-Caveat Lector-

1History of the Afrikaner
        Broederbond
Vereeniging, May 1902 and the bedraggled, tattered leaders of the Boer
forces gathered to talk about peace after three years of ex-
hausting, bitter war. Slowly they dribbled into the camp which had been set
up on the Transvaal side of the Vaal River. Indomit-
able, proud men,        whose small bands of farmer soldiers had seriously
embarrassed the British forces, the mightiest fighting machine in the world
at the time. Under a lull in the war, nego-tiated with the British
commander, Kitchener, the Boer warlords, many of whom had not seen each
other for months, years of fighting, greeted each other tiredly and sat down
to talk. Travelling under guaranteed safe conduct through the British lines,
Botha, De Wet, De la Rey, Kemp, Beyers, names which had become legends
throughout South Africa and across the Atlantic in the rich, leathery clubs
and stately homes of Britain, rode dustily into the camp. Smuts,
interrupting his siege of O'Okiep in the north-west Cape, arrived by train,
having been uneasily entertained by the British themselves, including Lord
Kitchener, who rode up on a magnificent black charger to greet him at
Kroonstad. Accom-panying him was the young Deneys Reitz, who described the
Transvaal commandos as "starving, ragged men, clad in skins or sacking,
their bodies covered with sores, from lack of salt and food . . .
their appearance was a great shock to us, who came from the
better-conditioned forces in the Cape."'

        In due course, on May 15, all sixty delegates from the Transvaal and
Orange Free State converged on Vereeniging and, with their governments,
commenced their discussions. The arguments ranged endlessly back and forth,
moving from extremes of opti-
mism, through a spectrum of harsh experience, to extremes of pessimism. But,
reports Kruger,2        "Submission was inevitable: it was palpable in the
tattered clothes of many delegates, in the absence of Steyn who was too sick
to appear publicly, in the vivid recollection of ruin from end to end of the
country."
        But still the talking and arguing dragged on. While some urged

35




peace, others supported the fiery Kemp, who declared: "As far as I am
concerned, I will fight on till I die."3 From Vereeniging, a

small delegation moved to Pretoria to try to negotiate terms with the
British, but the hated Milner was obdurate, and they returned empty-handed.
Slowly the deadline for a decision drew near, until on the last day, May 31,
the young Transvaal State Attorney, Jan Christian Smuts, stood up to speak.
"We are here not as an army, but as a people," he said. "We have not only a
military question, but also a national matter to deal with. No one here
represents his own commando. Everyone here represents the Afrikaner people,
and not only that portion which is still in the field, but also those who
are already under the sod and those who will live after we have gone. We
represent not only ourselves, but also the thou-sands who are dead and have
made the last sacrifice for their
people, the prisoners of war scattered all over the world, and the women and
children who are dying out by thousands in the con-centration camps of the
enemy; we represent the blood and the tears of an entire nation. They call
upon us, from the prison-of-war camps, from the concentration camps, from
the grave, from the field, and from the womb of the future, to decide wisely
and to avoid all measures which may lead to the decline and the
extermi-nation of the Afrikaner people, and thus frustrate the objects for
which they made all their sacrifices. Hitherto we have not con-tinued the
struggle aimlessly. We did not fight merely to be shot. We commenced the
struggle and continued it to this moment be-cause we wished to maintain our
independence, and were prepared to sacrifice everything for it. But we may
not sacrifice the
Afrikaner people for that independence. As soon as we are con-vinced that,
humanly speaking, there is no reasonable chance to re-tain our independence
as republics, it clearly becomes our duty to stop the struggle in order that
we may not perhaps sacrifice our people and our future for a mere idea which
cannot be realised." Continuing his eloquent plea for peace, he said the
result of the struggle should be left in God's hands. "Perhaps it is His
will to lead the people of South Africa through defeat and humiliation,
yea, even through the valley of the shadow of death, to a better future and
brighter day."4
        About an hour before the midnight deadline, the talking was
exhausted and after the hawklike De Wet suddenly switched and gave the nod
for peace, a statement drawn up by Smuts and his legal colleague Barry
Hertzog was signed that "We, the national
36
representatives of both the South African Republic and the Orange Free State
. . .   have with grief considered the proposal
made by His Majesty's Government in connection with the con-clusion of the
existing hostilities,   and their communication that
this proposal had to be accepted, or rejected, unaltered. We are sorry that
His Majesty's Government has absolutely declined to negotiate with the
Government of the Republics on the basis of their independence . . . Our
people . . . have always been under the impression that not only on the
grounds ofjustice, but also taking into consideration the great material and
personal sacrifices made for their independence, that they had a
well-founded claim for that independence."5
        After setting out the reasons for laying down their arms, the
statement ended: "We are therefore of the opinion that there is no
justifiable ground for expecting that by continuing the war the nation will
retain its independence, and that, under these circum-
stances, the nation is not justified in continuing the war, because this can
only lead to social and material ruin, not for us alone, but also for our
posterity . . ."
        England rejoiced. In Holland, one of the protagonists who started
the war, Paul Kruger, placed his hand on the open Bible and murmured, "God
will not forsake His people."6 In South Africa some of the Boers smashed
their rifles rather than hand them over, some refused to swear allegiance to
the Crown and were deported, but most conceded defeat and trudged off to a
for-bidding future.
        As the silent groups of guerilla fighters returned to their desolate
farms, their bitterness fanned the flames of a new nationalism. Materially
the war had taken a heavy toll. Towards the end, the British had adopted a
scorched earth policy and had laid waste the Boer farms. They had also
established concentration camps for the "protection" of Boer women and
children. Although many gave themselves up voluntarily to these camps, they
led to one of the most bitter aspects of the war - 26 000 Afrikaner women
and chil-dren died in conditions of terrible disease and hardship. The fact
that scores of British died of the same diseases did little to expati-ate
the bitter grief of the Boer veterans. Hardly an Afrikaans fam-ily did not
lose a mother, young son or daughter in the camps, and even today accounts
of the deprivation and hardship they caused are passed on from one
generation to the next. Spiritually, the Boers emerged in better shape. They
could hold their heads high

37



in any company as fighters. Britain had put 448000 men in the field, while
the Boers could at no time call upon more than 70 000, and probably never
had more than 40000 in active service. The British were trained soldiers,
while the sharpshooting Boers were almost exclusively civilians under arms.
In round figures, 7000 British soldiers were killed and 20000 wounded. The
Boers lost 4000 men. They were justifiably proud of their war record. With
this pride was a burning nationalism and a determination to be-come the
rulers of their land - one day.
        And, of course, they had their bitterness and hate to sustain them.
Lord Salisbury was prophetically accurate when he said that if the Boers
submitted without fighting, they would hate the British for a generation;
if they fought and were beaten they
would hate much longer.'        The imprint has not faded and there is an
unhappy measure of truth in the persistent South African cliche that the
Boer War is still being fought today.
        A fundamental and powerful factor in that abiding hate was Lord
Milner, the tyrannical High Commissioner whose rigorous imperialism so
antagonised the Boers. As Kruger points out, the great achievements of
British colonial administrators all over the world have usually stemmed from
their love of the country and people they administered. When Milner wrote
from South Africa,
"I have always been unfortunate in disliking my life and surround-ings
here," he laid bare     a fundamental disqualification for his job.
If Milner disliked South Africa, the Boers detested him and all he stood
for. They particularly detested his policy of anglicising the
Afrikaner. Under the British regime, Afrikaans became a despised  language.
Children were allowed to speak it only three hours a week at school,
otherwise they had to carry a placard proclaiming,
"I am a donkey, I spoke Dutch." O'Meara' observes: "Within the imperialist
colonial states,        a clear cultural oppression operated
against Afrikaans speakers. Long before the war ended the inde-pendence of
the Republics, so generating a fierce cultural response, the language of the
Cape had inspired a strong cultural nationalism. More importantly, in an
essential peripheral economy domi-nated by the ideology of imperialist
interest, for those Afrikaners unprepared to accept cultural assimilation,
and who possessed a modicum of training,        rendering them unsuitable
for manual labour, employment opportunities were limited. English was the
language of the economy."
Herein lay the seeds of more Afrikaner resentment. The devas-
38
tation of their lands by the British during the war, crop failures, drought
and depression forced many of them off the land and into the cities,
particularly the goldfields of the Witwatersrand. Here, proud landowners
became labourers - a pathetic, dejected group, whose bitterness and family
responsibilities were all that kept them going. From the bitterness of
military defeat, they were forced to the greater bitterness of economic
subjection by the same foe, British imperialism.
        But in this ravaged emotional and spiritual wasteland, little
breezes were kicking up dusty hopes. Poets like Eugene Marais,
Totius, C Louis Leipoldt and others were giving dignity, depth and cultural
validity to the Afrikaans language. Politically, there were stirrings as
well. General Louis Botha in the Transvaal organised his people in a new
political union called Het Volk, with an underlying philosophy of "forgive
and forget". Four years after defeat, Botha became the first premier of the
Transvaal. In the Orange Free State, Abraham Fischer, with Hertzog and De
Wet, organised the Orangia Unie and in 1907, he became its Prime Minister.
In the Cape the following year, John X Merriman reju-venated the Afrikaner
Bond and came to power under the banner of the new South African Party. The
elements of Afrikaner recon-struction were beginning to grow.
        On May 31 1910, the Act of Union was passed, moulding South

Africa into a constitutional unit. The parochial, provincial ele-ments of
Afrikaner political expression combined under Botha, the first Union Prime
Minister, in the form of the National South African Party. The party was
only formally founded in November 1911, after it had won the election and
had ruled for some time. At the formation, speeches were given by most of
the Boer heroes, including General Botha, President M T Steyn, Generals J H
de la Rey, J B M Hertzog and J C Smuts. But it was an uneasy and arti-ficial
alliance, the first signs of which came when "National" was dropped from its
title. General Hertzog, particularly, was an un-comfortable presence. He was
unpopular with the English section of the population and with the Press,
largely because of his record in education matters. While he was Minister of
Education in the Free State in 1908, he passed a law which put Dutch and
English on a par in the schools and also made mother-tongue instruction
compulsory until Standard Six. General Botha tried to keep Hert-zag out of
the Cabinet by offering him a post as an appeal judge, but he refused."
Constitutionally, South Africa was indeed uni-
        39



fied, but emotionally and politically deep divisions remained.
Afrikanerdom split into two distinct camps inside the same party. On the one
hand, there were those who subscribed to Botha's dic-tum of forgive and
forget, which led to the accusation that he began to ignore the interests of
his own people, giving preference to the British. On the other hand, there
was the Afrikaans langu-age champion, Hertzog, pursuing a policy of South
Africa First, which sought to unite South Africans into one Afrikaner
nation, free from any form of imperialism.
        Eventually, Botha felt compelled to drop Hertzog from his Cabinet,
but, as if nothing had happened, Hertzog stayed on in the
party. Then, on December 28 1912, he made a ringing speech in Pretoria and
outraged British sensibilities when he said he would rather live with his
own people on a dunghill than stay in the pal-aces of the British Empire.
Botha was appalled, but was unable to subdue his outspoken compatriot.
        The inevitable split came the following year at the united con-gress
of the SAP in the Cape in November, where voting was 131 to 90 in favour of
Botha continuing without Hertzog. The latter walked out of the congress,
followed by the revered Boer com-
mander, General de Wet, who, with a flourish, waved his hat at the congress
and called out "adieu". And it really was goodbye; the split was
irrevocable.
        In January 1914, Hertzog called a special congress of his supporters
where the National Party was formed.
        The first acid test for the separating streams of Afrikanerdom came
the same year when World War 1 was declared. Botha felt that South Africa,
as part of the Empire, was compelled to enter the war. Constitutionally, he
was left little alternative. But it was too soon to put the Union of South
Africa to such a test. Afrikanerdom was seriously divided within itself, and
the Boer
War, concluded only 12 years previously, loomed large in the memories of the
Afrikaner people. Botha's quandary became agon-ising when Britain accepted
his offer of assistance and, moving outside the limits of its intentions,
immediately requested him to seize the German territory of South West
Africa. Hertzog won enormous Afrikaner support by strenuously opposing this
prop-
osition, saying it was contrary to "South Africa First" and was really only
in the interests of the British Empire. Only 12 years after the Boer War,
with heartbreak and grief still deep in Afrikaner hearts, the stage was
being set for an even more trau-
40
matic experience - Broedevtwis, brother taking up arms against brother.
        A remarkable set of coincidences lit the fuse of the Afrikaner
fratricide. Botha was quietly, behind the scenes, setting in motion the
training of a force of men to march on South West Africa. General de la Rey,
a Senator in Botha's party, had other ideas and saw in the war an
opportunity to win the final victory of the Boer War and gain republican
independence for South Africa. General
Beyers, Botha's Commander-in-Chief was also against active par-ticipation in
the war, but remained irresolute. De la Rey brooded in restive agitation at
home in Lichtenburg. Nearby lived a man, Niklaas van Rensburg, who was
reputed to be a seer and prophet, gifted with second sight.
        It was said that during the Boer War, while serving with De la Rey,
he had used this gift to save many military situations in the nick of time.
As a consequence many people, including his former general, believed in him
implicitly. During this period of torment over whether to fight Britain's
war or not, Van Rensburg claimed to have had a vision in which a red bull
and a grey bull had a fight to the death. The red bull was trampled in the
dust. This was taken to be a sign that Germany, associated with grey, would
defeat
Britain, unmistakeably represented by red. Van Rensburg, in his vision, also
saw the number 15 against a dark cloud from which blood poured. He saw De la
Rey, with his head bare, coming home and he saw a carriage filled with
flowers. These visions were interpreted as the scenes of the restoration of
the republican flag and as the triumphant return of De la Rey on the 15th of
the
month. The story of Van Rensburg's vision spread like wildfire across the
western Transvaal and gave rise to the belief that the Great War in Europe
was the opportunity for the realisation of the Afrikaners' republican dream.
        De la Rey began seriously to think in terms of a revolt against
Botha. He prevailed upon the less convinced Beycrs and a conspir-acy of
officers was hatched. It included Major J C G Kemp, com-manding the 1400 men
in training for the South West expedition at Potchefstroom, and Lt. Col. S G
Maritz, in command of the training camps in the north western Cape. On 15
September Beyers resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the armed
forces. On the same day, he and De la Rey left Pretoria for Potchefstroom,
where Kemp was waiting to start the revolt. Also on that day, on the
instructions of the Botha government, armed pa-
41


trols were out, manning roadblocks and searching for the notorious Foster
gang, a band of robbers and murderers who had es-caped the law for months.
On the way to Potchefstroom, De la Rey and Beyers came upon one of these
roadblocks and, thinking their plot had been revealed, crashed through it.
Further on, they attempted the same at a second roadblock. A policeman,
aiming at the wheels of the speeding car, opened fire and a bullet,
ricochet-ting off the road, found De la Rey's heart. He died in the arms of
his stunned friend and co-conspirator. His death was also the death of the
planned revolt. Beyers, never absolutely convinced about the course he was
on, quickly pulled out and Kemp, when he heard the news, hastily
countermanded all the steps he had taken. Five days later, thousands
gathered at De la Rey's home town of Lichtenburg for the funeral of one of
the most respected and well-loved of the Boer leaders. Botha and Smuts
attended as well as De Wet and Beyers, not yet openly rebels. The prophet
Van Rensburg had not been entirely wrong. There was De la Rey, bare-headed
on his bier; there was a carriage festooned with flowers and
wreaths; and there was the bloodstained car. An ugly mood pre-vailed at the
graveside, where grief-stricken Afrikaners believed that the famous old
fighter had been killed, not by accident, but on instruction from the
Government. In vain, Botha and Smuts tried to explain what had happened and
eventually the crowd dispersed, muttering threats against the Prime
Minister.
        This sullen mood spread throughout the western Transvaal and
northern Free State, stoking up emotions to exploding point.
        H S Webb in his Oorzaken van de Rebellie described some of the
scenes which led up to the rebellion.
        "At a National Party meeting at Potchefstroom on October 2, a wild
mob interrupted the meeting and threw rotten eggs and dead cats at the
General (de Wet) - the hero of heroes of the Afrikaners" (p 48). And at a
concert in Pretoria to celebrate Kruger's birthday on October 10, at which
General Beyers was to speak, "eggs, tomatoes and sinister objects were
thrown at him, while the British National Anthem was sung" (p 50).
        The fuse was lit when Maritz, far away in the Cape, raised the
standard of revolt and, after some hesitation, declared the indepen-dence of
the Union. In itself, Maritz's action was doomed, but it provided the charge
to galvanise the rest of the country into armed rebellion. Botha, faced with
a massive crisis, took to the field him-self It was Boer commander against
Boer commander as De Wet
42

\
        \
called his Free Staters to arms and Kemp did the same in the Transvaal.
Beyers, who ostensibly should have led the Transvaal
rebels, did not have his heart in the fight against fellow Afrikaners and
took to the bush, eventually to be forced into the fray. Botha, able to
mobilise huge resources, soon scattered the rebels. Kemp and Beyers, nearly
out of ammunition, began to pin their hopes on Maritz soldiering on near the
German South West border. Eventu-ally Kemp, with 600 mounted men, struck out
across the Kalahari to join forces with Maritz. Beyers, hounded by
Government forces tried to recross the Vaal River, from the Free State back
to the Transvaal. He met his death from heart failure in the swollen waters
of the river. When his body was recovered, it was found that he had not
fired a single shot from his Mauser pistol. He had been a rebel by
circumstance, never by conviction.
        Meanwhile, in the Free State, De Wet continued the rebel strug gle,
but Botha's superiority soon began to tell and, like Kemp, De Wet decided to
strike out to join forces with Maritz. He never made it; with dwindling
support and with his resources rapidly exhausting themselves, he was harried
across the veld until he was cornered on a farm near Kuruman. The legendary
warrior, who had fought so successfully against the British, finally gave
himself up to a fellow Afrikaner, Colonel J F Jordaan, and was locked up in
the Johannesburg Fort to await trial.
        With the capture of De Wet and the death of Beyers, the fire of
resistance in the rebel forces was extinguished, except for Kemp and Maritz
and a small band of die-hards in the Pretoria district under the leadership
of Captain Joseph Fourie. "Jopie" Fourie joined the rebellion, but made the
cardinal error of not first resign-ing his commission from the Government
forces. After a sharp
skirmish, in which the Government troops lost heavily, Fourie was captured,
arraigned at a field court marshal1 and condemned to death for treason.
Leading Afrikaners, like Dr D F Malan, the Cape Dutch Reformed Church
minister, pleaded with the Government for leniency, but with no success. On
December 20 1914, Jopie Fourie, bravely singing a hymn, faced a firing
squad. The shot that killed him became a symbol to Afrikaner nationalism,
that imperialism, and Afrikaners who co-operated with it, could be trusted
never again.
        Kemp, after an epic trek across the desert, managed to join up with
Maritz and for a while they together scored a number of victories over the
Government soldiers. But it could not last.
43


Eventually, Maritz fled to Angola and then to Portugal and Spain.
Kemp surrendered and, with his officers, was taken to Johannes-burg to stand
trial.l1 In the first half of 1915, the rebel leaders were
tried and convicted to varying terms of imprisonment and fines. De Wet was
sentenced to six years'jail and a L2 000 fine, Kemp to seven years'
imprisonment and a El 000 fine. None served the full prison terms, however,
and by the end of 1916 all had been re-leased after their fines were paid by
public subscription. Kruger" sums up:   "The rebellion was over, but it had
been no slight affair.
Thousands had taken part, hundreds of lives had been lost and the cost in
money was high. The rebellion had important political
consequences. All ex-rebels, who had not been political supporters of
Hertzog before now became such, and their relatives and friends speedily
joined th.en- ranks. They bitterly hated Botha and Smuts and their policy
which they blamed for the whole affair.
Memories of the South African war with its destruction of prop-erty and its
concentration camps revived and Botha and Smuts were henceforth classed as
renegade Afrikaners. Botha's op-ponents did not realise that for him also it
had been a terrible ex-
perience, that in his heart poignant memories had been revived and that the
rebellion was to hasten him to his end."
        Botha paid the political price of the rebellion in the general
election later that year. During his campaign, he suffered the terrible
humiliation of having insults like "bloodhound", "murderer", "traitor",
"Judas" thrown in his face.13 Hertzog scored huge divi-
dends and in the end Botha's South African Party and its Indepen-dent
supporters received 95 000 votes as against Hertzog's 77 000, forcing Botha
into coalition with the ardently pro-war Unionists, who were hated by many
Afrikaners as "British Jingoes".14

        Deep Afrikaner divisions persisted throughout World War
1.Politically in turmoil, economically oppressed, culturally con-
fused, the Afrikaner by the end of the war was a dispirited, demoralised,
broken soul. It was into this grim scenario that the Afrikaner Broederbond
was born. It was a birth marked by fire and violence. On the night of April
17 1918 a Nationalist meeting, addressed by the party's Cape leader, Dr D F
Malan, who had left the church for politics, was broken up by a mob. The
National Club building in Johannesburg was vandalised, fittings and
furni-ture were smashed up and set alight in the street. In the mayhem,
members of the audience were beaten up. It had a marked effect on three
young Afrikaners, H J Klopper, H W van der Merwe, and
44

D H C du Plessis. Still in their late teens, the three met on a koppie in
Kensington, Johannesburg the following day and pledged themselves to form an
organisation to defend the Afrikaner and return him to his rightful place in
South Africa. They were helped in their task with advice from the Reverend J
F Naude, a Dutch Reformed Church minister. On the evening of June 5 1918,
they held a meeting with a few others at the home of Danie (D H C) du
Plessis in Malvern. This meeting can really be taken as the forma-tion of
the Afrikaner Broederbond, at that stage called Jong Suid-Afrika.
        In his review, O'Meara ascribes the birth of the organisation firmly
to imperialism which    "was seen as having operated since 1806 to divide
Afrikaans-speakers with conflicting classes, and, since the Slagtersnek
rebellion, the (Great) Trek, and 1877 annexa-tion of the Transvaal, and
finally the conquest of the Republics, subjected them with increasing
oppression, impoverishment and division. The Afrikaner Broederbond was born
into, and self-con-sciously as a result of, these divisions."15
        Professor A N Pelzer, a leading Broeder, explained the
organisation's initial problems in his historical review given at the Broe-
derbond's 50th Anniversary in 1968. "For understandable reasons," he said,
"it was difficult to explain the aims of the Bond
clearly in words, with the result that, in the beginning, people were
allowed in to the movement who thought it was just another cultural society.
In this way, many disappointments were suffered and it took more than two
years before the Bond took on its final
shape. On September 21 1920, the rules of the Bond were accepted, which made
an end to the initial uncertainty."
        At that stage, the Broederbond consisted of 37 members, who declared
themselves the founders of the Bond.
        One of the earliest members was Mr L L du Plessis, (not to be
confused with Professor L J du Plessis), who said the Broederbond was
originally an   Afrikaans organisation to propagate the Afrikaans language
and bring together serious-minded young Afrikaners in Johannesburg and on
the Reef.
        "It was nothing more than a semi-religious organisation," Mr du
Plessis added. "Meetings were held in the parsonages of the Jeppe and Irene
congregations, as well as in the Irene church hall, where the late Reverend
W Nicol (later moderator of the Neder-duitse Gereformeerde Kerk and
Administrator of the Transvaal), was Minister."
45





        It was an open organisation then and the members were ex-
pected to wear Broederbond buttons on their coats. Of the
founder, Henning Klopper, Mr du Plessis said, "We were at school together
and we worked together for years in the railway
service. He is an idealist of the first magnitude and a man who never
touches alcohol and tobacco."
        One of the first 18 young Broeders, Lourens Erasmus Botha
van Niekerk, pondered in a newspaper interview in 1964: "I won-der why the
Broederbond has become the way they say it has?"

        He found it puzzling that the organisation had become such a
potent underground force, that it had seized sufficient power to take upon
itself the guidance and administration of an entire nation.     "It was
never intended to be like that, I can assure you,"
Mr van Niekerk said. "I can remember the first days of the Bond. It was in
the year of the great 'flu when 18 of us got together one night in the old
Irene church hall in Plein Street, and decided to form an Afrikaner society.
There were 11 railwaymen, six
policemen and one outsider. The driving force behind the estab-lishment of
the society was Henning Klopper.
        "We formed the Broederbond as a kind of counterpart to socie-
ties and clubs which, in those days, were exclusively English-
speaking. Those were hard days for the Afrikaner. Everything was English and
Afrikaans-speaking people found it hard to make out. We decided the
Broederbond would be for Afrikaners only - any
A#rikaner - and that it would be a sort of cultural society. We started
raising funds to build up a library and we invited promi-nent Afrikaners to
give lectures. There was nothing sinister about the Bond in those days. We
had our own colours - green, gold and grey - and we had some good times. In
1922, I was transferred by police headquarters to Port Elizabeth and later
to Bloemfontein, where I lost touch with the Bond. They never communicated
with me after that."
        On August 26 1921, at a meeting in the old Carlton Hotel, the
members decided to transform the Bond into a secret society
(Oelofse report, p 8).
        At the 50th anniversary of the Broederbond in 1968, only nine
founder members were still alive and Henning Klopper made a rousing speech
about the organisation he formed and which had taken over effective control
of almost every public position.
        According to another founder member, Mr L J Erasmus, who later left
the organisation,       the Bond's decision to go "under-
46

ground" was justified.  "The confidential nature of its activities
and membership was only decided upon under pressure of the cruel realities
of those post 1918 days as a matter of tactics, and
self-preservation strategy."    Members, particularly civil servants and
teachers, claimed they were persecuted because of their open association
with the Bond. If the Bond went underground, they could carry on the
furtherance of its aims unharmed.
        The tide had turned. From an idealistic, open society for the
Afrikaner, the Bond was on its way to becoming a secret Afrikaner elite
organisation, determined to rule South Africa.
        After the decision in favour of secrecy the members spent their time
planning the expansion of the organisation and implementing a masterplan for
ruling South Africa. A rigorous set of rules guarding its secrecy was laid
down, so that no outsider knew who its members were, its plans, or even its
successes and failures.The first branch of the Broederbond existed for three
years before a second was formed - on the West Rand on August 26 1921. The
next year, on March 3 1922, an East Rand branch was formed.
        From the time that Mr Iwan Lombard became the Broeder-bond's first
full-time secretary on January 1 1931, the organisation really expanded, as
shown below:
        Number of Cells Members
1920    1       37
1925    8       162 . . 1930    23      512
1935    80      1 395 1940      135     1 980
1945    183     2811 1950       260     3 662
1955    332     4 749 1960      409     5760
1965    484     6 966 1968      560     8 154
1977    810     12 000
By 1968 - 50 years after formation - the three Transvaal branches
had increased to 237, Cape to 191, Orange Free State 97, Natal 19, South
West Africa 11, and Rhodesia 5. The one branch in Lusaka,
Zambia, was disbanded in 1965166.
        In its 60 years of existence,   the Broederbond had only 12
chairmen:
47




H J Klopper -June 5 1918 to June 26 1924 - later Speaker of the

        House of Assembly.
W. Nicol -June 26 1924 to March 13 1925 - later Administrator of

        the Transvaal.
J H Greybe - March 13 1925 to May 26 1928.
J W Potgieter - May 26 1928 to September 6 1930. L J du Plessis - September
6 1930 to August 13 1932 -later Profes-
        sor at Potchefstroom University. J C van Rooy - August 13 1932 to
October 6 1938 - Professor at
        Potchefstroom University.
N Diederichs - October 6 1938 to October 3 1942 - later Minister

        of Finance and State President.
J C van Rooy - October 3 1942 to February 23 1952. H B Thorn - October 1
1952 to November 24 1960 - later Rector
        of Stellenbosch University.
P J Meyer - November 24 1960 to 1972 - Chairman Board of

        Directors, SABC.
A P Treurnicht - 1972 to 1974 - Deputy Minister.
G Viljoen - 1974 - Rector of Rand Afrikaans University.

        All the Broederbond chairmen - with one notable exception remained
faithful to the secret society until the end. The exception was Lodewicus
Johannes du Plessis. One of Afrikanerdom's most talented sons, he became one
of the leaders of the Super-Afrikan-
ers, later tried to break its ranks, became a rebel, and died a lonely man.
The Du Plessis story illustrates the strong hold the Broeder-bond can take
on individuals, no matter how brilliant they are. For even when he was at
his bitterest and in an open feud with the Prime Minister, Dr H F Verwoerd,
he never dared attack the Broederbond openly.
        Wikus du Plessis, son of a professor at a theological school, was
born on February 10 1897, at Burgersdorp. He was a brilliant scholar in four
disciplines: economics and political science, in which he got an M. Econ;
classics, in which he obtained an M.A.; and law, in which he obtained an
L.L.B.
        He was elected chairman of the Broederbond on September 6 1930, and
served until August 13 1932. On April 1 1933, he be-came professor in
political science and law at the Potchefstroom University College for
Christian Higher Education. Also in 1933, he became chairman of the National
Party in the Transvaal. He was professor until the end of December 1946 when
he moved to
48

Johannesburg, to immerse himself in the economic struggle of the Afrikaner.

        "Undoubtedly, it was worry over the economic position of the
Afrikaner and his own calling to make a contribution to the im-provement
thereof which made him take that step."i6 Du Plessis was one of the founders
of Volkskas and for eleven years he was chairman of the board of directors.
He also played a key role in forming Asokor,    Kopersbond and Dagbreekpers,
one of the pil-
lars on which the mighty Afrikaans Press group, Perskor, was based. The
present chairman of Perskor, Mr Marius Jooste, said of
him: "Up to that time (the beginning of the fifties), I do not know of a
single foundation in the north, as well as many in the southern
part of South Africa, in which Wikus du Plessis did not have a share - I go
so far as to say that no other Afrikaner of which I
know, can be compared to this, when it comes to the forming of Afrikaner
businesses."17  Du Plessis was an outstanding political
theorist, rather than a leader. After fusion, he became the first chairman
of the Transvaal National Party. "He played a leading role in it (the NP),
especially in policy formulations. The consti-tution (draft republican
constitution) was almost exclusively his
creation. It is no longer any secret that Dr Malan at one stage con-sidered
Professor du Plessis as his successor."1o
        Du Plessis served on the Supreme Council of the militant Osse
wabrandwag, and was its policy chief until 1946. He became chair-man of the
unity committee which had to try and establish recon-ciliation between the
Ossewabrandwag and the National Party. He was never a conformist, except,
perhaps, for the period he was in the Broederbond leadership. But even of
that time he said: "I was not a founder, but a reformer of the
Broederbond."" He did not explain what he meant by it, probably because he
still felt bound by the oath of secrecy.
        The rift between Du Plessis and the party and Broederbond leaders
became deeper and deeper. He challenged concepts such as White baasskap,
and said colour discrimination should go. He pleaded for proper
consolidation of the homelands and diplomatic ties with Africa - views with
which any verligte Nationalist would today agree, but in the late fifties,
were regarded as heresy. Du Plessis was so far ahead of his time that the
strain between him and Verwoerd reached breaking point. In 1959, he was
expelled from the National Party by the Transvaal Head Committee, and also
re-placed as chairman of the Dagbreek board of directors. On his ex-
49




.
p&ion from the party, he said:  "Dr Verwoerd has not silenced me; only God
Almighty can do that. I am only to be in abeyance for a while, like Nehru."
        The final humiliation was his expulsion from the Broederbond, the
organisation he joined and steered in its formative years. In
1960, he wrote to Mr J P van der Spuy, the Secretary of the Broe-derbond:
        "I do not write to justify myself or to persuade anybody, but only
as witness to my own conscience. And I hope I write with no
self-glorification or personal grief, but straightforward, and to the
point.. .       in deep sorrow over the wonderful opportuni-
ties missed by Afrikanerdom, because of the narrow-mindedness and
imperiousness of the leaders - who dare not accept heroic vision because the
nation (volk) is supposedly not ready for it, but at the same time try to
destroy everyone who undertakes to pre-pare the nation (for change).
However, I hope, through the grace of God, that they will not be able to
destroy me - because I fear nobody and I believe only and exclusively in God
Almighty, through Jesus Christ our Lord."20
        Soon after the break between Du Plessis and the Super-Afrikaners,
the rumours started - that he was an alcoholic, that he was "off his head",
and did not know what he was doing.
        In 1963, he underwent a brain operation.
        According to Potgieter: "After that, his life became still. His
voice no longer heard in clear and persuasive tones. His crafty pen no
longer writing. His energetic life came to such a sudden end . . ."21 It was
a chilling epitaph. Wikus du Plessis died in 1968, a
lonely man, rejected by the men he helped to unite Afrikanerdom, and through
their propaganda, by Afrikanerdom at large.
        1968 was the year of Du Plessis' death, but it was also a year of
triumph for the Afrikaner Broederbond. It marked fifty years of its
existence, fifty vigorous years during which it left its insidious imprint
on every major political event in South Africa's de-
velopment. It had grown from small, desperate beginnings to be-come a giant
shadow, a spectre of enormous power working be-hind the scenes,
manipulating, squeezing, forming South Africa's policies and strategies for
the sake of Afrikanerdom. But mingled with the triumphs, those 50 years also
saw their setbacks and crises.
        Ironically, the Broederbond came into being on a wave of emotion and
fervour largely symbolised by Hertzog in the World War
50
1 years: ironically, because Hertzog was destined to be the first person
publicly to deal the organisation a punishing body blow, the first to
present it with a real crisis.
1. Kruger, R, Goodbye Dolly Gray, p 4%.

2. Ibid. p 497. 3. Ibid.
4. Kestell, D E, and van Velden, J D, The Peace Negotiations between Boer
and

        Briton in South Africa, pp 188-191.
5. Kruger, R, Goodbye Dolly Gray, p 503. 6. Kruger, D W, The Making ofa
Nation, p 19. 7. Troup, F, South Africa: An Historial Introduction, p 190.
8. Goodbye Dolly Gray, p 509.
9. O'Meara, Dan, The Afrikaner-Broederbond 1927-1948: Class Vanguard of

        Afrikaner Nationalism, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol 3,
April
        1977, p 161. 10.        Van Rooyen, Jan J, Die Nasionale Party - Sy
Opkotns en Oorwinning - Kaapland se Aandeel, p 2.
11. Under a general amnesty non-commissioned rebels were released. It was a

heavy factor against the rebel leaders, because with the lure of a pardon,
much of the fight went out of their men, who quit and went home.
12. The Making of a Nation, p 95 (from which the bulk of the account of the
        rebellion was taken). 13. Ibid. p 102.
14. Ibid. p 103.
15. O'Meara, Dan, The Afrikaner-Broederbond 1927-1948: Class Vanguard of

        Afrikaner Nationalism, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol 3.

16. Potgieter, P J J S, L] du Plessis as Denker oar Staat en Politick, p 9.
17. Die P U Kaner, November 19 1968, p 5.
18. Potgicter, P J J S, Lj du Plessis as Denker oar Staat en Politick, p 13.
19. Letter to the Sunday Express, June 22 1958.
20. Potgieter, P J J S, Lf du Plessis as Denker oar Staat en Politiek, p 17.
21. Ibid. p. 18.
51

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