Daniel François Malan

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Daniel François Malan
DFMalanPortret.jpg
Prime Minister of South Africa
In office
4 June 1948 – 30 November 1954
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Governor General Gideon Brand van Zyl
Ernest George Jansen
Preceded by Jan Smuts
Succeeded by Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom
Minister of the Interior, Education and Public Health
In office
30 June 1924 – 20 May 1933
Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog
Preceded by Patrick Duncan
Succeeded by Jan Hofmeyr
Personal details
Born (1874-05-22)22 May 1874
Riebeek-Wes, Cape Colony
Died 7 February 1959(1959-02-07) (aged 84)
Stellenbosch, Cape Province, South Africa
Political party National Party
Spouse(s) Maria
Alma mater University of Stellenbosch
University of Utrecht
Profession Clergyman
Religion Dutch Reformed

Daniel François Malan (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈdɑːnijəl frɐnˈswɑː mɑːˈlɐn]; 22 May 1874 – 7 February 1959), more commonly known as D. F. Malan, was the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1948 to 1954. He is seen as a champion of Afrikaner nationalism. His National Party government came to power on the program of apartheid and began its comprehensive implementation.

Biography[edit]

Malan was born in Riebeek-Wes in the Cape Colony. He obtained a B.A. in Music and Science from the Victoria College in Stellenbosch, whereafter he entered the Stellenbosch seminary in order to train as a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. Along with his studies in theology, he obtained a M.A. in Philosophy from Victoria College, later to be Paul Roos Gymnasium and the University of Stellenbosch. Malan left South Africa in 1900 to study towards a Doctorate in Divinity at the University of Utrecht, which he obtained in 1905. After his return to South Africa, he was ordained as a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and served for six months as an assistant-minister in Heidelberg, Transvaal. He was an ardent fighter for the acceptance of Afrikaans, which was an emerging language fighting against Dutch and English, and was a founding member of the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV - The Afrikaans Language and Cultural Society), which was established in 1930. He was stationed in Montagu from 1906 to 1912 and thereafter in Graaff-Reinet until 1915. He also undertook a journey on behalf of the Dutch Reformed Church, visiting religious Afrikaners living in the Belgian Congo and Southern Rhodesia.

Political career[edit]

Malan's involvement in National Party politics began shortly after the NP's formation in 1914. In those years, political parties had affiliated newspapers that served as their mouthpiece. However, Nationalist-minded Afrikaners in the Cape had no such outlet and therefore, in 1915, decided to found De Burger, which later became known as Die Burger. They persuaded Malan to become the editor of the new newspaper and, as he was worried about the Afrikaners' political position in the aftermath of the 1914 Rebellion, he relinquished his position as a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church to accept the position. The Cape branch of the National Party was founded in 1915 and Malan was elected as its provincial leader. In 1918, he was elected to Parliament for the first time as MP for the Calvinia constituency. He held that seat until 1938, when he became the MP for Piketberg.

When the National Party came to power for the first time in 1924, Malan was given the post of Minister of the Interior, Education and Public Health, which he held until 1933. In 1925, he was at the forefront of a campaign to replace Dutch with Afrikaans in the constitution and provide South Africa with its own national flag.

After the 1933 election, the United Party was formed out of the fusion of Hertzog's National Party and the rival South African Party of Jan Smuts. Malan strongly opposed this merger and, in 1934, he and 19 other MPs defected to form the Purified National Party, which he led for the next 14 years as the opposition.

Malan opposed South African participation in World War II. South Africa's participation in the conflict was unpopular among the Afrikaner population and in 1939 that led to a split in the governing United Party. The defectors united with the National Party, dramatically strengthening Malan's political position, and he consequently defeated Smuts and the United Party in the 1948 election.

The foundations of apartheid were firmly laid during Malan's six-and-a-half years as prime minister. Although the system was officially dismantled in 1994, the legacy of apartheid continues to have an impact in South Africa. Malan retired in 1954 at the age of 80, but in the succession-battle that accompanied his retirement, his anointed heirs, N. C. Havenga and T. E. Donges, were defeated and Malan was succeeded by J. G. Strijdom.

Malan died in 1959 at Môrewag, his home in Stellenbosch. His book, Afrikaner Volkseenheid en my ervaringe op die pad daarheen ("Afrikaner Nationalism and my experiences on the road to it"), was published in the same year by Nasionale Boekhandel. A collection of his writings and documents is housed in the Document Centre at the University of Stellenbosch's J.S. Gericke library.

He is positioned 81st on the SABC3's Great South Africans list.

The surname[edit]

The progenitor of the Malan name in the South African region was a French Huguenot refugee named Jacques Malan from Provence (Mérindol), France, who arrived at the Cape before 1689.[1] The Malan name is one of a number of Afrikaans names of French origin which have retained their original spelling.

Malania anjouanae[edit]

In 1952 J. L. B. Smith was told about a coelacanth that had just been landed by fishermen at Anjouan and recognised by an adventurer called Eric Hunt. He had persuaded them that the fish was worth a lot of money and should not be sold to anyone other than the South African government. This would be only the second specimen known to science. The first specimen identified by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer was preserved only as a skin, so Smith needed to collect this new specimen and get it refrigerated quickly so that the internal organs would not decay. His local MP, Vernon Shearer, telephoned Malan and together with Smith persuaded him to send the South African Air Force to fetch the fish and bring it back to South Africa. Because the second specimen differed from the first one in two key ways, it lacked the first dorsal fin and its tail fin was truncated, Smith named the fish in honour of Malan and the place where the fish was caught, Malania anjouanae.[1] Eventually it was established that this was not a different species at all, and exactly the same fish as the first specimen, Latimeria chalumnae; the apparent differences were down to a shark attack that cost the fish one of its dorsal fins and part of its tail.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Les Français Qui Ont Fait L'Afrique Du Sud ("The French People Who Made South Africa"). Bernard Lugan. January 1996. ISBN 2-84100-086-9

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Weinberg, Samantha, A Fish Caught in Time: the Search for the Coelacanth, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006, pp. 63–82.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jan Smuts
Prime Minister of South Africa
1948–1954
Succeeded by
Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom