Hendrik Verwoerd

Biography of Hendrik Verwoerd

Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (8 September 1901 – 6 September 1966), commonly identified as H.F. Verwoerd, was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966. He is remembered as the man behind the conception and implementation of apartheid, a system of racial segregation dividing ethnic groups in the country.

He was Prime Minister during the establishment of the Republic of South Africa in 1960, thereby fulfilling the Afrikaner dream of an independent republic for South Africans. During his tenure as Prime Minister, anti-Apartheid movements such as the African National Congress (ANC) and Pan Africanist Congress were banned, and the Rivonia Trial, which prosecuted ANC leaders, was held.

Many major roads, places and facilities in cities and towns of South Africa were named after Verwoerd; in post-apartheid South Africa, most of these references to the creator of apartheid have been renamed. Famous ones include H. F. Verwoerd Airport in Port Elizabeth, renamed Port Elizabeth Airport, the Verwoerd Dam in the Free State, now the Gariep Dam, H.F Verwoerd Academic Hospital in Pretoria, now Steve Biko Hospital, and the town of Verwoerdburg, now Centurion.

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