Matie Voices

Dr DF Malan

SU Chancellor 1941–1959

Born on 22 May 1874 on the farm Allesverloren in Riebeek West, Daniël Francois (DF) Malan held the position of Stellenbosch University chancellor for 18 years, making it the longest term of service of all its chancellors to date.

Malan started his studies at the Victoria College in Stellenbosch, where he obtained a BA in music and science before entering the Theological Seminary (Kweekskool) in order to become a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church (NGK) in South Africa. He also completed an MA in philosophy at the Victoria College during this period.

In 1900, Malan departed South Africa to study towards a doctorate in divinity, which he obtained from the University of Utrecht five years later. When he returned to the country in 1905, he was ordained as a minister of the NGK. For the following six months he took up the position of assistant minister in the Heidelberg region of Transvaal (today known as Gauteng).

Thereafter he was stationed in Montagu (1906 to 1912) and in Graaff-Reinet (1912 to 1915). He undertook a religious journey into Africa on behalf of the NGK, and met with Afrikaner Christian communities living in Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Outside of the church, Malan was passionate about campaigning for the acceptance of Afrikaans as emerging language and was deeply involved in the Second Afrikaans Language Movement. When the newspaper De Burger (later Die Burger) was founded in 1915, for instance, he was elected as its first editor, and when the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) was established in 1930, he was also a founding member.

When the Cape branch of the National Party was formed in 1915, Malan made the change from theology to politics and was subsequently elected as provincial leader of the NP. Three years later, during 1918, he was elected to parliament as MP for the Calvinia seat in the House of Assembly.

Over the course of the rest of his political career, Malan held the positions of minister of the interior, of education and of public health (1924 – 1933), as well as prime minister of South Africa (1948 – 1954). He passed away at Môrewag, his home in Stellenbosch, on 7 February 1959.

– By Steyn du Toit