had created a name for himself both locally and internationally.

On 27 April, Beethoven is believed to have composed his renowned score: “Für Elise”, also known as “For Elise” in English. However, the musician elected to not make the piece public, stashing it away amongst his other belongings where it would stay for the rest of his life, which came to an end 17 years later, in 1827. The composition remained undiscovered for another 40 years, until 1867, when it was published.

During this time, Beethoven struggled with hearing loss and incredibly enough, some of his best known pieces of work were written during his final years when he was considered completely deaf.

The elaborate piece of music sparked considerable speculation amongst musicologists as they debated as to who the infamous “Elise” muse truly was. However, a more recent theory suggests that the piece was actually created for academic, Ludwig Nohl, and the original dedication for the piece was misread due to poor handwriting.

Unfortunately, the original manuscript has since been lost, leaving the true identity of Elise to the hallowed tombs of time.

1960 – Viva la Indépendance!

In a narrow strip between African nations Ghana and Benin, you’ll find the fierce nation of Togo. The country has a tumultuous history: having originally been home to the Ewe people, it was colonised by Germany in the late 1800s.

By the early 1900s, the French and British forces invaded the country, and took over as new, co-rulers of the people. For a while, the western part of the country was under the control of Britain while the eastern part was under the control of France.

The western portion of the country was merged with its neighbour – which was The Gold Coast at the time – and together, they formed what is now known as Ghana in 1957. The eastern portion of the country remained under French rule until it became an autonomous republic in 1956.

Elections held under the guidance of the United Nations in April 1958 made it clear that Togo favoured complete independence and rejected external ruling. Two years later, on 27 April 1960, the country was officially declared independent.

1994 – “A Democratic and Free Society”

Like its northern neighbour, South Africa has its own tumultuous history to be told, a significant portion of which is dominated by colonialism, segregation and white minority rule. In the mid 1600s, Dutch settlers arrived in the coastal region of what is now known as Cape Town, Western Cape. Nearly 200 years later, in the 1800s, British settlers arrived to stake their own claim on the land.

In 1948, an all-white National Party gained power of the government, implementing their own agenda upon the ruling of the country. Just two years later, the apartheid system became ingrained into the country’s laws and racial segregation was an enforceable point of society.

Resistance against the system took place in many forms across the years, of which one of the best known is renowned freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, who campaigned against the brutal regime alongside the African National Congress (ANC). Mandela was arrested for his efforts in 1962, and remained imprisoned for 27 years.

After significant campaigning and tense negotiations between the civilians and government, the first non-racial democratic elections were held in 1994, on 27 April. Of the country’s 22.7 million eligible voters, 19.7 million voted. The ANC won the election with 62.65% of the vote, placing Mandela in charge of the country that had once considered him their “most wanted fugitive”.

The 27th of April is currently an auspicious day for South Africans, who use the annual public holiday to contemplate the past, plan towards the future and gather with their neighbours on “Freedom Day”.

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