Onze Jan statue on Church Square

 

Politician Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr was affectionately known as ‘Onze Jan’, our Jan, in Dutch. His statue dominates the centre of Church Square, facing the Groote Kerk, close to Labotessa.

Hofmeyr served as a Minister of the Cape House of Assembly during the British rule of the Cape, from 1879 – 1909, representing the Stellenbosch constituency, until his death in London. He was the leader of the Dutch party, and represented the interests of the Dutch in the Cape.

He started his career as a political journalist, as editor of de Zuid-Afrikaan newspaper. His major role was to control the Dutch in the Cape Colony, through the Afrikaner Bond party, even though the Cape was under British rule at the time. He worked closely with Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes, until the Jameson Raid against the Boers in Transvaal in 1895. Hofmeyr focused on preventing war between the Boers and the British in the Cape from then onwards.

Through his influence Dutch become the co-official language of the Union of South Africa when it was created in 1910.

The statue of Hofmeyr was created by renowned sculptor Anton van Wouw.

 

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