N.G. Kerk minister, Calvinist theoIogian, Bible translator, leader of the Eerste Afrikaanse Taalbeweging ('First Afrikaans language movement'), author, Transvaal official and newspaper and periodical editor, was the thirteenth and youngest child of David Petrus du Toit and Helena Elizabeth du Plessis.
His father was a wine farmer and a direct descendant of Francois du Toit, a Huguenot to whom the family farm De Kleyne Bos (Kleinbosch) in the Drakenstein valley was allocated in1692. Five brothers and four sisters in the large family reached adulthood, two of the brothers were Daniel Francois du Toit,* later known as 'Oom Lokomotief', and Charl Wynand du Toit,* minister, first in the N.G. Kerk and subsequently in the N.H. Kerk.
Du Toit was educated at a farm school at Dal Josafat, and at Paarl, where he was a gifted scholar at the Paarl Gymnasium, founded in 1858 by the Rev. G.W.A. van der Lingen.* At the theological seminary in Stellenbosch he was admitted to the N.G. Kerk as a candidate for the Ministry in 1872. As a candidate-minister he travelled in the Cape, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal in 1873. He was ordained as a Clergyman in Wellington and served as the first minister of the Noorder-Paarl congregation from 25.9.1875 to the end of 1881. From Paarl he moved to Pretoria to become superintendent of education in the Transvaal republic from 10.3.1882 to 14.1.1888. He remained in Pretoria until August 1890, and afterwards lived in Paarl and Dal Josafat until his death.
Before he was ordained as a minister in Noorder-Paarl young Du Toit became known as a zealous advocate for church and religion, language and education. In July 1873 he wrote an article, 'De Nederduitsche Gereformeerde Kerk in het onderwijs', for Elpis, a religious periodical. On 7.12.1875 he delivered an address, 'Het eeuwig evangelie', at the annual conference of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Bijbelvereeniging.
Under the influenceof Amoldus Pannevis,* one of his masters at the Paarl Gymnasium, he became an ardent champion of Afrikaans as a Ianguage in its own right. After the spade-work had been done by Pannevis and C. P. Hoogenhout,* he became, in 1874, the first Afrikander - and, indeed, the first Afrikaans 'nationalist' - by advocating the rights of Afrikaans as a written and spoken language, under the pseudonym Ware Afrikaander'. He contributed many articles to De Zuid-Afrikaan on 'De Afrikaansche taal'; in these he demonstrated that Afrikaans was the mother tongue of the Afrikanders, and objected to prevalent anglicizing with the clarion call: 'It is time for you to awaken!' He drafted seven spelling rules, of which the very first, 'we write the way we speak', bears evidence of a sound grasp of linguistic principles.
He initiated the founding of the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (G.R.A.) in Paarl on 14.8.1875. The aim of this movement was 'to champion our language, our nation and our country'. Du Toit was the life and soul of the G.R.A. and of the Eerste Afrikaanse Taalbeweging. He collaborated in writing Di Afrikaanse volkslied ("n Ider nasie het sy land') and was instrumental in establishing the first Afrikaans newspaper, Die Afrikaanse Patriot. The mouthpiece of the G.R.A., it first appeared in Paarl on 15.1.1876. Its first editor was Du Toit, who, in addition to his work as a clergyman, remained an ardent contributor until 1882. On his return from the Transvaal he became its sole editor in the autumn of 1890.
After the British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 the Patriot spoke up clearly on national politics. Through Du Toit's writings the publication became, in effect, the Cape counsellor to the Transvaal Boers. At first it advocated passive resistance and encouraged the Transvaal to agitate for the restoration of its rights. When it became evident that peaceful agitation was fruitless, the Patriot declared: 'Lydelik verset is ydelik verset'. ('Passive resistance is vain resistance'). In this way, Du Toit and his newspaper had a hand in the Transvaal decision of December 1880 to resort to arms.
In 1876 he published on behalf of the G.R.A. the first Afrikaans grammar: Eerste beginsels van die Afrikaanse taal; and in 1877 the first thorough analysis of education in South Africa: De Christeliike school in haar verhouding tot kerk en staat. This was followed in the same year by a sharp reply to his critics: Repliek op alle recensi n van het werkje He advocated a school with instruction in the mother-tongue; this resulted in the founding of the Hugenoten Gedenkschool in Dal Josafat (1882).
An important publication initiated by DuToit in 1877 was Di Afrikaanse almanak, burgerlik en kerkelik ; except for a few interruptions, this was continued until 1918. A particularly significant work in this period was the first Afrikaans history, of which Du Toit was a joint compiler: Di geskiedenis van ons land in di taal van ons volk (1877). It represented the first consciously Afrikaans and nationalist approach to South African history.
Du Toit's initial Paarl period also saw the publication of his first collectionof elucidations of Biblical prophecies, which resulted from a theogical interest excited in the young Du Toit by the Rev. Van der Lingen. He published De onvervulde profeti n, stelselmatig behandeld: (Paarl, 1878),which was followed by De onvervulde profeti n naar tydsorde gerangschikt en kortelijk toegelicht (Paarl, 1899).
In June 1879 Du Toit, in an editorial in the Patriot, called for the founding of an 'Afrikaner Bond' to create political awareness in the Afrikanders. Its aim would be to unite under central authority all those who regarded South Africa as their home: a united South Africa under British protection of its shores, but with its own flag and its own system of Government, which was to develop into aSouth African republic in course of time. On Du Toit's initiative, a political organization embodying these aims was formed soon afterwards. Its folIowing in the Cape Colony increased rapidly, side by side with the existing, moderate Boeren Beschermings-Vereeniging which, founded by H. Hofmeyr ('Onze Jan'),* had purely economic aims.
Hofmeyr succeeded in effecting the amalgamation of the two Afrikander organizations. He retained Du Toit's name for the Bond, but saw to it that the republican ideal was removed from its programme. Du Toit's failure to control this transformation in the eighties is ascribable in part to the fact that he was then living, not in Paarl, but in the Transvaal. In 1882 he published his Program van beginselen van de Nationale party, with elucidation and comments, but on the Afrikander Bond, of which he was the founder, he had relatively little influence in the years when it became a factor in Cape politics.
Towards the end of 1879, a most active year in his life, he began suffering from a serious throat ailment. His congregation gave him permission to go to Europe, where he met the influential Dutch theologian and statesman Dr Abraraham Kuyper,* who later became his theologicaI and political guide. He also visited Palestine and wrote a book on this country: De Bijbellanden doorreisd (PaarI, 1883).
1880 he published two important religious books: Bijbelse dagboek (supplemented in 1907) and Een sprekend portret van de laatste dagen. His 'Op reis door Duitsland an ander landen van Europa' appeared in 1881; during this year he also started publication of the religous periodical De Getuige, which was to continue until 1904.
On 1.9.1881, immediately after Transvaal independence had been ratified by the Pretoria convention, he was invited to become the superintendent of education in the T.R. On 13.3.1882 he began his new duties with great zeal, firm convictions and sound abilities. His education law (No. 1 of 1882) was ratified by the volksraad on 5.10.1882. The act was based on the following principles: that the education of the child is the duty of its parents; that religious instruction is the duty of the church; and that school education should be founded on Christian principles. The authorities were to assist parents financially and otherwise, and official contributions to schools were determined. Education was to be conducted through the medium of Dutch, and both primary and secondary education were provided for.
During the first few years of Du Toit's control education in the Transvaal made rapid progress. Many schools were established and regularly inspected. From 1882 to 1887 the number of school-children trebled. But Du Toit was too ambitious to confine himself to his official work. He soon ventured into Transvaal politics, gained the confidence of newly elected Pres. S.J.P. Kruger* and in 1883 contrived his nomination to the deputation, Kruger, Gen. N.J. Smit,* and himself, which travelled to Europe to negotiate with the British government the revision of the Pretoria convention, and to discuss railway matters in Portugal, Holland and elsewhere on the Continent. Du Toit was a ready speaker at the enthusiastic receptions the deputation was given as a belated tribute to the Transvaal victory of 1880-81, in which his colleagues had participated. Europe's tribute to the deputation was recorded in detail in his book Loverkransen voor Transvaal gevlochten (Paarl, 1884), while he also wrote in fluent Afrikaans an engaging account of his travels, Alweer op reis, di slag as lid van di Transvaaise deputasi van 1883-4 (Paarl, 1886).
After hisreturn from Europe in July 1884, he became involved in various political matters. The first of these was the events on the western frontier of the Transvaal, where British intervention in Bechuanaland seemed imminent in 1884. Du Toit lost much of his prestige by hoisting the Transvaal. flag at Rooigrond in the Republic of Goshen, a much disputed territory. In De Bechuanaland kwestie, histories toegelicht (Paarl, 1885), however, he states the Transvaal viewpoint, and in 1917 his biographer published evidence to prove that in the Bechuanaland affair he had been the scapegoat for the misdemeanours of others.
His opposition to the government's concession policy earned him disfavour in certain circles. He became involved in abortive financial enterprises and speculation in shares after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand. In these years he also met with difficulties in church circles, notably in regard to his right to continue in the ministry and about matters of doctrine. He reacted forcefully and, on occasion, aggressively to opposition and thereby incurred sharp attacks, sometimes of a personal nature. Justly, but sometimes by unfair means, the press and public platforms were used to censure him.
Partly because he tended to act imprudently and high-handedly, but mainly because Dr W.J. Leyds* (in particular) had replaced him as Kruger's confidant, Du Toit's political influence was, by 1884, declining rapidly. To an ever-increasing extent, Du Toit opposed himself to the 'Dutch influence' in the Transvaal and advocated - contrary to the sentiments and convictions of Transvaal people - a politically-united South Africa. Inevitably, all these outside interests and controversies resulted in the neglect of his official duties as head of the department of education. Apart from patent evidence that he had shot his bolt in the Transvaal, he was led by a spiritual consideration, He longed to return to what he regarded as his true calling, his ministry to the spiritual needs of his countrymen, and, in particular, the translation of the Bible into Afrikaans and the resumption of his elucidation of biblical texts.
While he was still in the Transvaal he published Nehemia als volkshervormer (1885); two sermons: De verdorde vijgeboom (1885) and De gave der gezondmakingen (Paarl, 1885); De vrucht des wijnstoks en haar gebruik volgens de Schriften (Paarl, n.d.); Matigheid tegenover afschaffing (1886), the gist of a public dispute with the teetotaller, Theophilus Schreiner, in Pretoria in 1886; Gemeente of kerkgenootschap (1886); and De kinderharp aan Gods woord getoetst (1887).Like all his earlier publications, these works were printed and published by the Patriot printing-works of D.F. du Toit & Co., Paarl. Then followed a publication on Du Toit's translation of the Bible, in 1889, and a propaganda work: Afrika het land der toekomst (Amsterdam, 1890).
His intellectualpowers and commanding personality gained him many friends, but also many enemies. On 14.1.1888 he resigned as superintendent of education. He was a disappointed man, and the Transvaal was disappointed in him. In 1889 he made a third journey abroad, which he recounted in a series of articles which were later published: Jong Afrika, bij oud-Europa ter school. In August he settled in Paarl, intent on a new start. He had lost an estimated 140,000 in his Transvaal speculations and, having no parish to serve, was penniless. He now edited the Patriot full-time and continued his religious monthly, De Getuige, with which he had persisted throughout his Transvaal period and which he converted to a fortnightly newspaper in 1891. Despite his poverty he devoted many hours to his translation of the Bible into Afrikaans,
The possibility and desirability of translating the Bible into Afrikaans was the main reason for the meeting at which the G.R.A. was founded. The G.R.A.had periodically reconsidered this matter, and in 1885 the translation was assigned to Du Toit. While he was still in the Transvaal. The assignment was subject to certain conditions and defied opposition from the 1885 synod of the N.G. Kerk. For his translation Du Toit referred to translations in European languages and also to the original Greek and Hebrew texts. Di Bybel in Afrikaans, a specimen of his translation, appeared in 1889. Containing three biblical excerpts of Genesis, several other portions of the Old Testament, and a comparative translation from the New Testament into Dutch, Frisian and Afrikaans. These were accompanied by a historical survey of the translation of the Bible into Afrikaans.
With the assistance of capable collaborators, who checked his translation, Du Toit proceeded systematically with his task in Paarl. He published, with notes, Di eerste boek van Moses, genoem Genesis (1893); Di Evangeli volgens Matheus (1895); Di openbaring van Jesus Christus (1898) ; and Di Psalme (1907). He also published in a number of articles, his annotated translations of the Song of Solomon (1905), the Acts of the Apostles (1908) and the Gospel according to St Mark (1908). When he died a portion of the Gospel according to St Luke had been completed in manuscript, but he was unable to carry out his intention of publishing first the New Testament and then the Old Testament in Afrikaans. His translations were not well received; his preference for ordinary usage and his ultra-phonetic spelling were unacceptable to many. Nevertheless he will always be remembered as the pioneer of Biblical translations into Afrikaans.
He remained editor of the Patriot until 1904, when, with the liquidation of De Paarlse Drukpers Maatschappij, it and two other newspapers controlled by Du Toit, De Getuige and Ons Klyntji, ceased publication.
After his return to Paarl he changed the policy of the Patriot appreciably. The newspaper now criticized every aspect of the Kruger regime, was hostile to Dutch influence in the T.R., and enthusiastic about a united South Africa with harmonious relations between Afrikanders and British and economic co-operation between the British colonies and the Boer republics. Du Toit persisted in his support for the Afrikander Bond and was noticeably sympathetic towards C.J. Rhodes,* with his policy of expansion north of the Limpopo and his political collaboration with the Bond. There is no evidence of Du Toit's receiving financial assistance from Rhodes, but as early as 1892 his opponents alleged that 'Rhodes's money' influenced his editorial policy. His objects were still the same as those of the Afrikander Bond, but the Jameson Raid at the end of 1895 brought about a dramatic change. Du Toit persisted in his defence of Rhodes and his policy, even when the Bond and virtually the entire Afrikander people in the Cape denounced the statesman as a political traitor.
Despite his poverty Du Toit founded Het Dagblad in Cape Town in 1896 and struggled for two years to maintain this means of expressing his 'conciliation policy'. The judicial crisis of 1897-98 and the franchise dispute stimulated his criticism of the Transvaat government and its concession policy. His political isolation among the Afrikanders became so acute that on the eve of the Second AngIo-Boer War he admitted pathetically, in his Afgeperste getuigenis (1899), that he had virtually no support among his people and his religious fellows. Yet he still put before his readers the 'iniquities' of the Transvaal, which he called 'land der schandalen' ('the scandalous country'). He compared his own position to that of the prophets Micha and Elijah, whereas his opponents were, in his eyes, prophets of Ahab and priests of Baal. His prestige suffered even further because of a number of articles in the same vein which appeared in De Getuige from 15.1.1900: 'Gedachten des vredens te midden van oorlog'. In these years he met with such violent opposition that even his brother, D.F. du Toit ('Oom Lokomotief'), stated in the press that, excepting Rhodes, no man in South Africa would be more responsiblefor the blood to be spilled than the Rev. S.J. du Toit.
Because of Du Toit's political beliefs, the Eerste Afrikaanse Taalbeweging, of which he had been the founder twenty-five years before, had by 1900 ceased to exist. During his second Paarl period, however, he had produced a remarkable number of publications supporting the Afrikaans language and its literature and also discussing religious and other matters. Adhering strictly to the orthodoxy of the Reformed churches in South Africa, he expressed his beliefs in profound religious works, which are sometimes sharply critical of the N.G. Kerk. Among these are Handboek ver godsdiens-onderwys (1892); De leerstukken der Sabbatari rs (1892) ; De huiskerk (1893) ; De predestinatie volgens Bijbelleer en kerkleer (1895) ; De Evangeliese gezangen aan Gods woord getoetst (1846); Het kerkjaar (1897); De brief van Judas (1899); De drie formulieren van enigheid (1899); De Godspraken van Jesajah, opnieuw vertaald en toegelicht (1901); De Nederlandsche geloofsbelijdenis (1901); Disputatie over de verschilpunten russen de Apostoliese Broeders en de leer der Ned. Geref. Kerk (1910) and Open brief (1910). A visit to Rhodesia in 1894 gave rise to his Sambesia, of Salomo's goudmiinen bezocht (1895), and Rhodesia past and present (London, 1897). All his life he remained a protagonist of Afrikaans. After C.P. Hoogenhout he was the finest poet of the Eerste Afrikaanse Taalbeweging. He wrote poems such as 'Transvaalse vryheidslied' and 'Nag en dageraad in Matabeleland'. As a writer of prose he excelled; he was not a great artist, but a gifted journalist who moved his readers through his expressive style. The first historical romance in Afrikaans, Di koningin fan Skeba ... (1898), remains a significant prose work to this day, and is still reprinted from time to time. He also wrote the first Afrikaans play to be printed and produced, Magrita Prinslo ... (1896).
His philological works include Afrikaans, ons volkstaal: 71 theses, of stellinge neergeleg en verklaar (1891). In 1897 he published Fergelykende taalkunde fan Afrikaans en Engels (Comparative grammar of English and Cape Dutch with a second edition in 1902), andin 1902 his Patriot-woordeboek/dictionary. In 1896 he convened the first Afrikaanse Taalkongres in Paarl. This first language congress was followed by a second one in 1897. At the first the Afrikaans literary periodical Ons Klyntji (1896-1906)was founded with Du Toit as its editor. Several new writers were discovered through this popular periodical.
Du Toit's political attitude destroyed in a few years what he had built up over a long period. Although he thought he was serving his people, they deserted him, and in the last years of his life he was a general without an army, the 'lonely Ishmael', as his son and biographer called him. When he lost the newspaper and periodicals with which he had been associated since 1876, he founded Ons Taal (1907-09) as a successor to Ons Klyntji, and Stemmen des Tijds (1905-13) as a theological mouthpiece in the stead of the Getuige.
In religion he remained active until his death, propagating the Reformed doctrine according to his convictions. He was also a forceful revivalist preacher. After his first Paarl ministry and particularly after his encounter with Abraham Kuyper, he became increasingly critical of what he regarded as the N.G. Kerk's neglect of the Reformed doctrine. As the only guides to the truths of the Reformation he advocated fundamentalism and a strict adherence to the rules laid down by the synod of Dort. Although he never advised individuals to leave their churches, he had promoted secession by word and publication ever since he had founded De Getuige in 1881 as a platform for his views on church matters. This gave rise to the founding, from 1897, of a number of congregations in the Boer republics and in the Cape whowere known as adherents to the 'Gereformeerde Kerk onder het Kruis in Zuid-Afrika'.
He served these scattered congregations 'under the Cross' untiringly through 'broederkringe', through his publications and through the pastoral journeys, of which he undertook no fewer than thirteen between 1906 and 1910.
During a visit to Calvinia in August 1910 his cart overturned and he sustained injuries which, after months of suffering, led to his death on Kleinbosch, the family farm. His congregations were left without a minister and eventually most of them joined the Geref. Kerk. Du Toit married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth Jacoba Joubert, died in Pretoria on 1.11.1882, and upon her death he wrote the booklet Lijden envertroosting. They had two sons and two daughters. The elder son died while still a young man; the younger was Jacob Daniel du Toit ("Totius'),* Du Toit's biographer. On 8.7.1885 Du Toit married Anna F. Malan ( 1845), of Paarl. They had two daughters and two sons, one of whom CharI Wynand Merkelbach du Toit (*1890), became a minister of the Geref. Kerk and, later, a member of parliament.
This pioneer of the Eerste Afrikaanse Taalbeweging is buried, together with several other early protagonists of Afrikaans, in the farm cemetery on Kleinbosch. The words on his tombstone epitomize the significance of his eventful life: 'Father of Afrikaans ; founder of the Afrikander Bond; and champion of Calvinism'. J.D. DU TOlT Ds. S. J. du Toit in weg en werk. Paarl, 1917 (with complete list of publications); - A.S.B. gedenkboek ter ere van die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners. Potch., 1926; - J. DU P. SCHOLTZ, Die Afrikaner en sy taal, C.T., 1939; - P.J. NIENABER, DS. S.J. DU TOIT die eensame Ismael. Pta., 1940; - P.C. DU PLESSIS,'n Ondersoek na die taal van ds. S. J. du Toit' (Unp. M.A. th., U.C.T., 1944); - J. CHR. COETZEE, DS. S.J. du Toit en die onderwys. Jbg., 1946; - J. PLOEGER, Onderwys en onderwysbeleid in die Suid-Afrikaanse republiek onder Ds. S. J. du Toit en dr. N. Mansvelt 1881-1900, A.Y.B., 1952, 1; - CHARLES VAN DER WALT,'S.J. du Toit in die diens van die Suid-Afrikaanse republiek 1882-1890'(Unp. M.A. th., U.P., 1954); - J.A.S. OBERHOLSTER, Die Gereformeerde kerke onder die Kruis in Suid-Afrika. C.T., 1956; - P.D. VAN DER WALT, S.J. DU TOIT, vegter vir sy taal. C.T., 1963.
Stephanus Jacobus * Daljosafat 9.10.1847, NGKleraar, teoloog, Bybelvertaler, taalstryder, skrywer, koerant- en tydskrifredakteur, Superintendent v. Onderwys in ZAR † Daljosafat 28.5.1911 x Stellenbosch 11.11.1873 Elizabeth Jacoba JOUBERT * 28.1.1855 = Stellenbosch 18.2.1855 † Pretoria 1.11.1882 d.v. Jacob Daniël Joubert en Elizabeth Rachel van Niekerk Rowan xx 8.7.1885 Anna Francina MALAN * 4.6.1857 † 19.5.1944 d.v. Charl Wynand Malan en Magdalena Margaretha Hugo
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