Nie-eensgesindheid in eensgesindheid? Die verkiesing van Hendrik Verwoerd as eerste minister in 1958

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    This contribution focuses on the inner-party discord of the National Party leading to the election of Dr Hendrik Verwoerd as Prime Minister of South Africa in 1958. The National Party of 1958 was a complex party characterized by a federal party structure, regional differences, different personalities and even ideological undercurrents. In the first section of the contribution the focus falls on the intense political discord within the NP of 1958 until the death of Strijdom on 24 August. In this section the differences and election strategies of the different candidates come to the fore. In the second section the election of Verwoerd as party leader, and more specifically Prime Minister, is reconstructed. The third section focuses on the period from Verwoerd’s election as Prime Minister on 2 September until the appointment of his first cabinet on 21 Oktober 1958. It is in this cabinet that he had to unite regional differences, personalities, and even ideological undercurrents. This contribution ends (section 5) with the first cabinet meeting of the Verwoerd era (November 1958) which offered an interesting ideological twist – a twist that even found echoes in the later National Party leading up to 1994.