Johannes Geldenhuys

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Johannes Geldenhuys
Johannes Jacobus Geldenhuys
Born(1935-02-05)5 February 1935
Kroonstad, South Africa
Died10 September 2018(2018-09-10) (aged 83)
George, South Africa
AllegianceSouth Africa
Service/branchSouth African Army
Years of service1954–1990
Commands heldChief of the South African Defence Force (1985–90)
Chief of the Army (1980–85)
South West Africa Territorial Force (1980)
South West Africa Command (1977–80)
Battles/warsSouth African Border War
AwardsStar of South Africa
Southern Cross Decoration
South African Police Star for Outstanding Service
Southern Cross Medal
Military Merit Medal

General Johannes Jacobus Geldenhuys, SSA, SD, SOE, SM, MMM (5 February 1935 – 10 September 2018)[1] was a South African military commander who served as Chief of the South African Defence Force from 1985 to 1990.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Geldenhuys was born in Kroonstad on 5 February 1935.[2] He would later matriculate from Hoërskool Voortrekker in Bethlehem, Orange Free State.[4]:1

Military career[edit]

He joined the army on 4 January 1954 as a candidate officer.[5]:19 Geldenhuys obtained a BMil from the University of Pretoria in 1956 before joining 1 Special Service Battalion.[6]:77[5]:19 In 1965, he was based in the South African Embassy in Luanda, Angola as a Vice-Consul, a position he held until 1968.[5]:19 In was appointed as Army Chief of Staff Intelligence and then Army Chief of Staff Operations.[5]:19 He went on to high command in the South African Army, serving as commander of South West Africa Command from 1977 until 1980, when he was briefly appointed as General Officer Commanding the South West African Territorial Force. Later in 1980, he became Chief of the Army. Geldenhuys was promoted to general and assumed the position of Chief of the South African Defence Force on 31 October 1985. In this role, he took part in negotiations that brought the Border War to an end in 1989, after 23 years of fighting.[3]


Geldenhuys died on 10 September 2018 due to the effects of Alzheimer's Disease.[4]:1[5]:18 He was survived by his wife Marié, daughters Anna-Marié, Lollie, son Bruwer with a predeceased son, Martin.[4]:1

Medals and decorations[edit]


  1. ^ Kolberg, Kristy (September 10, 2018). "RETIRED DEFENCE FORCE LEADER DIES". George Herald. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "5 February 1935: General Jannie Geldenhuys is born". SA Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Senior (High Office) Officers / Offisiere". SADF Info. Archived from the original on 23 March 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ a b c van der Walt, Sarel (11 September 2018). "Geldenhuys se vredesrol geloof". Beeld (in Afrikaans).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j van der Walt, Sarel (15 September 2018). "'Nag, my generaal'". Beeld (in Afrikaans).
  6. ^ Uys, Ian (1992). South African Military Who's Who 1452–1992. Germiston: Fortress Publishers. ISBN 0-9583173-3-X.

Further reading[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Constand Viljoen
Chief of the South African Defence Force
Succeeded by
Andreas Liebenberg
Chief of the Army
Preceded by
GOC South West Africa Command
Succeeded by
Charles Lloyd