African National Congress (ANC) was a political party in South Africa founded in 1912 dedicated to eliminating apartheid. The National Party banned the ANC, which resorted to violent tactics of sabotage and guerilla warfare. Many members, including Nelson Mandela were imprisoned for treason. On February 2nd, South African President F.W. de Klerk progressive as a leader lifted the ban on the ANC, releasing Mandela from prison and marking the beginning of the end of apartheid. Mandela would later become president of the ANC and subsequently the first black President of South Africa.

Other notable events on February 2nd:

In 1943, the Battle of Stalingrad ends, after the Germans surrender to the Soviets.

In 1887, the first Groundhog Day is held, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

In 1852 the first (men’s) public flushing toilet, the “Public Waiting Room”, is opened in London.

Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall – on 22 June 1990. – UN Photo/Pernaca Sudhakaran