Monday, June 15, 2009

Hans Strijdom

Our school emblem
There are two secondary schools in Naboomspruit, a hot little town two hours up the highway that links Johannesburg to Zimbabwe. Hans Strijdom Hoerskool (high school) in the centre of town sprawls across several acres of smooth green lawn shaded by large trees. Blocks of classrooms, laboratories and assembly halls open out on to verandahs. The grounds are dotted with tennis courts, playing fields, athletics tracks and a swimming pool. Its rugby team dominates the provincial schools league. Its academic record is impressive.

This is where I received my High School education from 1993 – 1997. These were the years that shaped me into the young lady I am today. I think back fondly on those days. The red brick buildings, the teachers and the friends…

But this post isn’t about my school days its more about its namesake.

Johannes “Hans” Gerhardus Strijdom (15 July 1893 - 24 August 1958) was Prime Minister of South Africa from 30 November 1954 to 24 August 1958. He was an uncompromising Afrikaner nationalist and was vigorous in extending the apartheid program of racial segregation initiated by his immediate predecessor, Daniel Malan.

Early life
He was born on the family farm Klipfontein near Willowmore, Eastern Cape and trained as a lawyer at Victoria College (which later became the University of Stellenbosch. After his studies, Strijdom settled in Nylstroom, Northern Transvaal. He identified strongly with this area and its people and became a local community leader among the Afrikaners. In 1929 he became the Member of Parliament for Waterberg for 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 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 NP (named the Gesuiwerde Nasionale Party and later, after the UP was formed, again the 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 NP's MPs stayed with Hertzog and Strijdom was the only MP for Transvaal to go with Malan.
Strijdom's highest ideal was the achievement of an Afrikaner dominated Republic free from ties with Great Britain and the British Commonwealth. In this, he was radical and made no compromises.

Apartheid era
After the surprising victory of the National Party in 1948, won on the program of implementing a strict program of apartheid or racial 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 due to the fact that his young wife disliked Strijdom. That was also why Malan tried his best to get Havenga to succeed him as Prime Minister, rather than Strijdom.

Prime Minister
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 NC 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 and strengthened the policy of apartheid.

With regard to racial policies, he believed strongly in the perpetuation of white minority rule and in 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) lead to long terms of absence and he died on 24 August 1958 in Cape Town and is buried in Pretoria in the Heroes Acre.

Private life
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, although he always remained a gentleman.
He was married to the actress Marga van Hulsteyn, but the marriage broke up after a short time. His second wife was Susan de Klerk, aunt of the last white President F W de Klerk. Two children were born to Strijdom by his second wife, Johannes and Estelle. Susan Strijdom died in 1999, but Estelle still lives today.

There are still various monuments dedicated to him in South Africa. One monument in central Pretoria, which featured his bust, collapsed in 2001 injuring 2 people. His house in Nylstroom (now Modimolle) is now a museum, which holds parts of the collapsed bust.

Nylstroom is about 40km from Naboomspruit so Hans Strijdom lent his name to our school. These days there’s a lot going on around this name. Ever since the end of apartheid in South Africa the Government has been trying to get rid of all things connected to it. All town, Road and now building names have been changed. Now they’re trying to change our school name to.

Now I’ve never been a big apartheid supporter but I am a sentimentalist, and my school name changing is a little sad though. What will be will be but I’m not going to be too happy about it anytime soon.
the bust of Hans Strijdom
that's outside the main school building

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Great loves

Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliette, Lois Lane and Superman. I think we get but one great love in our life and if you miss it, you spend the rest of your life hoping and wishing and wondering. A selected few are lucky enough to find that love early on and be happy for ever, for the rest of us we either spend our lives searching for it or wishing we hadn't let go. Me, i think i've found my one great love, at the time i didn't know it was him but years later i came to the realization that he might have been the one, unfortunately, one day he was there, the next he wasn't. Now i find myself comparing every other guy i meet to him, i believe that's why i'm still single. Noone will ever be good enough. We're still great friends, best friends infact, Noone gets me like he does, noone makes me smile or laugh like he does and noone frustrates me more then he does. I'll go to the ends of the earth for him and i know he'll do the same but his married now to a wonderfull women that worships the ground he walks on so good friends is all we'll be and that is fine. I never wanted to settle for second best but these days it looks like i'll have to. At lest i've accepted it so now i can move on and look forward. I know there is someone out there for me, he might not be the greatest love of my life but he'll be great. I'll just have to put that little extra in. But happiness i'll find.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Solong good Friend it's hard to die

Four years ago I started working at this restaurant, part time while looking for another job. I ended up staying four months. It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. The owner and I became great friends and to date she’s still one of my favourite people.
When it came to building castles in the sky we were two peas in a pod. Sometimes it got us into a little trouble but mostly it provided for some of the wildest nights in the bush. My very last project before leaving was to get my favourite band to perform there. It was such a huge success that they requested to return the next year.
Situated on a game farm in the heart of the bushveld it had the most spectacular views. Words can’t describe the African night sky and breath taking sunsets from the deck. A thatch roof double story only visible about 200m from the entrance.
They had the best Sunday carvery in the world, and that is saying a lot coming from someone who grows up in a house with a chef for a father and working for the opposition. The last time I was there was a couple weeks ago. It made me decide to write a blog about it. One of my top 5 favourite places in the world.
The memories are prise less. I lived with the owner and her family on the naigbouring game farm and weekends the brat and some of our other friends would pitch up and crash on my bedroom floor. Wall to wall bodies. After I left I would go there all the time. On a Friday night I’d get a text message… SEDIBA?... and a half an hour later the brat’s best bud would be at my door. If it got to busy I’d jump in and lend a hand, we all would. And when times were tough and payday still a week and a half away we would work for booze. Getting more sloshed then the punters. We’d drink cheap red wine from a box and dance on the bar..(hope momzy’s not reading)… downing bottles of jagermister with the owner…. That reminds me, this one time while I was still working there it was so quiet, she decided that we would have a shot of jagermister for every hour that past with out any customers. That was 10 o’clock the morning, 12 hours and three bottles later, just as we were getting ready to call it a day, three hunters and the gay hairdresser from town rocked up. I think we only got to bed at 5 the next morning… jagermister was our signature drink, the most revolting stuff I’ve ever tasted, but the most delicious. In al the time I worked there I never got sick, we recon it’s the jaggies. Sometimes we would pull an all nighter, enter sun east at six and exit us west. Sometimes we would go right through 24 hours then crash two days solid. Mondays and Tuesdays we were closed and I would come in to town but sometimes I would stay and we’d spend the day on a friend’s game farm.

This morning at 9 I got this mms. Our watering hole burnt to the ground. I was, shock it’s like being woken by dripping water on your forhead after a peaceful dream. I still can’t believe it. The couldn’t save anything. I feel sick just thinking about it. I had my last drink In December but that doesn’t matter, an old friend and I was just talking about having to make some time to get up there again. Now… nothing. Life is so short and so unpredictable…SEDIBA, YOU’LL BE MISSED OLD FRIEND!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm back, I think

I haven't been around for a while, sorry, didn't really have time or megs to sit and chat. A lot has happened. I got a Bike. A motorbike that is. Got it last week Monday. That might also be a reason for me staying off the Internet.

Isn't it lovely. I find reasons to ride it. our offices are about 200m from the restaurant I work at. a 2min walk. now i just hop on the bike and ride down. what annoys me is people calling it a scooter and not a bike. a scooter is for pansies and little girly girls. woman with attitude rides motorbikes, even if it's only a 100cc's its still a bike!!!