oa Historia - Dr Piet Meyer in Johannesburg, 1936-1984



Dr Piet Meyer in Johannesburg, 1936-1984. Dr P.J. Meyer (1909- 1984) had a notable influence on the development of Afrikaner ideology and was deeply involved in the organized cultural life of the Afrikaner. Some of the considerable number of fields in which he played a leading role are discussed in this article. Use was made of his own published and unpublished work to give an overview of his contribution to Afrikaner organisation at a time when the Afrikaner was still trying to find a foothold in the city after the Second Trek, that from rural to urban life. After his university studies in Bloemfontein and the Netherlands Meyer returned to South Africa in 1936. He accepted a combined post as assistant secretary of the FAK (the Federation of Afrikaner cultural organizations) and assistant secretary of the AB (Afrikaner Broederbond) - a secret society to promote Afrikaner cultural interests. He had become a member of the AB in 1931 and he was Chairman of the movement from 1960- 1972. Meyer was a philosopher with a strong Calvinistic outlook. He believed in the role of the Afrikaner in Africa as a part of God's divine plan. He worked very closely with Dr Albert Hertzog to ensure that the Afrikaner mineworkers find a place in the trade union movement of the 1930's. He took a very strong stand against communism and became the Chairman of Antikom (the Anti-Communistic Action Committee). As a result of his ties with the AB, Meyer worked intimately with Afrikaner intellectual leaders. He was one of the organizers of the meeting of 9 September 1939 which attempted to heal the breach between Genl. Hertzog and Dr Malan. Their differences proved to be too pronounced and as secretary of the Eenheidskomi tee of the AB, Meyer was involved during the war years with other efforts to bring the divided Afrikaners together, but met with little success. During this time a concept constitution was also drawn up for a future republic. The republic became a reality in 1961. In 1943 Meyer started a publishing business which was later incorporated with others to become the Sunday newspaper, Dagbreek. From 1951 to 1959 Meyer was the head of public relations of the Rembrandt group, and he became more involved with the organized cultural life of the Afrikaner. These were the planning years for the Goudstadse Onderwyskollege (an Afrikaans teachers training college in Johannesburg) and the Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit (an Afrikaans university in Johannesburg). Both these projects materialized in the 1960's. In 1959 Meyer became the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and he remained in this post until 1981. During his years at the SABC both the FM-network and SA-TV were established, and he took a leading role in these projects.


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