Johannes Gerhardus "JG Strydom or Hans Strydom" Strijdom
1893 - 1958
Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom, best known as JG Strydom or Hans Strydom was born on 14 July 1893 in Cape Town. He was 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 segregation that led the way to the establishment of the system of Apartheid.
He was born on the family farm Klipfontein near Willowmore in Cape Colony and trained as a lawyer at Victoria College (which later became the University of Stellenbosch) and the University of Pretoria. Strijdom later settled in Nylstroom, Transvaal. He identified strongly with this area and its people and became a local community leader among the Afrikaners. In 1929, Strijdom was elected to the House of Assembly as MP for Waterberg, representing 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.
He was briefly married to the actress Margaretha van Hulsteyn, but they divorced within a year. His second wife was Susan de Klerk, aunt of future President F W de Klerk. Two children were born to Strijdom by his second wife, Johannes and Estelle. Susan Strijdom died in 1999 and Estelle then Crowson in 2009.
There are still various monuments dedicated to him in South Africa. One monument in central Pretoria, which featured his bust, collapsed in 2001 injuring two people. His house in Modimolle, formerly Nylstroom, is now a museum, which holds parts of the collapsed bust. Perhaps most notably the Hillbrow Tower in Johannesburg was officially named the J.G. Strijdom Tower until 1995 shortly after the conclusion of apartheid when it was renamed the Telkom Hillbrow Tower. In the western suburb of Johannesburg, Weltevreden Park, there is a road named JG Strijdom Road, which is named after him.
JG Strijdom passed away on 24 August 1958 in Cape Town at the age of 65 years.