Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mr Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr (Part 2)

Baptist Union of Southern Africa, Baptist Union Historical Society, Mr Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr
Jan Hofmeyr as the Administrator of the Transvaal (1924–1929)
He was baptised at Oxford in his student days and later, some time after his return to South Africa, became a Personal Member of the Baptist Union. He frequently worshipped at the Central Church in Pretoria and at the Wale Street Church at Cape Town, and was always interested in the progress of our work.
He would respond readily to special invitations if his engagements permitted and from the chair at Baptist Union or Missionary meetings more than once gladly acknowledged his debt to his Baptist upbringing. One of his last public acts was the laying of the foundation stone of the new Church building at Pretoria.
By many of his contemporaries, and some of his colleagues, Mr Hofmeyr was not understood. Because he did not drink, or gamble, or smoke, or swear, or tell doubtful stories, he was thought unsociable and priggish. It was not really so. At Student Christian Association Camps and on the cricket field, where his keenness was greater than his skill, Hofmeyr the Administrator or Cabinet Minister became Hofmeyr the boy, to quote Alan Paton again; beneath a reserve for which explanations might be found in his precocity as a lad and his responsibilities as a College Principal and Political leader there was a warm humaneness and genuine friendliness.
As President of the Y.M.C.A, in South Africa and of the National Sunday School Association and by his regular attendance at one or other of the churches wherever he was, Mr Hofmeyr definitely allied himself with the Christian cause. In public utterance and in private life he gave consistent testimony to the reality of his faith.
To fallible human judgement it seemed a tragedy that a man of such character and gifts should be removed from public life at the height of his powers, and when his influence was so much needed, but we believe that when the call came, at his home in Pretoria on 3 December 1948, it was in the perfect will and wisdom of God, to whom be all the praise for a life the value of which will be realised more clearly as it is seen against the background of the times in which it was lived.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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