Coffins at the mass funeral held in KwaThema, Gauteng, July 23, 1985 – Gille de Vlieg – Source: ArtBlart

DF Malan

D. F. Malan was a South African politician who served as Prime Minister of South Africa from 1948 to 1954. His National Party government came to power on the program of apartheid, which is an act of segregation. The foundations of apartheid were firmly laid down during his tenure as prime minister of South Africa from 1948 to 1954. He in fact coined the very term apartheid.

The foundations of apartheid were firmly laid during Malan’s six-and-a-half years as prime minister. On February 24, 1953 Malan was granted dictatorial powers to oppose black and Indian anti-apartheid movements. Malan retired in 1954 at the age of 80, but in the succession battle that accompanied his retirement, his anointed heirs, N. C. Havenga and T. E. Donges, were defeated, and Malan was succeeded by J. G. Strijdom.

Source: Wikipedia

JG Strijdom

J. G. Strydom or Hans Strydom nicknamed the Lion of the North, was Prime Minister of South Africa from 30 November 1954 to 24 August 1958. He was an uncompromising Afrikaner nationalist,  and a proponent of racial segregation that led the way to the establishment of the system of apartheid.

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. The extended Treason Trial of 156 activists (including Nelson Mandela) involved in the Freedom Charter, happened during Strijdom’s term in office. Strijdom’s government also severed diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

Source: Wikipedia

HF Verwoerd

Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (8 September 1901 – 6 September 1966), also commonly referred to as Dr. Verwoerd, was a South African professor, journalist editor-in-chief, and politician who served as prime minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966. He is regarded as the mastermind behind socially engineering and implementing the racial policies of apartheid, the system of legal racial classification and forced racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Verwoerd played an instrumental role in helping the far right National Party come to power in 1948 serving as their propagandist and political strategist. He eventually rose to party leader in 1958. During his time in office Verwoerd rigidly enforced Apartheid policies through further introducing oppressive laws, which diminished the rights of ordinary individuals, especially black South Africans. He greatly empowered, modernised and enlarged the police, secret police, and army. Under Verwoerd opposition to apartheid was heavily repressed, with tens of thousands of people being detained and imprisoned, thousands exiled and assaulted, and hundreds tortured and killed. Verwoerd was a far right authoritarian leader and an Afrikaner nationalist. He was a strong advocate of the Afrikaner volk, language, culture, and Christian religion. He held the belief that white control over South Africa could only continue if the races lived apart. He survived an assassination attempt in 1960, succumbing to a subsequent one in 1966.

Source: Wikipedia

BJ Vorster

Balthazar Johannes “B. J.” Vorster; 13 December 1915 – 10 September 1983), better known as John Vorster, served as the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1966 to 1978 and as the fourth State President of South Africa from 1978 to 1979. Vorster was known for his staunch adherence to apartheid, overseeing (as Minister of Justice) the Rivonia Trial in which Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage, and (as Prime Minister) the Terrorism Act, the complete abolition of non-white political representation, the Soweto Riots and the Steve Biko crisis. He conducted a more pragmatic foreign policy than his predecessors in an effort to improve relations between the white minority government and South Africa’s neighbours, particularly after the break-up of the Portuguese colonial empire. Shortly after the Internal Settlement in Rhodesia, in which he was instrumental, he was implicated in the Muldergate Scandal and resigned the premiership in favour of the ceremonial presidency, which he was forced to give up as well eight months later.

Vorster dedicated himself to an anti-British, pro-Nazi organisation called the Ossewabrandwag (Ox-wagon Sentinel), which had been founded in 1938 in celebration of the centenary of the Great Trek. Under the leadership of J. F. van Rensburg, the Ossewabrandwag conducted many acts of sabotage against South Africa during World War II to limit its war effort. Vorster claimed not to have participated in the acts of war attributed to the group. He described himself as anti-British, and not pro-Nazi and noted that his internment was for anti-British agitation.

Source: Wikipedia

PW Botha

Pieter Willem Botha; 12 January 1916 – 31 October 2006), commonly known as “P. W.” and Die Groot Krokodil (Afrikaans for “The Big Crocodile”), was the leader of South Africa from 1978 to 1989, serving as the last Prime Minister from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive State President from 1984 to 1989.

In superficial ways, Botha’s application of the apartheid system was less repressive than that of his predecessors. He legalised interracial marriage and miscegenation, both completely banned since the late 1940s. The constitutional prohibition on multiracial political parties was lifted. He also relaxed the Group Areas Act, which barred non-whites from living in certain areas. In 1988, a new law created “Open Group Areas” or racially mixed neighbourhoods. But these neighbourhoods had to receive a Government permit, and had to have the support of the local Whites immediately concerned, and had to be a high class neighbourhood in the major cities typically in order to receive the permit. In 1983, the above constitutional reforms granted limited political rights to Coloureds and Indians. Botha also became the first South African government leader to authorise contacts with Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned leader of the African National Congress. However, in the face of rising discontent and violence, Botha refused to cede political power to blacks and imposed greater security measures against anti-apartheid activists. Botha also refused to negotiate with the ANC.

In 1985, Botha delivered the Rubicon speech which was a policy address in which he refused to give in to demands by the black population, including the release of Mandela. Botha’s defiance of international opinion further isolated South Africa, leading to economic sanctions and a rapid decline in the value of the rand. The following year, when the US introduced the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, Botha declared a nationwide state of emergency. He is famously quoted during this time as saying, “This uprising will bring out the beast in us”.

As economic and diplomatic actions against South Africa increased, civil unrest spread amongst the black population, supported by the ANC and neighbouring black-majority governments. On 16 May 1986, Botha publicly warned neighbouring states against engaging in “unsolicited interference” in South Africa’s affairs. Four days later, Botha ordered air strikes against selected targets in Lusaka, Harare, and Gaborone, including the offices of exiled ANC activists. Botha charged that these raids were just a “first instalment” and showed that “South Africa has the capacity and the will to break the [African National Congress].”

In spite of the concessions made by Botha, the apartheid years under his leadership were by far the most brutal. Thousands were detained without trial during Botha’s presidency, while others were tortured and killed. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission found Botha responsible for gross violations of human rights. He was also found to have directly authorised ‘unlawful activity which included killing’. However, Botha refused to apologise for apartheid. In a 2006 interview to mark his 90th birthday, he suggested that he had no regrets about the way he had run the country. He denied, however, that he had ever considered black South Africans to be in any way inferior to whites, but conceded that “some” whites did hold that view. He also claimed that the apartheid policies were inherited from the British colonial administration in the Cape and Natal Province, implying that he considered them something he and his government had followed by default.

Source: Wikipedia

FW De Klerk

Frederik Willem de Klerk is a South African politician who served as State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996. South Africa’s last head of state from the era of white-minority rule, his government focused on dismantling the apartheid system and introducing universal suffrage. Ideologically a conservative and an economic liberal, he led the National Party from 1989 to 1997.

In de Klerk’s view, his greatest defeat in the negotiations with Mandela had been his inability to secure a blanket amnesty for all those working for the government or state during the apartheid period. De Klerk was unhappy with the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He had hoped that the TRC would be made up of an equal number of individuals from both the old and new governments, as there had been in the Chilean human rights commission. Instead, the TRC was designed to broadly reflect the wider diversity of South African society, and contained only two members who had explicitly supported apartheid, one a member of a right-wing group that had opposed de Klerk’s National Party. De Klerk did not object to Tutu being selected as the TRC’s chair for he regarded him as politically independent of Mandela’s government, but he was upset that Alex Boraine had been selected as its deputy chair, later saying of Boraine: “beneath an urbane and deceptively affable exterior beat the heart of a zealot and an inquisitor.”

De Klerk appeared before the TRC hearing to testify for Vlakplaas commanders who were accused of having committed human rights abuses during the apartheid era. He acknowledged that security forces had resorted to “unconventional strategies” in dealing with anti-apartheid revolutionaries, but that “within my knowledge and experience, they never included the authorisation of assassination, murder, torture, rape, assault or the like”. After further evidence of said abuses was produced by the commission, de Klerk stated that he found the revelations to be “as shocking and as abhorrent as anybody else” but insisted that he and other senior party members were not willing to accept responsibility for the “criminal actions of a handful of operatives”, stating that their behaviour was “not authorised [and] not intended” by his government. Given the widespread and systemic nature of the abuses that had taken place, as well as statements by security officers that their actions had been sanctioned by higher ranking figures, Tutu questioned how de Klerk and other government figures could not have been aware of them. Tutu had hoped that de Klerk or another senior white political figure from the apartheid era would openly accept responsibility for the human rights abuses, thereby allowing South Africa to move on; this was something that de Klerk would not do.

The TRC found de Klerk guilty of being an accessory to gross violations of human rights on the basis that as State President he had been told that P. W. Botha had authorised the bombing of Khotso House but had not revealed this information to the Committee. De Klerk challenged the TRC on this point, and it backed down. When the final TRC report was released 2002, it made a more limited accusation: that de Klerk had failed to give full disclosure about events that took place during his Presidency and that in view of his knowledge about the Khotso House bombing, his statement that none of his colleagues had authorised gross human rights abuses was “indefensible”.

Source: Wikipedia

Jimmy Kruger

James Thomas Kruger (1917 – 9 May 1987) was a Welsh-born South African politician who rose to the position of Minister of Justice and the Police in the cabinet of Prime Minister John Vorster from 1974 to 1979. He was also President of the Senate from 1979 until 1980, when it was abolished.

Kruger was born in Wales and was adopted by Afrikaner parents; he was part of the conservative National Party government which championed apartheid. He was responsible for the banning of Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko; when Biko died in police custody, the police claimed that Biko had died during a hunger strike. This account was challenged by the liberal white South African journalist Donald Woods, a personal friend of Biko. Kruger’s response to Biko’s death was: “Dit laat my koud.” (“It leaves me cold.”).

Source: Wikipedia

Magnus Malan

Magnus André de Merindol Malan (30 January 1930 – 18 July 2011) was the Minister of Defence in the cabinet of President P.W. Botha, Chief of the South African Defence Force (SADF) and Chief of the South African Army.

His father, Avril Ire de Merindol, was a professor of biochemistry at the University of Pretoria, and later a member of parliament and speaker of the House of Assembly, and his mother was Elizabeth Frederika Malan. He studied at the University of Stellenbosch (but did not graduate) and the University of Pretoria. From a young age, he had aspirations to join the military and in 1973 he was appointed as chief of the South African Army. Then in 1976, he was also made chief of the South African Defense Force, becoming the youngest man to hold both positions. In 1980 he became the Defence Minister in the National Party government of P.W. Botha.

During his time in government, Malan garnered a reputation for being a military technocrat, who was unafraid to quash political dissent with violence. He famously viewed domestic and foreign threats to white rule in South Africa as a “total onslaught” that could only be answered with a “total solution.” Political rights, Malan claimed, were not a relevant concern among the black masses.

During his tenure, Malan also oversaw the running of the Civil Co-operation Bureau (known as CCB), which was implicated in numerous civilian murders, including the assassination of two prominent anti-apartheid activists, David Webster and Anton Lubowski. Outside South Africa, he deployed troops on bloody raids against African National Congress bases in Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He also stationed troops in Angola to fight alongside Unita rebels against Cuban troops aligned with the government in Luanda. Malan left office in 1991, following a scandal involving secret government funding to the Inkatha Freedom Party and other opponents of the African National Congress.

Source: Wikipedia & SA History Online

Louis le Grange

Le Grange was born in Ladybrand in the Orange Free State of South Africa. He was a member of the National Party, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Potchefstroom (1966-1991), Deputy Minister of Information (1975-1978), Interior (1975-1978), Immigration (1978), and Public Works (1978), in governments of John Vorster.

He then served as Minister of Tourism and Public Works (1978-1979), Prisons (1979-1980), Police (1979-1982) and Law and Order (1982-1986) in the cabinets of P.W. Botha, before he became the 13th Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa (1987-1991).

Under his tenure of the Justice Ministries, he implemented harsh laws on detention without trial and several political prisoners died in detention in circumstances that remain unexplained.

“South Africa is absolutely determined to restore law and order to stabilise the country, the Minister of Law and Order. Any efforts to erect alternative structures would not be tolerated.”

“Our enemies cannot be allowed to create the impression that they are capable of maintaining their own administration. The State’s power and institutions must be protected and maintained”

Source: Wikipedia & SA History Online

Johann Coetzee

General Johann Coetzee was head of the Security Police and Commissioner of Police in the most brutal period of police enforcement of the apartheid regime. At the time of his retirement, the Mail And Guardian wrote:

“General Johann Coetzee’s unexpected decision to abandon the massive powers he has as Commissioner of Police, giving no explanation and handing over to a virtually unknown “administrative man”, has raised a number of crucial questions.
As the man at the centre of the State of Emergency, Coetzee has held one of the most powerful positions in the country. He has been personally responsible for some of the most severe Emergency restrictions. He was head of the joint security forces during a period when the power and influence of the security forces reached unprecedented levels. This was done through the creation of the National Security Management System, headed by the State Security Council, in which Coetzee is a key member, and the powers of decree given to him under Emergency regulations.

Virtually the only hold on his power in recent months has been the annulment of a number of his most contentious decrees by the Supreme Court Coetzee has now announced his “retirement” at a crucial time—on the eve of the first anniversary of the June 12 Emergency and June 16 and June 26 commemorations. He has been commissioner for only four years, although he has spent all 41 years of his career in the police and previously headed the Security Police.”

Source: Mail and Guardian

Connie Mulder

Cornelius Petrus Mulder was born on the 5 June 1925. He studied a Bachelor of Arts degree and obtained the Transvaal Education Diploma in 1945.

He started teaching History, Afrikaans and German in Randfontein. He also studied with the University of the Witwatersrand and completed a doctorate degree titled “Die Invloed van die Bybel of the Vorming van die Afrikaanse Volkskarakter” (The Influence of the Bible in the forming of the Afrikaans National Character). After completing his studies he joined local politics and involved himself in Randfontein affairs. Later he became deputy mayor and mayor of Randfontein. His profile in the National Party was also increasing. He became the chairman of the party’s Divisional Committee. In 1958, he was elected to parliament as a representative of the Randfontein district. In 1968, he became the Minister of Information and later became the Minister of Bantu Administration, which was renamed Plural Relations, while retaining control of the Department of Information. It was widely believed that Mulder would succeed Prime Minister John Vorster. Such a possibility increased after the death of Finance Minister Dr Nico Diederichs. However, Mulder’s hopes of becoming the next Prime Minister were dashed by the Information Scandal, which was nicknamed Muldergate, by the English press he was trying to undermine. The scandal ruined his political career and lost the 1978 National Party electoral race to Pieter Willem Botha. The Erasmus commission, appointed by P W Botha, sealed his fate when it revealed serious financial irregularities and abuse of power in the Department of Information. He refused to accept the findings of the Erasmus commission and was forced out of the National Party, shortly after resigning from Parliament.

After this expulsion, he continued to be active in politics and, together with his group of supporters, he formed the Action Front for National Priorities. The party was founded on principles of territorial separation of each nation and self-determination. In 1979, the National Conservative Party was formed and won 2 percent of the 1981 electoral votes. The party merged with the Conservative Party.

Dr Mulder died in 1988 after a long illness. Two of his sons Pieter and Corné Mulder were Conservative Party Members of Parliament and later led the rightwing Vryheidsfront Plus under the new dispensation.

Source: SA History Online

AP Treurnicht

Andries Treurnicht was born on 19 February 1921 on Middelpos farm in Piketberg, Cape Town. He was chairman of the secretive Broederbond (1972-1974), Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Educationat the time  of the Soweto-riots and founder-leader of the Conservative Party until his death.

IIn 1960 he became the editor of the DRC weekly newspaper, ‘Die Kerkbode’. Following the Sharpeville Massacre, he used his editorial powers to agitate for separate development of Blacks and Whites, and he rose to prominence within the ranks of the conservative DRC. He was elected assessor of the DRC Cape Synod in 1965 and of the General synod in 1966. In 1967 Dr Treurnicht was invited by Prime Minister Vorster to become editor of new Pretoria daily ‘Hoofstad’. In this position he provided a mouthpiece of conservative opinion on political, theological, academic and cultural matters.

In 1980 he opposed the participation of a team of Coloured schoolboys in Craven Rugby week and the following year clashed with S.P. Botha the Minister of manpower, on government’s labour policy. In 1982 he led a conservative faction that broke away from the National Party in protest against the proposed “sharing of power” that was to be laid out in the tricameral constitution of 1983. After quitting the National Party, Treurnicht founded the Conservative Party (CP) which won 23 seats in the 1987 elections, replacing the Progressive Party as the formal opposition party

In December 1990, when the Nederduitse Gerefomeerde Kerk (NGK, or Dutch Reformed Church) renounced apartheid, Treurnicht was one of the organisers of protest meetings in Pretoria against this policy shift. The organisers maintained that in renouncing apartheid, the NGK had ‘made itself guilty of political interference’.

Source: SA History Online


Jacob Daniël du Toit (21 February 1877 – 1 July 1953), better known by his pen name Totius, was an Afrikaner poet and theologian.

Du Toit was a deeply religious man and a conservative one in most senses. His small son died of an infection and his young daughter, Wilhelmina, was killed by lightning, falling into his arms dead as she ran towards him. He recorded this calamity in the poem “O die pyn-gedagte” (literally “Oh the pain-thoughts”).

Du Toit was responsible for much of the translation of the Bible into Afrikaans, finishing what his father Stephanus Jacobus du Toit had begun. It was as a theologian that Totius helped anchor apartheid on theological grounds. In a paper delivered at the Volkskongres (People’s Congress) titled “The theological basis of our racial policies”, Totius argued that not only is separateness natural but the divine will of God.

Source Wikipedia & Vosloo, Robert R

HB Thom

Hendrik Bernardus Thom (13 December 1905 – 4 November 1983) was rector of the Stellenbosch University between 1954 and 1969. He also chaired the secretive Broederbond during a crucial stage between 1952-1960 and the the FAK (Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge) for 18 years.

He played a major role in the cultural life of the Afrikaner people, and wrote a number of historical books which rewrote history to suit a nationalist Afrikaner narrative. As much as Totius laid down the basis for cultural apartheid, Thom laid the foundations of cultural apartheid.

Source: Wikipedia

Piet Cillié

Petrus Johannes “Piet” Cillié (18 January 1917 – 20 October 1999) was a South African journalist and the editor of Die Burger from 1954 to 1977. He was strongly supportive of the National Party government and has been described as with “most influential thinker”, alongside Hendrik Verwoerd, in the Afrikaner nationalist movement in the early decades of apartheid.

He wrote a political column under the name of “Dawie”. In his role as editor he shaped the message of the National Party and effectively presented a free media to the public but did the bidding of politicians behind the scenes.

In Apartheid Guns and Money, Hennie van Vuuren writes about Cillié’s reaction to a letter by a highly dissatisfied PW Botha:

Botha expressed the government’s disappointment in the piece and demanded that Naspers “put an end to Jane Raphaely’s leftist politics”. He added, “I think that there is sufficient Nationalist sentiment amongst the Naspers management to put paid to these type of activities.” The acquiescent Cillié wrote back to signal his agreement noting that, “I trust in future there will be fewer reasons for disagreement.”

Source: Wikipedia

Riaan Cruywagen

Riaan Cruywagen (born 5 October 1945), is a South African television news reader and voice artist who has been associated with the South African Broadcasting Corporation since its first television broadcasts in 1975. Since then, Cruywagen had presented the Afrikaans news on the SABC network every weeknight. He began his career as a journalist in 1965 when he started working part-time at the SABC in Cape Town, while studying at the University of Stellenbosch. He presented his first news bulletin on 26 November 1975 at 20:00 – the first story he read on that night was the sentencing of Breyten Breytenbach to nine years in jail.

Far from his modern-day image of the good-natured harmless good guy, it can’t be forgotten that between 1976 and 1994 Cruywagen uncritically was the face of Apartheid News. If a soldier can’t be excused for just following orders, a journalist certainly should not be excused for just reading news he knows or should have known to be biased.

Source: Wikipedia

Freek Robinson

Freek has been a television reporter, producer and presenter for almost 40 years specializing in in-depth political, economic and social affairs. As much as Riaan Cruywagen was the television newsreader of the apartheid government, Freek was their current affairs man. Unashamedly following the party line his journalistic sins like those of Cruywagen was pivotal in the propaganda effort of the Apartheid regime.