"Trying to help Will Schreiner politically; I want 'She wrote Peter Halket' on my grave; it's what it cost me" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceSouth African News 18 October 1909 page 3
Archive
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date18 October 1909
Address Fromna
Address To
Who ToSouth African News
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
1One quality has always for me made J.H. Hofmeyr a great man. His
2ability, his energy and his tact were enormous; but these qualities
3alone could not, and did not, give him greatness. His greatness lay in
4this, that he was a man who never put the tinsel and show of things
5before the substance. With his vast ability and under the conditions
6of South African life, he might have been a man of gigantic wealth;
7there was no post or honour or decoration which he might not have
8obtained; no external show of power which he might not have grasped.
9Jan Hofmeyr walked quietly past all these things, and concentrated
10himself upon his work. His work was Jan Hofmeyr!
11
12Therefore, I think, whether they have agreed or not with his policy
13and aims, there is no man or women who has studied his life, who was
14not able to feel when the news of his death reached us yesterday, that
15a great South African had gone to rest.
16
17In a world where men and women are running restlessly hither and
18thither after paper crowns and tinsel robes, so thin that the wind
19blows holes through them, the element of true greatness in the life of
20the man who is gone, is one we cannot afford to forget.
21
22I am inclined to think that his loss at the present moment to both the
23English and Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the Cape Colony is almost
24irreparable.
25
Notation
This extract from a letter, which Olive Schreiner had either sent to the South African News or which was solicited by its editor, was published with other statements from a range of people following the mid October 1909 death of 'Onze Jan' Hofmeyr.