Verwoerd, Hendrik (Frensch)

Verwoerd, Hendrik (Frensch)
born Sept. 8, 1901, Amsterdam, Neth.
died Sept. 6, 1966, Cape Town, S.Af.

Dutch-born South African prime minister (1958–66).

He was taken to South Africa as an infant by his missionary parents. After studying at the University of Stellenbosch, he became a professor there, and in 1937 he became editor of the Afrikaner nationalist daily in Johannesburg. Appointed senator (1948) and then minister of native affairs (1950), he was responsible for much of the country's new apartheid legislation. When he became prime minister in 1958, his apartheid program was strictly enforced, and he pushed through legislation resettling blacks in reservations. His policies provoked demonstrations, sometimes violent. In 1960 white voters approved his recommendation that South Africa leave the British Commonwealth, and his dream of a republic came true. He was stabbed to death in the parliamentary chamber by a parliamentary messenger of mixed descent.

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Universalium. 2010.