Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom
|“||In every sphere the Europeans must retain the right to rule the country and to keep it a white man’s country.||„|
|~ Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom|
Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom was the prime minister of South Africa between 1954 and 1958 and one of the main promoters of Apartheid.
Johannes was an Afrikaner supremasist and nationalist who was born on a farm in Cape Colony and had participated in World War I as part of the allied fights in Africa.
n 30 November 1954, he was elected leader of the National Party and became Prime Minister of South Africa after the resignation of Daniel François 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 lukewarm about. During Strijdom's term as Prime Minister, he began moves to sever ties with the British monarchy, 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. Strijdom was an open proponent of crude baaskap (white supremacy or white domination).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.
After graduating from Victoria College, Stellenbosch, he moved to Pretoria (1914), where he entered the civil service. Three years later he qualified in law at Pretoria University and began a successful practice at Nylstroom, Transvaal. Strijdom became increasingly interested in politics, however, paying particular attention to the rights of his fellow Afrikaners. In 1929 he was elected to Parliament as a member of the National Party from Waterberg, a seat he continued to hold until his death. His tenacity in political matters led to his characterization as “the Lion of Waterberg.”
Strijdom was a loyal follower of J.B.M. Hertzog, prime minister and leader of the National Party, until 1934, when Hertzog and Jan Smuts entered into a coalition. For a time Strijdom was the only member of Parliament from the Transvaal to support Daniel F. Malan’s Purified Nationalist Party, contributing much to its victory in the election of 1948. He was rewarded with the post of minister of lands and irrigation in Malan’s Cabinet. In that office for six years, he became well known for advocating white supremacy in South Africa.
After the retirement of Malan, Strijdom succeeded him as head of the party and on Dec. 3, 1954, assumed the office of prime minister. Strijdom’s rise to power represented a victory for the party’s more extreme Transvaal faction over the moderate Cape faction. As a result, he pursued a policy of strict apartheid, which was furthered by radically changing the composition of the Senate in 1955 so as to ensure the necessary two-thirds majority in a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament. The following year the Cape Coloured voters were removed from the common voting rolls. Strijdom fell ill in December 1957 and was succeeded on his death by Hendrik Verwoerd.