1 – The use of Dutch is officially allowed in the Cape Colony's parliament.
14 – The Ohrigstad area in the Lydenburg district of Transvaal is proclaimed as a public gold field after the discovery of gold in the Selati River.
5 – New Rush is renamed Kimberley.
20 – Prime Minister John Molteno begins construction of the new Cape Eastern railway line from East London.
4 – The HMS Challenger, on its worldwide marine research expedition, is officially welcomed in Cape Town.
Griqualand West is established as a separate British colony
In the Cape Colony, a massive increase in public works leads to a large and sustained influx of immigrant labour over the ensuing years.
The University of South Africa is founded in Cape Town, as the University of the Cape of Good Hope.
The Cape Government establishes the first district boarding schools to educate children from rural areas. Education is also standardised at the Cape and moved away from purely rote learning.
The town of East London is officially established through the proclaimed merger of the three settlements of Panmure, East London and East London East.
Warmbad is established as Hartingsburg at the hot springs north of Pretoria.
13 August – Cornelis Jacobus Langenhoven, playwright, poet, journalist, politician and author of the South African anthem "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika", is born near Ladismith in the Cape Colony. (d. 1932)
20 August – William Henry Bell, musician, composer and first director of the South African College of Music, is born in St Albans, southern Hertfordshire, England. (d. 1946)
10 September – Daniël de Waal, judge president of the Transvaal, is born in Stellenbosch.
1 May – David Livingstone is found dead on his knees beside his bed at Lake Bangweolo.
Namaqualand – Muishondfontein to Kookfontein, 15 miles (24.1 kilometres).
Two Cape gauge 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotives enter service at Port Elizabeth on the Midland System of the Cape Government Railways. They are the first Cape gauge locomotives to enter service in South Africa.
East London's first steam locomotive is landed at East London Harbour, a 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) Brunel gauge 0-4-0 vertical boiler engine acquired for work on breakwater construction.
1873 in South Africa Wikipedia