Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mr Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr (Part 1)

Baptist Union of Southern Africa, Jan Hofmeyr, Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr
Jan Hofmeyr at the age of thirteen. This picture was taken in his first year at the University of Cape Town.
Of Mr. J.H. Hofmeyr as scholar and statesman much has been written (see his wiki entry here). Regarding his scholarship, to quote of Alan Paton, "His intellectual equipment was supernormal." His school career was quite extraordinary. He matriculated at the age of twelve, obtained his B.A. degree at fifteen and his M.A. degree two years later; while at twenty-five in 1919, he was Principal of the School of Mines at Johannesburg, afterwards Witwatersrand University. His career in the sphere of statesmanship began when he was appointed Administrator of the Transvaal at the age of twenty-nine, and reached its peak when he was Minister of Finance and Acting Premier.
The qualities that marked his career as an educationalist were equally evident in his career as a statesman. We would mention three – industry, courage and integrity. With all his brilliant gifts he was a worker of amazing industry; at one time he held no less than six ministerial portfolios. Of his moral courage there could be no question; he took the line he believed to be right. Out of his moral courage grew his integrity; even those who doubted his judgement could never doubt his honesty. J.H. Hofmeyr was a Christian and, with a consistency all too rare in public life, he carried his christian profession into his political practice.
Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr was born in Cape Town where his mother was a member of the Wale Street Baptist Church during the ministry of the Rev Ernest Baker. There are still those in the church who speak affectionately of Hennie Hofmeyr as a Sunday School boy who regularly carried off first prizes in the Scripture examinations and was for some years a member of Mr. William Janisch’s Bible Class. It was with characteristic courtesy and gratitude that, throughout the years, Mr. Hofmeyr remembered every Christmastide to write to the one who led him to a fuller knowledge of the written word and the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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