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Hofmeyer Hall
Hofmeyer Hall
Photo by Willem Malherbe
Langenhoven  - click for enlargement
Langenhoven sculpture
by an unknown Italian artist
See also Artist's portraits of famous Stellenbosch Authors
A sundial for Langenhoven
A sundial for Langenhoven at Oudtshoorn
From left: D.v.d. Riet Wooley (Chief Astronomer), G O Neser who constructed the sundial, Sarah Goldblatt (Langenhoven's former assistant and executioner of his will), Jannie de Villiers, (Rector of Stellenbosch University) and Bun Booyens

Kerneels Langenhoven - click to enlarge

C J Langenhoven

1873 - 1932

'Vader van Afrikaans', Playwright, poet, journalist and politician
One of the most versatile writers in Afrikaans
A master of the short form of prose and best remembered for his humorous and satirical works.

"Om ons één eie taal tot nut te gebruik is groter kuns as om sewe vreemdes by te leer."

Cornelis Jacob Langenhoven was born on 13 August 1873 on the farm Hoeko near Ladismith, Cape Province. His mother died five days later and Cornelis was raised by his aunt and uncle. He received his first education from several governesses and the excellent Dutch Meester Bloemkolk. After schools in Ladismith and Riversdale he studied at the Victoria College in Stellenbosch (BA 1895). At that time Stellenbosch did not have a Law Faculty. Langenhoven became apprentice to a solicitor in Ladismith and, in 1899, obtained - after private studies - a LL.B. at the University of Good Hope in Cape Town. He then worked as an attorney in Cape Town and in Oudtshoorn.
Langenhoven made a stand for the acceptance of Afrikaans in general and as the first language in schools instead of Dutch. In 1910 he wrote the article, The problem of the dual language in South Africa.
1912: Editor of the Oudtshoorn newspaper Het Zuid-Westen.
In 1914 he became Member of Oudtshoorn's Provincial Board of Directors and later Senator of the Cape.
26 July 1915 saw the first edition of Die Burger and under the pseudonym Sagmoedige Neelsie Langenhoven contributed a regular column.

Langenhoven was instrumental in the movement for the acceptance of Afrikaans as a language, in general and as the first language in schools, instead of Dutch. This culminated in the language officially being used in parliament in 1925, and by 1927 was recognised as an official language of South Africa, together with English.
Found in Wikipedia

Langenhoven remained in close contact with his Alma mater in Stellenbosch and returned often to give one of his fiery speeches.
In 1897 he was married to Magdalena Maria (Vroutjie) Hugo, a widow with three children. Their only daughter, Engela was born in 1901.
Kerneels Langenhoven died on 15 July 1932 at Oudtshoorn. After his wife's death, their home, Arbeidsgenot ("the pleasure of work"), was turned into a museum in 1955. They lived there from 1901 until 1950. In 1973, on the occasion of the centennary of his birthday, a sculpture of Langenhoven by Olgo Pieri was installed in his memory at the University of Stellenbosch and a sun dial built after his design (from 1926).

Langenhoven was 'n aartsrebel, 'nonkonformis, maar tewens iemand met 'n sterk prinsipiële gerigtheid.
J du P Erlank
His own words written on his tombstone:

Soek nie om sy verdienst na te gaan
Sy swakhede te delf uit hierdie graf
(Albei rus daar waar hoop en vrees bestaan)
Die boesem van sy vader en sy God


Hertzog Prize for Prosa 1927
Doctor honoris causa, Stellenbosch University, 1931


Langenhoven wrote South Africa's anthem Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (1918), the first detective novel in Afrikaans, Donker Spore (1926), the first translation into Afrikaans of Omar Khayyam's Rubáiyát, and retold stories from the Bible.
His autobiography: U dienswillige dienaar, was published in 1932. A collection of his essays that appeared in Die Burger was published posthumously in 1941: Aan stille waters.
Langenhoven's Versamelde werke, were published first in 14 volumes (Cape Town, 1933 -1937 and later in 16 volumes (from 1949).
Beste Spookstories - C.J. Langenhoven
Beste spookstories
Spreuke Van Langenhoven
J.P. Scannell: Spreuke Van Langenhoven
Stukkies en brokkies, a collection of poetry, stories and essays, 1911
(later enlarged: Ons weg deur die wêreld, 1913)
Afrikaanse verjaardag-boekie, 1912
Sonde met die bure, 1921
Sonde met die bure (eBook)
Doppers en Filistyne, 1921
Die Lig van verre dae, 1924
Herrie op die óu tremspóór, 1925
Herrie op die óu tremspóór (ebook)
Skaduwees van Nasaret, 1927 (was awarded the Hertzog Prize)
'n Fragment uit 'n onuitgeebare boek
Lied van die harlekyn
Pessimisme en optimisme

Vrouetrou, 1921
Petronella, 1931
Die familiesak, 1909
Die troubelofte, 1909
Die onmoontlike tweeling, 1920
Die laaste van die takhare, 1925
Die kinderparlement, 1927

Children's books and ghost stories:
Die eensame hoop, 1922
Brolloks en Bittergal, 1925 ( Revised edition by Leon Rousseau, Human & Rousseau, 2008 )
Mof en sy mense, 1926
Die Krismiskinders, 1927
Die boekie sonder naam, 1928
Verhaaltjies, 1931
Kootjie Totjie (illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden)

Geeste op aarde, 1924
Die wandelende geraamte, 1930

Legal, historical and political works:
Iets over arbiters en arbitraties, 1906
Die Hoop van Suid-Afrika, 1913
Die Vrou van Suid-Afrika, 1918
Eerste skoffies op die pad van Suid-Afrika, 1921
Republicans and sinners, 1918
The everlasting annexation, 1919
Twee geskiedkundige opstelle, 1919
Die goeie burger, 1928
Goud of Papier?, 1929
Die witman se pand, 1929

On the use of Afrikaans:
A first guide to Afrikaans, 1926
Hoe om te skrywe, 1931
Die opdraende pad, 1923
Oor opstelle, (posthum), 1937

Brolloks en Bittergal Revised edition by Leon Rousseau, Human & Rousseau, 2008


* * *

These words were set to music by the Reverend Marthinus Lourens de Villiers in 1921.

Die Stem van Suid-Afrika

Uit die blou van onse hemel, uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons éwige gebergtes waar die kranse antwoord gee,
Deur ons vér verlate vlaktes met die kreun van ossewa
Ruis die stem van ons geliefde, van ons land Suid-Afrika.
Ons sal antwoord op jou roepstem, ons sal offer wat jy vra
: Ons sal lewe, ons sal sterwe ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika.

In die merg van ons gebeente, in ons hart en siel en gees,
In ons roem op ons verlede, in ons hoop op wat sal wees,
In ons wil en werk en wandel, van ons wieg tot aan ons graf
Deel geen ander land ons liefde, trek geen ander trou ons af.
Vaderland! ons sal die adel van jou naam met ere dra:
Waar en trou, as Afrikaners kinders van Suid-Afrika.

In die songloed van ons somer, in ons winternag se kou,
In die lente van ons liefde, in die lanfer van ons rou,
By die klink van huw'liksklokkies, by die kluitklap op die kis
Streel jou stem ons nooit verniet nie, weet jy waar jou kinders is.
Op jou roep seg ons nooit nee nie, seg ons altyd, altyd ja:
Om te lewe, om te sterwe ja ons kom, Suid-Afrika.

Op U Almag vas vertrouend het ons vadere gebou:
Skenk ook ons die krag, o Here, om te handhaaf en te hou
Dat die erwe van ons vaad're vir ons kinders erwe bly:
Knegte van die Allerhoogste, teen die hele wêreld vry.
Soos ons vadere vertrou het, leer ook ons vertrou, o Heer:
Met ons land en met ons nasie sal dit wel wees, God regeer.

The Call of South Africa

Ringing out from our blue heavens, from our deep seas breaking round;
Over everlasting mountains where the echoing crags resound;
From our plains where creaking wagons cut their trails into the earth -
Calls the spirit of our Country, of the land that gave us birth.
At thy call we shall not falter, firm and steadfast we shall stand,
At thy will to live or perish, O South Africa, dear land.

In our body and our spirit, in our inmost heart held fast;
in the promise of our future and the glory of our past;
In our will, our work, our striving, from the cradle to the grave -
There's no land that shares our loving, and no bond that can enslave.
Thou hast borne us and we know thee. May our deeds to all proclaim
Our enduring love and service to thy honour and thy name.

In the golden warmth of summer, in the chill of winter's air,
in the surging life of springtime, in the autumn of despair;
When the wedding bells are chiming or when those we love do depart;
Thou dost know us for thy children and dost take us to thy heart.
Loudly peals the answering chorus; We are thine, and we shall stand,
Be it life or death, to answer to thy call, beloved land.

In thy power, Almighty, trusting, did our fathers build of old;
Strengthen then, O Lord, their children to defend, to love, to hold -
That the heritage they gave us for our children yet may be;
Bondsmen only of the Highest and before the whole world free.
As our fathers trusted humbly, teach us, Lord, to trust Thee still;
Guard our land and guide our people in Thy way to do Thy will.

* * *

Liefdesonsin: 'n wiegeliedjie

Lamtietie, damtietie, doedoe my liefstetjie,
Moederhartrowertjie, dierbaarste diefstetjie!
Luister hoe fluister die wind deur die boompietjie:
Heen en weer wieg hy hom al oor die stroompietjie.

"Doedoedoe bladertjies,
Slapenstyd nadertjies;
Doedoedoe blommetjies,
Nag is aan 't kommetjies:
So sing die windjie vir blaartjies en blommetjies.
Bo uit die boompie kom nog 'n gesangetjie,
Soet soos 'n soentjie op kindjie se wangetjie
Soet soos 'n stem uit die snaar van vioëltjie,
Sus daar 'n wieglied uit bekkie van voëltjie.
"Tietewiet, koeroeroet
Pierewiet, toetoeloet!
Doedoe my kindertjies,
Wat sal dan hindertjies?"
So noem die voëltjie haar kuikentjies kindertjies.
Onder die boom uit kom nog 'n gesangetjie,
Rein soos 'n traantjie oor kindjie se wangetjie:
Hoor dan die orreltjie onder die boompietjie:
Luister die wieglied van ruisende stroompietjie:
"Trippetrip, koeloeloem.
Oor die klip doemeloem!"
Stroompie die rus nimmer,
Stroompie die sus immer,
Sus immer, suis immer, ruis immer, rus nimmer.
Luister die blêrtjies en luister die loeietjies:
"Mêê" sê die bokkies en "Boe" sê die koeietjies.
Doedoe maar kalwertjies, doedoe maar lammertjies,
Weg van die moedertjies, eensaam en jammertjies.
Kalfies en lammertjies
Vér van die mammetjies
Natjies en klammetjies
Koudjies en jammertjies!
Moedertjies huil oor die kalfies en lammertjies.
Bo in die bloue lug flikker die sterretjies
Hemelse brandwaggies, lampies van verretjies,
Wakend oor windjies en wolkies en stroompietjies,
Wakend oor mensies en diertjies en boompietjies.
"Wees maar gerustetjies,
Slaap maar met lustetjies!"
So sing die sterretjies
Stilletjies, verretjies:
Vuurvliegies, lugliggies, ewige sterretjies!
Vér op die oseaan, wyd op die watertjies
Vér van geselletjies, vrindjies, of matertjies
Skommel die skepies, verlate en eensaampies,
Saggies gesus in die seewieg gemeensaampies.
Seewiegie, sus hulle!
Seekoelte, kus hulle!
Vér van hul matertjies,
Wyd op die watertjies
Sussende, suisende, wiegende watertjies.
Swaar teen die remhoogte sukkel die waentjie
Ossies is moeg, dit is laat in die aendjie
Goeie moed, ossies, nog effentjies vorentoe
Bo gaan ons uitspan en slaap tot na morentoe!
Los van die krammetjie,
Dan na die dammetjie,
Dan by die bossietjies
Bekkie vol kossietjies
Dan na die lêplek, geduldige ossietjies!
Kindjie se pappa kom aan met die waentjie
Nader na mamma en kindjie elk aendjie
Pappa vra: "Praat hul van Pappa vanaendjie?
Pad is so lank en so verre vandaantjie!"
Pappa maak vlammetjie
Daar by die dammetjie,
Treurig en eensaampies,
Vér en alleensaampies,
Kook hy sy keteltjie daar by die vlammetjie.
Ossies se kossies is bossies en polletjies,
Pappa eet droë brood, Mamma kry bolletjies.
Wielietjies woeletjies, tolletjies rolletjies!
Pappa kom huis toe, sy waentjie is volletjies.
Huis toe na Mammetjie,
Huis toe na lammetjie,
Weg van die vlammetjie,
Weg van die dammetjie,
Pappa kom huis toe na kindjie en Mammetjie.
Hier is die boompie vir Moeder se blommetjie,
Hier is die wieg as die slapenstyd kommetjie
Wieg vir die kleintjie in Moeder se arrempies
Saggies en veiligies, liefies en warrempies.
Doedoe dan, liefstetjie,
Moeder se diefstetjie!
Doedoe maar, tapies maar
Moedertjie wakies maar,
Wiegies maar, sussies maar, kindjielief tapies maar!
Onskuldig ogies en voetjies en handetjies!
Wie weet hoe vér moet my kleintjie nog ganetjies,
Ver deur die wêreld se kronkels en gangetjies!
Bly tog maar kleintjies en bly dit maar langetjies.
Bly maar by Moedertjie,
Kindlief se hoedertjie
Slaap in haar arrempies,
Saggies en warrempies
Doekies dan, doekies in Moeder se arrempies!


Cornelis Jacob Langenhoven with 'Vroutjie' at their daughter's wedding, 1926 Photo found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelis_Jacobus_Langenhoven

Hofmeyer Hall, 39, Church Street. At Langenhoven's time known as the CVJ Hall (Cristelijke Jongelieden Vereniging - Young Christians' Association).

The Church Council of the Moeder Kerk renamed the classicist hall , with its Ionic columns and Greek pediment, after the man, whose Bible classes led to the erection of the building (in 1900): N J Hofmeyer, one of the first two professors of the Stellenbosch seminary.
Ex students, of some 50 or 60 years ago, remember the CVJ Hall primarily as a venue for well-attended meetings of the debating societies and student mass meetings.
There was, for instance, the night in March 1930 when C J Langenhoven addressed the Union Debating Society. Having been introduced by the chairman, Langenhoven took a step forward, stared intently over the heads towards the back of the hall, pointed dramatically at the door behind us, and called out in a loud voice: "My friend, what lies around the corner?" We, foolish young students, spun around in concert to see who the friend might be. But with this trick, Langenhoven had caught our attention, and once the laughter had subsided, proceeded to deliver a brilliant talk on all that might await us "around the corner."
Text by Ters van Huyssteen
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