J. G. Strijdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom
JG Strijdom.jpg
5th Prime Minister of South Africa
In office
30 November 1954 – 24 August 1958
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralErnest George Jansen
Preceded byDaniel François Malan
Succeeded byHendrik Verwoerd
Minister of Lands and Irrigation
In office
5 June 1948 – 30 November 1954
Prime MinisterDaniel François Malan
Preceded byAndrew Conroy
Succeeded byPaul Sauer
Personal details
Born(1893-07-14)14 July 1893
Willowmore, Cape Colony
Died24 August 1958(1958-08-24) (aged 65)
Cape Town, Cape Province, Union of South Africa
Resting placeHeroes' Acre, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Political partyNational (1918–1935) (1948–58)
Purified National (1935–1939)
Herenigde Nasionale (1940–1948)
(m. 1924; div. 1924)

Susan de Klerk
(m. 1930)
Alma materVictoria College
University of Pretoria

Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom (also spelled Strydom; 14 July 1893 – 24 August 1958[1]), also known as Hans Strijdom and nicknamed the "Lion of the North",[2] was Prime Minister of South Africa from 30 November 1954 to 24 August 1958.[1] He was an uncompromising Afrikaner nationalist,[1] and a member of the largest, baasskap (white supremacist) faction of the National Party (NP),[3][4] who further perpetuated the NP's Apartheid policies during his rule.

Early life[edit]

He was born on the family farm Klipfontein near Willowmore in the Cape Colony and trained as a lawyer at Victoria College (which later became the University of Stellenbosch) and the University of Pretoria.[5][6] 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 Khoi woman Saartjie Baartman). He also sold baboon fur and manufactured shoes and soap amongst other products.

Strijdom served in the German South West Africa campaign during World War I, as a member of the South African Medical Corps and, later, of Helgaardt's Scouts, where he reached the rank of corporal.[7]

Strijdom later settled in Nylstroom, Transvaal. He identified strongly with this area and its people and became a local community leader amongst 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[8] merged with the South African Party of General Jan Smuts[8] and formed the United Party (UP) during the World Economic Crisis in 1932,[9] Strijdom was part of the break-away faction of the National Party,[1] named the Gesuiwerde Nasionale Party (Purified National Party).[10] Later, after the United Party was formed, the GNP became known as the (Reunited) National Party[10] under the leadership of Dr. D. F. Malan. Malan, Strijdom and their followers distrusted Smuts and opposed his pro-British policy.[11] 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.[1]

Strijdom favoured the establishment of a republic,[12] but this was not achieved until three years after his death in 1961.[13]

Apartheid era[edit]

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,[14] it was apparently Strijdom's choice[15] 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.[citation needed] Malan gave him the portfolio because his young wife disliked Strijdom.[citation needed] That was also why Malan tried his best to get Nicolaas Havenga to succeed him as Prime Minister, rather than Strijdom.[16]

Prime Minister[edit]

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; Malan 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 lukewarm about. During Strijdom's term as Prime Minister, he began moves to sever ties with the British monarchy,[17] and deepened the Afrikaner ascendency in South Africa, while strengthening the policy of apartheid.

Portrait of Strijdom that appeared in Die Huisgenoot shortly after his death.

With regard to racial policies, he believed strongly in the perpetuation of white minority rule[18] and during his term "Coloured" voters were removed from the common voters roll[12] and put on a separate Coloured voters roll, something that Malan started to do but could not push through. Strijdom was an open proponent[18] of crude baaskap (white supremacy or white domination).[4][19][20] 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 1958. 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.

Personal life[edit]

He was nicknamed "The Lion of the North", because of his aggression and forthrightness.[21]

Strijdom married the actress Margaretha van Hulsteyn, but they divorced within a year.[22] His second wife was Susan de Klerk,[23] aunt of future President F W de Klerk. She bore Strijdom two children: Johannes and Estelle. His widow Susan died in 1999 and daughter Estelle (Crowson), in 2009.[24]


There are still various monuments dedicated to Strijdom in South Africa. One monument in central Pretoria, which featured his bust, collapsed in 2001 injuring two people.[25][26][27] In 2012, the city of Pretoria renamed 27 streets, which included renaming a street named after Strijdom to a new name in honor of Solomon Mahlangu.[28] His house in Modimolle (formerly Nylstroom) is now a museum,[29] which holds parts of the collapsed bust.[citation needed]

In Johannesburg, there is a suburb and a street named after Strijdom, although the spelling "Strydom" is also used, though a couple have already been renamed, one being Malibongwe Drive. In Weltevredenpark, a suburb of Roodepoort, there is a street named JG Strydom Road.[30] Randburg also has a business district called Strijdompark named after him.[31]

The Hillbrow Tower in Johannesburg was officially named the J.G. Strijdom Tower until 1995, when, shortly after the end of apartheid, it was renamed the Telkom Hillbrow Tower.

In Windhoek, then in South West Africa, the main airport was named J.G. Strijdom Airport following its opening in 1965.[32] Following the country's independence as Namibia in 1990, it was renamed Hosea Kutako International Airport.[33] And next to Hoedspruit there is a tunnel named after him called J.G Strijdom Tunnel next to the village called Leboeng.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Johannes G Strijdom". South African History Online. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  3. ^ T. Kuperus (7 April 1999). State, Civil Society and Apartheid in South Africa: An Examination of Dutch Reformed Church-State Relations. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-0-230-37373-0.
  4. ^ a b "Verwoerd should not be remembered fondly - DOCUMENTS | Politicsweb". www.politicsweb.co.za. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/569087/Johannes-Gerhardus-Strijdom Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom Retrieved 16 June 2010
  6. ^ "Historical Notes: A University in the Making". Stellenbosch University. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  7. ^ Von Zeil, G. 'A South African Prime Minister's Medal' in Journal of the Military Medal Society of South Africa No 42 (August 2003).
  8. ^ a b Denis Worral; Ben Roux; Marcus Arkin; Peter Harris; Gerrit Olivier; John Barratt (1977) [19]. Denis Worral (ed.). South Africa: Government and Politics (Second revised (1975), second print (1977) ed.). J.L. van Schaik Ltd. p. 200.
  9. ^ "United Party (UP) (political party, South Africa)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  10. ^ a b Denis Worral; Ben Roux; Marcus Arkin; Peter Harris; Gerrit Olivier; John Barratt (1977) [19]. Denis Worral (ed.). South Africa: Government and Politics (Second revised (1975), second print (1977) ed.). J.L. van Schaik Ltd. p. 202.
  11. ^ Denis Worral; Ben Roux; Marcus Arkin; Peter Harris; Gerrit Olivier; John Barratt (1977) [19]. Denis Worral (ed.). South Africa: Government and Politics (Second revised (1975), second print (1977) ed.). J.L. van Schaik Ltd. p. 201.
  12. ^ a b "South Africa: Movement towards a Republic – JG Strijdom". South African History Online. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  13. ^ "The Development & Formation of the South African Republic". South African History Online. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom | prime minister of South Africa". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  15. ^ Martins, Celia-Joy (21 March 2015). F I R E & a S H E S—I R O N & C L a Y. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 978-1-5035-0397-7.
  16. ^ Koorts, Lindie (November 2010). "An ageing anachronism: D.F. Malan as prime minister, 1948-1954". Kronos. 36 (1): 108–165. ISSN 0259-0190.
  17. ^ South African Republicanism, Reuters, Toledo Blade, 30 January 1958
  18. ^ a b Michael R. Marrus; Milton Shain; Christopher R. Browning (13 July 2015). Holocaust Scholarship: Personal Trajectories and Professional Interpretations. Springer. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-1-137-51419-6.
  19. ^ "Apartheid" (PDF). Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  20. ^ Ian Loveland (1 June 1999). By Due Process of Law: Racial Discrimination and the Right to Vote in South Africa 1855-1960. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 263–. ISBN 978-1-84731-083-5.
  21. ^ South Africa's Foreign Policy: The Search for Status and Security, 1945–1988, James Barber, John Barratt, James Barber, John Barratt CUP Archive, 1990, page 29
  22. ^ Around and About: Memoirs of a South African Newspaperman, Michael Green, New Africa Books, 2004, pages 30-31
  23. ^ "A lady who worried about Donald's shirts". Independent Online. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2010.[dead link]
  24. ^ "Susanna de Klerk". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Strijdom bust carted off to 'place of safety'". Independent Online. 26 February 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ "ShowMe: Pretoria's new street names". Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  29. ^ Maxwell Leigh (1986). Touring in Southern Africa (First ed.). C. Struik Publishers. p. 156.
  30. ^ J.G. Strydom Rd, Roodepoort, 1709, South Africa, Google Maps
  31. ^ Strydompark, Randburg, Gauteng 2169, South Africa, Google Maps
  32. ^ Standard encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Volume 10, NASOU, 1974, page 202
  33. ^ Posters in Action: Visuality in the Making of an African Nation, Giorgio Miescher, Lorena Rizzo, Jeremy Silvester Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 2009, page 133

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
D. F. Malan
Prime Minister of South Africa
Succeeded by
Hendrik Verwoerd