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Gerrit Viljoen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gerrit Viljoen
Rector of the  Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit
In office
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded by de Lange, J.P.
Administrator-General of South West Africa
In office
Preceded bySteyn, M.T.
Succeeded byHough, D.
Minister of Education
In office
Preceded byHartzenberg, F.
Succeeded by Louw, E.
Minister of Constitutional Development
In office
Preceded byHeunis. J.C.
Succeeded by Meyer, R.P.
Chairman of the Afrikaner Broederbond
In office
Preceded byTreunicht, A.P.
Succeeded byBoshoff, C.W.H.
Personal details
Gerrit van Niekerk Viljoen

(1926-09-11)September 11, 1926
Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
DiedMarch 29, 2009(2009-03-29) (aged 82)
Stilbaai, Western Cape
NationalitySouth African
Spouse(s)Maria Magdalena van der Merwe
Alma materAfrikaanse Hoër Seunskool, University of Pretoria, University of Cambridge, Leiden University
Known forEducation

Gerrit Van Niekerk Viljoen (11 September 1926 in Cape Town[1] – 29 March 2009) was a South African government minister and member of the National Party.

He was chair of the Broederbond from 1974 to 1980, Administrator-General of South West Africa from 1979 to 1980, Minister of Education in South Africa from 1980 to 1989, and Minister of Constitutional Development from 1989 to 1992.

Early life

He was born in Cape Town in 1926, the son of Helena and Hendrik Geldenhuys Viljoen, the editor of Huisgenoot magazine. He attended Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Afrikaans High School for Boys, also known as Affies), a popular and renowned public school located in Pretoria. He continued his studies at the University of Pretoria. Here he was elected to the Student Representative Council and in 1948 was a founder of the Union of Afrikaans students.

He studied classical literature and philosophy at the University of Cambridge, then at the University of Leiden, where he passed his Ph.D. summa cum laude. On returning to South Africa, he worked at the University of Pretoria and in 1967 was named vice-chancellor of the Rand Afrikaans University.

Political career

In 1974, he succeeded Andries Treurnicht as chair of the Broederbond, an influential organisation of Afrikaners, of which almost all South African government ministers of the time were members.

In 1979, he was appointed Administrator-General of South West Africa, and in 1980 joined the government of P. W. Botha as Minister of Education.

In 1989, he became Minister of Constitutional Development in the government of F. W. de Klerk. As a senior ideologue and spokesman of the National Party, he investigated several constitutional models for a "new South Africa", and took part in the first official negotiations with the African National Congress in May 1990 after the release of political prisoners including Nelson Mandela. During the CODESA negotiations he championed the idea of "group rights", differentiating them from "individual rights", and saw them as a way to entrench the rights of South African groups, including the white minority. He retired from politics and government in 1992 for reasons of health.

Gerrit Viljoen was the father of seven children.


  1. ^ "Harvard National Model United Nations" (PDF). Retrieved 29 January 2013.[permanent dead link]

External links

This page was last edited on 27 December 2019, at 21:24
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