E.G. Jansen se rol in belang van die Afrikaners in Natal
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The purpose of this study is to analyse the extensive services delivered to the people in Natal by E.G. Jansen. This analysis also presents an image regarding the most important cultural achievements obtained by the Afrikaners in Natal, during the first half of the century. The necessity of this study lies in the fact that it analyses the fundamentals of the cultural awakening of the Afrikaners in Natal, during the first half of the century. The dominant British character of Natal is another aspect which emphasizes the necessity of this study. It is noticeable that even the literature on Natal strengthens the image of Natal as predominantly English-speaking. Therefore this work is supplementary to the existing literature on the Afrikaners in Natal. E.G. Jansen was born in the Dundee district, on 7 August 1881. He grew up in Northern Natal and matriculated at Durban Boys' High in 1898. In 1901 he obtained a B.A. degree, and an LL.B degree in 1905. In 1906 he started to practise as an attorney and in 1908 he was called to the bar. In 1902 E.G. Jansen started working as an articled clerk in Pietermaritzburg. At that stage English social/culture patterns dominated the life in the community. One reason for that was that only a small number of Afrikaans speaking people lived in the capital at that stage. The population census of 1904 revealed that of the 97 109 Whites living in Natal, 16 000 were Afrikaners. The small Afrikaans-speaking population in Pietermaritzburg had no influence, whatsover, on life in the community. Their attention was centred mainly around the activities of the Dutch Reformed Congregation. On joining life in the community, Adv. Jansen also became involved in the activities of his church. He gave evening classes to boys in the vestry, joined the Christian Endeavour Society and supported his church's activities as deacon, organist and Sunday-school teacher. In the meantime, J.S.M. Rabie, editor of De Afrikaner, carried the post war cultural awakening, which occurred countrywide in the ranks of the Afrikaner, into Natal, by means of his paper. This clarion call was not without success. Afrikaners from Northern Natal persuaded Adv. Jansen to join the activities of the Boer Society, Het Kongres. His acceptance as member of the Boer Society led to his career in services to the people. He sacrificed a career which earned him a good living and gave rim security for the ideal of serving his fellow-citizens. By 1906, the Afrikaners in Pietermaritzburg started to leave their church lager and founded a Boer Society and later on a Debating Society. They also started preserving their buildings in commemoration of the Voortrekker founders of the city. E.G. Jansen was concerned in all these attempts. These activities of the Afrikaners caused the Editor of De Afrikaner to observe optimistically that the "sleeping" citizens in the Voortrekker capital were "awakening". These first signs of cultural awakening in the ranks of the Afrikaners in Pietermaritzburg, spread to other Afrikaner communities. E.G. Jansen, together with a small group of fighters for the maintenance of culture, started setting the cultural pace in Natal, by using De Afrikaner. E.G. Jansen and his fellow-fighters encouraged the Afrikaner communities which sprang up like mushrooms, to get in touch with one another. In this way the basis for the cultural awakening of the Afrikaner in Natal, was laid. This mutual contact caused the societies to become the nurseries of the cultural possession of the Natal Afrikaner. In this regard the approximately twelve societies had to serve as antipodes for the several Victorian nurseries which gave the British pulsation to Natal. The value of the Afrikaans societies can hardly be over-estimated. Apart from uniting the Afrikaners, these social gatherings also encouraged participation. Besides Dutch, members were enthusiastically busy talking, writing, reciting and singing Afrikaans, as well as studying their history. This involvement of the Afrikaners with their cultural properties paved the way for organized action. The involvement of Adv. Jansen and Prof. G. Besselaar with the S.A. Academy, led to the founding of the vigilance committees in Natal. This organization heralded the first phase of the struggle to establish our mother tongue in Natal schools. 11The Organization of Friends of the Dutch and Afrikaans Languuges11 in Natal, which was founded as a result of these activities, successfully carried through the movement of protest for equal language rights under leadership of intellectual students of the Afrikaans language, such as Jansen. This success led the budding self-consciousness of the Natal Afrikaners to new heights. In Pietermaritzburg, the ardency of E.G. Jansen and his group of fighters for the maintenance of culture, led to the founding of the first cultural federation in the country. "The Union for Co-operation of Natal Societies" can be regarded as a cultural dynamo amid the culture ranks. The modern notion to oppose the "Language Association" (Taalbond) at the first Afrikaans Language examinations, was the Union for Cooperation’s greatest achievement. This initiative accelerated the official recognition of Afrikaans. Another group of Pietermaritzburg citizens, including Adv. Jansen, studied the history of the Voortrekkers, furnished a Voortrekker museum in the Church of the Covenant and pursued an ideal which eventually led to the erecting of the Voortrekker Monument. Adv. Jansen, in the meantime, also joined in the political activities of the Natal Afrikaners. In a province, dominated by English politics, the achievements of this little group of Nationalists at the ballot-box, appeared amateurish. Although the National Party only managed to win a seat in Natal in 1921, and although they never really posed a threat to the United Party afterwards, E.G. Jansen laid the foundation of Nationalism in Natal. E.G. Jansen also carried a singular philosophy of life into Natal. He encouraged his fellow-citizens to be intellectual builders. He believed that if one's mind is developed, one's spiritual eyes will also be opened. He believed that if one is given a true understanding of life, of the universe and of himself, then his complacency will also wilt. As a result of this he will develop a reverence for God. Jansen also believed that if one's self- esteem is elevated, one must be loyal to oneself, to his people and to God. As cultural leader, Jansen taught his fellow citizens that they had within themselves the power which would enable them to maintain a footing and which would protect them against foreign influences. Being a moderate person, he also believed that the future of this country lay in co-operation between people. He did not regard conciliation as a political trump card, but as an attitude towards life which he practised throughout his life. Although E.G. Jansen delivered active service to his people on a national level, he mainly served his fellow-citizens in Natal. In a gripping public career, he was one of the first persons to further Afrikaans as a spoken and a written language; he established Afrikaner nationalism in Natal; he furthered the symbols of the Afrikaner culture in words, achievements and writing, committees and diverse organizations; he united the memory of the Voortrekkers in a museum, in monuments and in books and in doing so he gave form to the mythologization of the role played by the Voortrekkers. Above all, E.G. Jansen was a sensitive person, a gentleman par excellence in thought and conduct, polished and sincere, one who carried the hallmark of good breeding with distinction. This made him an exceptional advocate, a fighter for his language, a cultural leader and a leader of the people, conservationist, editor, speaker of parliament, minister and Governor General.
- Humanities