JOHANNESBURG – Thousands of people across South Africa are celebrating the death of Hendrik Verwoerd, who died 50 years ago. Verwoerd, also known as the Architect of Apartheid, was murdered by the assassin Dimitri Tsafendas on September 6, 1966.
Older South Africans remember the former president fondly.
“I still have wonderful memories of the police dragging us out of our house to save us from the bulldozers that came to demolish the house to make way for a nice, all-white neighbourhood,” smiles Shiya Ikhaya of Meadowlands. “If Verwoerd didn’t send the police before he sent the bulldozers, I’d be dead.”
“I was so happy when I got my dompas,” laughed Gift Opayo of Boipatong. “I even had a special permit to walk into the white neighbourhood and I was allowed to work there. It’s a pity I had to burn it.”
“Verwoerd never allowed us to take the bus,” sighed Famba Gudwini. “I had to walk a lot. It was good for my health. That’s why I’m so old now.
“I was grateful for my Bantu Education,” remembered Thokozane Didizane of Soshanguve. “It provided me with just enough skills to be a good servant for the whites. I never had to suffer and become a dentist.”
“My father wanted to be a farmer,” Precious Kancane of Hammanskraal. “Thankfully, Verwoerd made sure he couldn’t own land, so he had to move to the township for work. I loved our little corrugated shack, the muddy street and the pit toilet. I still live here, even after all these years.”
“Verwoerd laid the foundation for the creation of the most unequal society in the world,” opined Cinga Khosa of Thembisa. “Because of Verwoerd, we are number one.”
Celebrations should continue late into the night. BN
Miriam defied her tribal elders and got an education. She then defied her tribal elders and became a journalist. Now she defies her tribal elders by reporting on her tribal elders.