"Great meerkat attack on Dutch parson" Read the full letter

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z|All

Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr

Jan Hendrik (‘Onze Jan’) Hofmeyr (1845 - 1909) was a prominent Cape politician and newspaper editor. Hofmeyr was educated at the South African College and he began his career as a journalist, first editing the Volksvriend, then an amalgamated paper called the Zuid Afrikaan, and then eventually Ons Land. In 1879 he entered the Cape parliament as member for Stellenbosch, but his true political significance lay in his leadership of the Afrikaner Bond. The Bond was established in the Cape in 1880 to oppose British imperial influence and promote South Africa-wide Boer interests. From 1883 it was under the control of Hofmeyr, who had a more conciliatory approach. Until the mid 1890s the Bond exerted political influence chiefly by entering into alliances with politicians who would promote its concerns. It later gained direct political power in the Cape parliament. While Hofmeyr spent much of the early 1890s backing Rhodes, he withdrew the Bond’s support in the aftermath of the Jameson Raid and subsequently backed Will Schreiner to become Prime Minister in 1898.

Hofmeyr worked hard as a negotiator to prevent the outbreak of the South African War in 1899, trying on the one hand to get Kruger to agree to concessions regarding the uitlander franchise issue, and on the other hand to placate Milner. It is in this context that Schreiner’s single extant letter to Hofmeyr was written. This letter is a fascinating one, concerned with the then-immanent South African War, a polemical pamphlet Schreiner had written and its translation and expansion in further publications. It also has pencilled on it Hofmeyr’s response in the form of notes for his secretary, which clearly indicate the perceived importance of Schreiner’s support for the Republican cause.

For further information see:
T.H.R. Davenport (1966) The Afrikaner Bond London and Cape Town: Oxford University Press
J. H. Hofmeyr and F. W. Reitz (1913) The Life of Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr (Onze Jan) Cape Town: Van de Sandt De Villiers Printing Co.
Liz Stanley & Helen Dampier (2012, in press) “‘I just express my views & leave them to work’: Olive Schreiner as a feminist protagonist in a masculine political landscape with figures & letters” Gender & History
Mordecai Tamarkin (1996) Cecil Rhodes and the Cape Afrikaners: The Imperial Colossus and the Colonial Parish Pump London: Cass
Back to top


recipient icon Recipient Of
collection icon National Library of South Africa, Cape Town: Special Collections at the NLSA provide one of the leading locations for archival papers across many periods, organisations a... Show/Hide Collection Letters
Back to top


mentioned icon Mentioned In
collection icon National Archives Depot, Pretoria: The National Archives Depot is Pretoria is a leading location for archival papers across a wide time-period, organisations an... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown: The National English Literary Museum is the leading location for collections pertaining to the imaginative and creative writi... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon SCCS Edited Extracts: Four groups of edited extracts from Olive Schreiner's letters can be accessed from here, made by her estranged husband Cronwr... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon National Library of South Africa, Cape Town: Special Collections at the NLSA provide one of the leading locations for archival papers across many periods, organisations a... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon Newspapers: A collection of letters sent to various newspapers Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon University of Cape Town, Historical Manuscripts: Manuscripts & Archives at the University of Cape Town is a leading location for accessing archival papers across many per... Show/Hide Collection Letters
Back to top