Monday 03rd of February 2003 03:44 AM 
Biographies: South African Political Figures

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Please note: I have added flags at the head of each biography in order to give visitors a way of seeing, at a glance, where the person was born, where they spent most of their life, and which side they fought for in the Boer War.

1st Flag=birthplace (if known)
2nd flag=main nation of residence (no second flag if birthplace was nation of residence)
3rd flag=side figure fought (or acted) for

Cape Colony
BURTON, Henry (1866-1935)

Born in Cape Town, and educated at St Andrew's College, Grahamstown. Admitted to the Bar in 1892 and began to practise in Kimberley. Because of the Jameson Raid he became a strong supporter of the Afrikaner Bond, for which he was elected to Parliament in 1902. Almost immediately after entering the House, Burton was responsible for the downfall of the ministry of Sir Gordan Sprigg on the martial law and war losses issues. J.X. Merriman took him into his cabinet in 1908 as Attorney-General, and after Union he became first Minister of Native Affairs and later of Railways. "His temperament annoyed the railwaymen" and he was transferred to the Ministry of Finance in 1920, where he carried out unpopular economies. He retired from Parliament in 1924.

EnglandUnited Kingdom
CARR, Sir William St John (1848-192?)

First Mayor of Johannesburg. Born in Chatham, England, he was educated in Ireland and began his career in the Royal Navy, but later joined the railway service in India. For reasons of health he settled in South Africa in 1874, working on railway construction at the Cape and later on diamond mining. In 1887 he settled in Johannesburg, where he became director of many gold companies, and first Chairman of the Johannesburg Hospital Board. He was involved in the Reform Movement during the Jameson Raid and sentenced to two years imprisonment, later commuted. After the War he was, in 1903, elected the first Mayor of Johannesburg under the British regime, and also Chairman of the Rand Water Board.

EnglandCape Colony
GOULDEN, William (March 1850 - 10 May 1932)

William Goulden was born in Lancashire in March 1850 and came to the Cape Colony as a young man. He worked for a time in the service of the Cape Government Railways before branching out on his own as a produce merchant at East London. He became a Justice of the Peace at the port in 1905 but eventually settled down as a farmer at Egerton Park. Goulden attempted to enter municipal politics in February 1901 when he opposed Arthur Lambart in Ward 2 but his name had become linked to Hermann Malcomess, a German merchant who had become unpopular because of his public declaration of neutrality during the Boer War. It is possible that that militated against him and he lost the election by a narrow margin. He stood the following year against John Wiggins and again lost but eventually won the support of the townsmen and managed to defeat Frederick Hallett in Ward 1 in February 1903. He served only one term as councillor before he retired on rotation in February 1906 and did not seek re-election. Goulden died at his farm on 10 May 1932, at the age of 82.

Death notice, see Master's Office, Cape Town, No. 33966. See also Daily Dispatch 12.5.1932 for his obituary.

ScotlandCape ColonyUnited Kingdom
JAMESON, Sir Leander Starr (1853-1917)

Sir Leander Starr Jameson
South African and Rhodesian statesman. Born in Edinburgh, the same year as his two lifelong collaborators, Cecil John Rhodes and Alfred Beit, he was the son of a lawyer with literary gifts, and the youngest of a family of ten. After going to school in Scotland and England, in 1872 he entered University College, London, where 'his sensitivity to suffering made him faint at the sight of his first operation'. None the less he was a brilliant student, and when in 1878 Dr. Prince of Kimberley wrote to University College asking for a partner, Jameson was reccomended. By this time he had added to his qualifications in Vienna, and was in practice as a specialist.
In Kimberley Jameson was soon recognised as the ablest doctor on the Diamond Fields. He seemed to have been immensely popular and gained the close friendship of Cecil Rhodes. From an interest in finance they turned to the development of Mashonaland and Matabeleland. On Rhodes' behalf Jameson undertook three successive missions to Lobengula in 1889 and 1890, the outcome of which was the confirmation by the Matabele king of the concession to the British South Africa Company. Although Jameson accompanied the Pioneer Column he held no official position save as 'Rhodes' representative,' but in 1891 he succeeded Archibald. R. Colquhoun as Administrator of Mashonaland, further establishing his popularity with the settlers. Under his régime the war against the Matabele broke out in 1893 which resulted in the occupation of Gubuluwayo and the downfall of Lobengula. In 1894 Matabeleland also came under the administration of 'Dr. Jim'. The following year he became deeply involved as leader in the Jameson Raid. After his surrender to the Boers he was handed over to the British Government and placed on trial in London. The hearing before Lord Russell of Kilowen, Baron Pollock and Sir Henry Hawkins, with a jury, began on July 20, 1896 and lasted 7 days. He was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment, and sent first to Wormwood Scrubs and then to Holloway Gaol, but was released in December 1896 on account of ill-health. Returning to Rhodesia in 1898, he made an extensive trek over the route of the future telegraph lines and railways.
Upon the outbreak of the South African War he offered his services to the Imperial Government, reached Ladysmith during the siege, but broke down because of ill-health. In 1900 he was elected to the Cape Parliament, where his personality (and friendship with Rhodes) brought him rapid advancement. In 1902, upon the death of Rhodes, he became leader of the Progressive Party, and in 1904 was made Prime Minister. The severe depression upon which the Cape Colony had now entered confronted him with many problems. In 1907 he attended the Imperial Conference in London, and in 1908 became a member of the National Convention which drafted the constitution for the Union. To the surprise of many he was not in the original Union Cabinet, but was elected to Parliament in 1910 and became leader of the Unionist opposition. In 1912 he retired to London, where he died.

Cape ColonyBoer Republics - War Flag
KRIGE, Christman Joel (1868-1933)

Speaker of the Union Parliament. Born in Stellenbosch, he qualified as an attorney and settled in Caledon, Cape Province, where he entered politics on the Afrikander Bond side. He was deported during the War. After becoming mayor he was elected to the first Union Parliament in 1910 as a follower of General Louis Botha, became Chief Whip of the South African Party, and, upon the retirement of Sir John Molteno in 1915, Speaker of the House. He held this position until 1924.

EnglandCape Colony
LAMBART, Arthur Oliver (1854 - 04 April 1903)

Arthur Lambart was born in Hampton Court (Middlesex) in 1854. He emigrated to the Cape Colony and settled in King William's Town in 1875, working for the merchandizing firm of Dreyfus & Co. He then started his own business as a commercial broker. In about 1883 he migrated to East London where he started the firm Lambart and Tremeer, brokers and landing, shipping and forwarding agents. He was also at various times secretary to the Agricultural Society of East London and to the Chamber of Commerce. For a period of five years he was president to the Border Rugby Union.
Lambart was elected to the Council in March 1893 as a representative for Ward 2. John Gately attempted to block his election on the grounds that he was an "unrehabilitated insolvent" but failed because the regulations referred only to a councillor who became insolvent while in office. In February 1896 he failed to gain re-election but was elected for Ward 4 in November that year in place of Charles Humphrey, although he resigned a month later after having attended only two meetings. He was returned unopposed for Ward 2 in August 1898 and was re-elected in February 1901.
Lambart became Deputy Mayor in January 1900 after John Stacey had resigned. He was elected with the narrow majority of four votes to three over Alfred Webb in a questionable decision as he apparently did not have the necessary property qualifications even to sit on the Council. He was elected Mayor in 1900, 1901 and again in 1902 and in that capacity played a prominent role in supplying refugee relief during the South Africa War.
He resigned in November 1902 to take up the position of Government nominee on the Harbour Board and was thereupon elected Deputy Mayor instead. He resigned as councillor in March 1903 because he was due to take long leave but died of pneumonia on 4 April, at the age of 49.

Death notice, see Cape Archives MOOC 6/9/474, No 1558. See also Daily Dispatch 6.4.1903 and 9.4.1903 for his obituary.

Cape ColonyUnited Kingdom
LEONARD, Charles Henry Brand (1855 - 1921)

South African lawyer and politician. Born near Somerset East, Cape Province and brother of J.W. Leonard, he was educated at Gill College, Somerset East, and in Cape Town, where he was articulated as an attorney. In 1887 he settled in Johannesburg and acquired the prominent firm of Ford and Jeppe. Deeply involved in the Reform Movement at the time of the Jameson Raid, he earned a certain amount of ridicule by escaping arrest disguised as a woman. In London from 1896 to 1903 he acted as legal consultant to large South African firms, and on his return went farming near Villiersdorp, Cape Province.

GermanyCape ColonyBoer Republics - War Flag
MALCOLMESS, Hermann Wilhelm (15 April 1848 - 13 May 1921)

Hermann Malcomess was born in Homburg (Germany) on 15 April 1848 and was educated at Cassel. He came to the Cape in 1867, migrated to Bloemfontein where he enlisted for the Free State forces during the Basuto War of 1868, then moved to Tarkastad where he worked as a clerk. In 1869 he started a business in King William's Town which specialised in farm machinery and implements, with branches at East London and various towns in the interior.
In 1875 he settled at East London where he went into a partnership known as Malcher & Malcomess, general merchants, with stores on both the West and East Banks. Later he was able to take over sole interest and the firm thereupon became known simply as Malcomess & Company, produce merchants and sellers of machinery of various descriptions, ranging from wagons to windmills, as well as furniture and cattle dip. He also owned timber yards in what was eventually named Malcomess Street and served at various times as a commissioner on the Harbour Board and on the Chamber of Commerce. Apart from that, he owned several farms in the Aliwal North district.
Malcomess became a councillor in April 1899 when he won the election to replace Thomas King in Ward 4. With the outbreak of the Boer War in October 1899, however, he became unpopular because he chose to obey the German appeal for neutrality, especially because he was the German Consul in East London. At the relief of Kimberley, he refused to join in the festivities on the grounds that much of his trade had been with the Boers of the two republics and he abhorred the bloodshed which the war was causing. His action was severely criticized and there was call for his firm to be boycotted, along with all other German businesses in the area.
It was probably as a result of his awkward position that Malcomess decided to resign from the Council in February 1900 so as to journey to Germany for a protracted spell. He did not attempt to gain re-election on his return. He died at East London on 13 May 1921, at the age of 73.

Cape Colony
SCHREINER, William Philip (1857-1919)

William SchreinerPrime Minister of Cape Colony, and brother of Olive Schreiner. Born in the district of Herschel, Cape Province, where his father, the Rev. Gottlob Schreiner, was a German missionary. Studied at the South African College and read for the Bar at Cambridge. In 1882 he began a successful practice in Cape Town. Then, entering politics, he was at first a supporter of Cecil Rhodes, serving in his cabinet as Attorney-General, but after the Jameson Raid they quarelled and Schreiner became one of the leaders of the Afrikander Bond. From 1898 to 1900 he was Premier. He defended Dinizulu after the 1906 Zulu Rebellion, became a senator after Union, and from 1914 to his death was High Commissioner in London.


EnglandCape Colony
SPRIGG, Sir John Gordon (1830-1913)

Sir John SpriggPrime Minister of Cape Colony. Born in Ipswich, he was a shorthand writer with the old firm of Gurney, attached to the Houses of Parliament, until in 1858 he visited the Cape and decided to remain. Settling near King William's Town, he became a successful dairy and sheep farmer and in 1869 was elected as member for East London in the House of Assembly. Attaining prominence in the House, he was asked by Governor Sir Bartle Frere in 1878 to form a Cabinet in succession to that of Sir John Molteno. He remained in office as Prime Minister and Colonial Secretary until 1881, from 1884 to 1886 was Colonial Treasurer and from 1886 to 1890 Prime Minister and Treasurer. During further periods of office he was Treasurer from 1893 to 1896 and Prime Minister from 1896 to 1898, and again from 1900 to 1904. A strong supporter of British connections, he took the lead in 1897 when he visited London for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, in offering a battleship to the Royal Navy on behalf of the Cape. Although accepted, the proposition was later altered to an annual contribution of £30 000 towards the Admiralty. He died in Cape Town.

Belfield, Eversley. The Boer War. Hamden: Archon, 1975.
C.F.J. Muller, 500 Years: A History of South Africa. Cape Town: H & R Academia, 1981.
Rosenthal. Eric [comp.] Southern African Dictionary of National Biography. London: Frederick Warne, 1966.


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Further Reading

Tamarkin, Mordechai. Cecil Rhodes and the Cape Afrikaners: the Imperial Colossus and the Colonial Parish Pump. London: Frank Cass, 1996.