Monday, September 30, 2013

This Day in History: Sep 30, 1931: Start of "Die Voortrekkers" youth movement for Afrikaners in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

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 The founding of the Voortrekkers coincided with the growth of Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa, then a member of the British Commonwealth. In some ways it was an Afrikaans-language alternative to the largely English-speaking Boy Scout movement, with its British heritage.

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The original concept of a youth movement amongst Afrikaners was formulated by Dr. C.F. Visser in 1913 in Bloemfontein. Dr. Visser appealed to the directors of the Boy Scout Movement (founded in 1907) to allow the Voortrekkers to be incorporated into the "broader church" under one international umbrella but this venture failed. The Scouts were in the main speakers of English and differences about the role of language lead to difficulties. There were further complications hinging upon religious declarations or beliefs and no agreement could be reached. The values and principles of the Voortrekker organisation were perceived, at the time, to be more nationalistic and religious in tone than those of the Scouting Movement programme.

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In 1920, the first “Kommando” of the Voortrekkers (English equivalent: "Troop") was established in Bloemfontein at the Central High School. In 1923 two more kommandos were founded in Graaf Reinet (lead by “Oom Japie Heese”) and in Niewoutsville (with “Oom Laubie” as leader). (Note: the term "Oom" in Afrikaans ("Uncle") is, amongst other things, an honorific and is equivalent to the "Colonel" in "Colonel Saunders" of KFC).

The official establishment of the Voortrekker movement dates from 30 September, 1931. (This is distinct from the early endeavours of the informal movement established by Dr. C.F. Visser (also called “Vader (Father) Visser”, because he was seen as the father of the movement)). Dr. N.J. van der Merwe bacame the first "Hoofleier" (Chief leader) of the movement. Gen. J.B.M. Hertzog welcomed the first official Voortrekkers in the movement.


Construction of Voortrekker Monument. Photos from Vermeulen, I. (1999). Man en Monument; Die lewe en werk van Gerard Moerdijk. J.L. van Schaik Publishers.

In 1939, the Voortekkers took part in the laying of the foundation stone at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. This event was widely celebrated by Voortrekkers and other Afrikaners, who walked with burning torches in many locations in South Africa.



In 1940, Dr. C.F. Visser became the leader of the Voortrekkers. The members of the organisation celebrated the completion of the Voortrekker monument in 1949. They also contributed to the festival of van Riebeeck in Cape Town in 1952, where the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in Table Bay in 1652 was commemorated.



Dr. J. de V. Heese (“Oom Japie”) became the new leader of the Voortrekkers in 1959. He had previously served as the General Secretary of the movement. Heese died in 1966.!BbvsG1gBWk~$(KGrHqIH-CwEquPpfn0oBK)cZ0!06Q~~_35.JPG


 David Goldblatt. 'At a meeting of Voortrekkers in the suburb of Witfield' 1979-1980

In 1966, “Oom Badie Badenhorst”, was elected as leader of the Voortrekkers. During his term of office the Voortrekkers contributed to the inauguration of the monument at Bloedrivier between 13-17 December 1971 as well as the inauguration of the Taalmonument (Afrikaans language monument) in Paarl on the 10th of October 1975. The first “President's Verkenners” received their badges from State President C.R. Swart.




Prof. C.W.J. (“Oom Carel”) Boshoff was the leader during this period. This was a time of serious discord and argument among Afrikaners about Apartheid. Some believed that Apartheid was right and others felt that it was wrong. These upheavals were bound to affect the Voortrekker movement in the end.



Ds. (Reverend) J.P.L. (“Oom Johan”) van der Walt was elected as leader for the Voortrekkers in 1989. The Voortrekkers started to transform the movement in 1989, adapting its constitution for a changing South Africa.



At the Voortrekker’s national congress at Hartenbos in 1997, Prof Tom Dreyer was elected as new leader until 2001. During his term, the old-fashioned and formal uniform, was replaced with a modern Voortrekker uniform.


During the congress of 2001 in Pretoria, the eighth leader of the Voortrekker, Prof. TP Strauss (“oom Piet”) was elected.

Constant adaptations was made and is still made, to transform the Voortrekkers to a more modern youth movement for Afrikaners.

At the congress of 2005, Prof Strauss was once again elected as leader for the next four years. In 2009 he was again elected for the leader of the Voortrekkers.

In July 2013, there was elections at the congress in Pretoria for a new leader for the Voortrekkers, as Prof. Strauss already served the maximum period as a leader for The Voortrekkers. the new leader elected was Dr. Danie Langner.

taken from: [30.09.2013]

This Day in History: Sep 30, 2004: The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.

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The first photographs of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken on 30 September 2004, by Tsunemi Kubodera (National Science Museum of Japan) and Kyoichi Mori (Ogasawara Whale Watching Association).[2] Their teams had worked together for nearly two years to accomplish this. They used a five-ton fishing boat and only two crew members. The images were created on their third trip to a known sperm whale hunting ground 970 km (600 mi) south of Tokyo, where they had dropped a 900-m (3000-ft) line baited with squid and shrimp. The line also held a camera and a flash. After over 20 tries that day, an 8 m (26 ft) giant squid attacked the lure and snagged its tentacle. The camera took over 500 photos before the squid managed to break free after four hours. The squid's 5.5 m (18 ft) tentacle remained attached to the lure. Later DNA tests confirmed the animal as a giant squid.[2]

Giant Squid on the Line

Giant Squid on the Line

Giant Squid on the Line

On 27 September 2005, Kubodera and Mori released the photographs to the world. The photo sequence, taken at a depth of 900 metres (3,000 ft) off Japan's Ogasawara Islands, shows the squid homing in on the baited line and enveloping it in "a ball of tentacles". The researchers were able to locate the likely general location of giant squid by closely tailing the movements of sperm whales. According to Kubodera, "we knew that they fed on the squid, and we knew when and how deep they dived, so we used them to lead us to the squid." Kubodera and Mori reported their observations in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.[2]

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Among other things, the observations demonstrate actual hunting behaviors of adult Architeuthis, a subject on which there had been much speculation. The photographs showed an aggressive hunting pattern by the baited squid, leading to it impaling a tentacle on the bait ball's hooks. This may disprove the theory that the giant squid is a drifter which eats whatever floats by, rarely moving so as to conserve energy. It seems the species has a much more aggressive feeding technique.

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First video of live adult

In November 2006, American explorer and diver Scott Cassell led an expedition to the Sea of Cortez with the aim of filming a giant squid in its natural habitat. The team employed a novel filming method: using a Humboldt squid carrying a specially designed camera clipped to its fin. The camera-bearing squid caught on film what was claimed to be a giant squid, with an estimated length of 40 feet (12 m), engaging in predatory behavior.[42][43] The footage aired a year later on a History Channel program, MonsterQuest: Giant Squid Found.[43] Cassell subsequently distanced himself from this documentary, claiming that it contained multiple factual and scientific errors.[44]

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On 4 December 2006, an adult giant squid was caught on video near the Ogasawara Islands, 1,000 km (620 mi) south of Tokyo, by researchers from the National Science Museum of Japan led by Tsunemi Kubodera. It was a small female about 3.5 m (11 ft) long and weighing 50 kg (110 lb). The bait used by the scientists initially attracted a medium-sized squid measuring around 55 cm (22 in), which in turn attracted the giant squid. It was pulled aboard the research vessel, but died in the process.[45]

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In July 2012, a crew from television networks NHK and Discovery Channel captured what they describe as "the first-ever footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat".[4][46] The footage was revealed on a NHK Special on 13 January 2013,[47][48] and was shown on Discovery Channel's show Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real on 27 January 2013,[48][49] and on Giant Squid: Filming the Impossible – Natural World Special on BBC Two.[50] The squid was about 3 m (9.8 ft) long and was missing its feeding tentacles, likely from a failed attack by a sperm whale. It was drawn into viewing range by both artificial bioluminescence created to mimic panicking jellyfish and by using a Thysanoteuthis rhombus (diamond squid) as bait. The giant squid was filmed feeding for about 23 minutes by Tsunemi Kubodera until it departed.[51]


taken from: [30.09.2013]

This Day in History: Sep 30, 1955: James Dean dies

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On this day in 1955, movie star James Dean dies at age 24 in a car crash on a California highway. Dean was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed "Little Bastard," headed to a car race in Salinas, California, with his mechanic Rolf Wuetherich, when they were involved in a head-on collision with a car driven by a 23-year-old college student named Donald Turnaspeed. Dean was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:59 p.m. Wuetherich, who was thrown from the car, survived the accident and Turnaspeed escaped with minor injuries. No charges were ever filed against him.

James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana. He studied drama at the University of California, Los Angeles, before moving to New York City, where he appeared in plays and TV shows and took classes at the Actors Studio with legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg.

 James Dean as a cute baby

Dean rose to stardom in 1955 with his role as Cal Trask in East of Eden. He reportedly beat out Paul Newman for the part. Dean's performance in the film, based on the John Steinbeck novel, earned him a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. It was the first time in Oscar history that an actor was nominated after his death. The young actor's next film was "Rebel Without a Cause," also released in 1955, in which he played a rebellious teen named Jim Stark. The film, which co-starred Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, turned Dean into the poster boy for disaffected youth and cool. Dean's final film "Giant," released in 1956 after his death, was an epic tale of a Texas cattle rancher and his family. Dean starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson and was nominated posthumously for a second Oscar for his performance as Jett Rink.

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Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Dean's success as an actor enabled him to pursue his passion for racing cars and motorcycles. Despite his short life and brief acting career, he endures as a Hollywood icon. He is buried at Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana, where fans continue to flock to his grave every year. People also pay tribute to Dean at a memorial located near the accident site in Cholame, California.

Liz Taylor and James Dean on “Giant” set 1955 5 650x490 Liz Taylor and James Dean on “Giant” set, 1955

James Dean

Liz Taylor and James Dean on “Giant” set 1955 8 Liz Taylor and James Dean on “Giant” set, 1955

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Taken from: [30.09.2013]