Hendrik Verwoerd

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Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd
7th Prime Minister of South Africa
In office
2 September 1958 – 6 September 1966
MonarchElizabeth II (1958–1961)
PresidentCharles Robberts Swart (1961–1966)
Governor-GeneralErnest George Jansen (1958–1959)
Charles Robberts Swart (1959–1961)
Preceded byJohannes Gerhardus Strijdom
Succeeded byT. E. Dönges
as Acting Prime Minister
Personal details
Born(1901-09-08)8 September 1901
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
Died6 September 1966(1966-09-06) (aged 64)
Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
Resting placeHeroes' Acre, Pretoria
Political partyNational Party
Spouse(s)Betsie Schoombie

Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (8 September 1901 – 6 September 1966) was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 to 1961, and then president from 1961 to 1966. He was the person chiefly responsible for apartheid.[1] He was born in the Netherlands. His parents emigrated to southern Africa when he was two years old.[2] In 1950, Verwoerd became Minister of Native Affairs (native meant the black Africans in the country). He was Prime Minister from 1958 to 1966, when he was murdered.[3] Verwoerd was associated with the National Party.[4]

Verwoerd is often called the "Architect of Apartheid"[5][6][7] for his role in apartheid policy when he was Minister of Native Affairs and then Prime Minister. Verwoerd once described apartheid as a "policy of good neighbourliness".[8]

On 9 April 1960 a white farmer named David Pratt attempted to murder Verwoerd by shooting him, but Verwoerd survived the attack.[9]

In 1960, Verwoerd announced that he planned to hold a referendum in South Africa on whether to remain a Commonwealth realm under the British monarch's rule or become a republic. The South African Parliament (a kind of legislature) voted to present the referendum to the people, and it was held in October. Voters were asked if they wanted to remain under the British monarch's rule, or become a republic. 52% voted to change to a republic.[10] South Africa became a republic on May 31, 1961.[11]

The National Party government under Verowoerd continued to develop the military, and it successfully made new developments in arms production including aircraft, small arms, armed vehicles, and even nuclear weapons.[12]

Three days before his death, Verwoerd held talks with the Prime Minister of the Lesotho, one of the native tribes in South Africa, Chief Leabua Jonathan, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.[13] Following the meeting, a joint statement was issued by the two governments with special emphasis on "co-operation without interference in each others' internal affairs".

On 6 September 1966, Verwoerd was murdered in Cape Town, shortly after entering the House of Assembly at 2:15 pm. A parliamentary messenger named Dimitri Tsafendas stabbed Verwoerd in the neck and chest four times before other Assembly members restrained him.[14] Members who were also trained as medical practitioners rushed to aid Verwoerd and started giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation.[15] Verwoerd was rushed to Groote Schuur Hospital, but was declared dead upon arrival.

References[change | change source]

  1. Beck, Roger B. The History of South Africa Greenwood Press Westport Connecticut 2000 page 213
  2. Kearney, Paddy Guardian of the Light: Denis Hurley: Renewing the Church, Opposing Apartheid The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc. New York, New York 2009 page 71
  3. Mckenna, Amy edited The History of Southern Africa Britannica Educational Publishing 2011 pages 167-168
  4. "Hendrik Verwoerd - prime minister of South Africa". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  5. Cole, Catherine M. (2010). Performing South Africa's Truth Commission: Stages of Transition. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 31, 226. ISBN 978-0-253-22145-2.
  6. Leonard, Thomas M. (2010). Encyclopedia of the Developing World. Vol. 1. New York, New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis. p. 1661. ISBN 978-0-415-97662-6.
  7. Coombes, Annie E. (2003). History after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-8223-3060-1.
  8. "Culture, Communication and Media Studies – Freedom Square-Back to the Future". Ccms.ukzn.ac.za. Archived from the original on 22 August 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  9. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2XpCAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KasMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5546,487559&dq=hendrik+verwoerd+david+pratt&hl=en Middlesboro Daily News April 11, 1960 Farmer Held in Shooting of Verwoerd UPI
  10. Osada, Masako (2002). Sanctions and honorary whites: diplomatic policies and economic realities in relations between Japan and South Africa. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 54.
  11. van Dyke, Donald L. Fortune Favors the Bold: An African Aviation Odyssey Xilbris Corporation page 153 2008
  12. Beinart, William (2001). Twentieth-century South Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-19-289318-5.
  13. National University of Lesotho. Institute of Southern African Studies. Documentation and Publications Division (1966). Lesotho clippings. Documentation and Publications Division, Institute of Southern African Studies, National University of Lesotho.
  14. Goodman, David; Weinberg, Paul (2002). Fault lines: journeys into the new South Africa. University of California Press. p. 154.
  15. Havens, Murray Clark; Leiden, Carl; Schmitt, Karl Michael (1970). The politics of assassination. Prentice-Hall. p. 47.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd at Wikimedia Commons