B. J. Vorster


1915 – 1983


Who was B. J. Vorster?

Balthazar Johannes Vorster, better known as John Vorster, served as the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1966 to 1978 and as the fourth State President of South Africa from 1978 to 1979. While known for his staunch adherence to apartheid, overseeing as Minister of Justice the Rivonia Trial in which Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage, and as Prime Minister the Terrorism Act, the complete abolishment of non-white political representation, the Soweto Riots and the Steve Biko crisis, he nevertheless concluded a more pragmatic foreign policy than his predecessors in an effort to improve relations between the white minority government and South Africa's neighbours, particularly after the break-up of the Portuguese colonial empire. Shortly after the Internal Settlement in Rhodesia, in which he was instrumental, he was implicated in the Muldergate Scandal and resigned the premiership in favour of the ceremonial presidency, which he was forced to give up as well eight months later.

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Dec 13, 1915
Uitenhage, Eastern Cape
  • Dutch Reformed Church
  • South Africa
  • Stellenbosch University
Sep 10, 1983
Cape Town

on July 23, 2013


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