Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom
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|Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom|
|6th Prime Minister of South Africa|
30 November 1954 – 24 August 1958
|Preceded by||Daniel François Malan|
|Succeeded by||Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd|
14 July 1893|
Klipfontein, Cape Colony
|Died||24 August 1958
Cape Town, South Africa
|Resting place||Heroes' Acre, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa|
|Political party||National Party|
|Spouse(s)||Susan de Klerk|
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Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom, (also spelled Strydom) commonly called JG Strydom or Hans Strydom (14 July 1893 – 24 August 1958), nicknamed the Lion of the North, was Prime Minister of South Africa from 30 November 1954 to 24 August 1958. He was an uncompromising Afrikaner nationalist, and a proponent of segregation that led the way to the establishment of the system of Apartheid.
He was born on the family farm Klipfontein near Willowmore in Cape Colony and trained as a lawyer at Victoria College (which later became the University of Stellenbosch) and the University of Pretoria.
Strijdom later settled in Nylstroom, Transvaal. He identified strongly with this area and its people and became a local community leader among the Afrikaners. In 1929, Strijdom was elected to the House of Assembly as MP for Waterberg, representing the National Party (NP) headed by General J.B.M. Hertzog. Strijdom was also leader of the NP in Transvaal, by far the most important province of South Africa, and as such had a strong power base.
After the National Party of J.B.M. Hertzog merged with the South African Party of General Jan Smuts and formed the United Party (UP) during the World Economic Crisis in 1932, Strijdom was part of the break-away faction of the National Party, named the Gesuiwerde Nasionale Party (Purified National Party). Later, after the United Party was formed, the GNP became known as the (Reunited) National Party under the leadership of Dr. D. F. Malan. Malan, Strijdom and their followers distrusted Smuts and opposed his pro-British policy. Most of the National Party's MPs stayed with Hertzog, and as Strijdom was loyal to Malan, he was the only MP from Transvaal to support Malan's ideals.
After the surprising victory of the National Party in 1948, won on the program of implementing a strict program of apartheid or ethnic segregation and white minority rule, Malan became Prime Minister of South Africa and Strijdom became Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. Although it was not one of the classic portfolios, it was apparently Strijdom's choice since he had a keen interest in agriculture and was a part-time farmer. Strijdom was not so pleased with the portfolio although he was fond of farming. Malan gave him the portfolio because his young wife disliked Strijdom. That was also why Malan tried his best to get Nicolaas Havenga to succeed him as Prime Minister, rather than Strijdom.
On 30 November 1954, he was elected leader of the National Party and became Prime Minister of South Africa after the resignation of Malan and against the latter's will, who preferred the more moderate Havenga, Minister of Finance, as his successor. However, Strijdom was popular among NP party members and people trusted him to push things smoothly forward towards a republic, something Malan was considered to be only luke-warm about. During Strijdom's term as Prime Minister, he moved full steam ahead to remove ties with the British Empire and deepened the Afrikaner ascendency in South Africa, while strengthening the policy of apartheid.
With regard to racial policies, he believed strongly in the perpetuation of white minority rule and during his term "Coloured" voters were removed from the common voters roll and put on a separate Coloured voters roll, something that Malan started to do but could not push through. The extended Treason Trial of 156 activists (including Nelson Mandela) involved in the Freedom Charter, happened during Strijdom's term in office. He also managed to further extend the NP's parliamentary seats during the general election in 1957. Strijdom's government also severed diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
During his last year in office, his weak health (thought to be cancer) led to long terms of absence and he died on 24 August 1958 in Cape Town and is buried in Pretoria in the Heroes' Acre.
His father Petrus Strijdom was a very well known farmer and innovator in the Baviaanskloof where Strijdom was born. He owned three farms in the kloof of which the main farm was Sandvlakte on which the local school, church and shop was sited. He owned businesses and shops right down to the Gamtoos valley (birthplace of the well known Koi woman Saartjie Baardman). He also sold Baboon fur and manufactured shoes and soap amongst other products.
JG Strijdom was known for being very dedicated, absolutely honest and incorruptible, but also stubborn and not open for change of course. He was nicknamed The Lion of the North, because he could be rather frightening as a political opponent.
He was briefly married to the actress Margaretha van Hulsteyn, but they divorced within a year. His second wife was Susan de Klerk, aunt of future President F W de Klerk. Two children were born to Strijdom by his second wife, Johannes and Estelle. Susan Strijdom died in 1999 and Estelle (Crowson) in 2009.
There are still various monuments dedicated to him in South Africa. One monument in central Pretoria, which featured his bust, collapsed in 2001 injuring two people. His house in Modimolle (formerly Nylstroom) is now a museum, which holds parts of the collapsed bust. Perhaps most notably the Hillbrow Tower in Johannesburg was officially named the J.G. Strijdom Tower until 1995 shortly after the conclusion of apartheid when it was renamed the Telkom Hillbrow Tower.
In the western suburb of Johannesburg, i.e. the suburb of Weltevreden Park, there is a road named JG Strijdom Road, which is named after him. Johannesburg also has a suburb called Strijdompark named after him.
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- "Historical Notes: A University in the Making". Stellenbosch University. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- Von Zeil, G. 'A South African Prime Minister's Medal' in Journal of the Military Medal Society of South Africa No 42 (August 2003).
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- Denis Worral; Ben Roux; Marcus Arkin; Peter Harris; Gerrit Olivier; John Barratt (1977) . Denis Worral, ed. South Africa: Government and Politics (Second revised (1975), second print (1977) ed.). J.L. van Schaik Ltd. p. 202.
- Denis Worral; Ben Roux; Marcus Arkin; Peter Harris; Gerrit Olivier; John Barratt (1977) . Denis Worral, ed. South Africa: Government and Politics (Second revised (1975), second print (1977) ed.). J.L. van Schaik Ltd. p. 201.
- "South Africa: Movement towards a Republic – JG Strijdom". South African History Online. Retrieved 25 March 2010.[dead link]
- "The Development & Formation of the South African Republic". South African History Online. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- "A lady who worried about Donald's shirts". Independent Online. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2010.[dead link]
- "Strijdom bust carted off to 'place of safety'". Independent Online. 26 February 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- Maxwell Leigh (1986). Touring in Southern Africa (First ed.). C. Struik Publishers. p. 156.
- JG Strijdom Shrubland & Field
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom.|
- Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom at Find a Grave
- Photograph of J.G. Strijdom with D.F. Malan and P.O. Sauer taken in 1948 (From LIBSpace, the digital repository of Stellenbosch University)
- Signed 1951 photograph of D.F Malan, J. G. Strijdom and C. R. Swart
Daniel François Malan
|Prime Minister of South Africa
Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd