• Short Summary

    Dr. Deiderichs was the third State President of the Republic of South Africa. Like his?

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    Dr. Deiderichs was the third State President of the Republic of South Africa. Like his two predecessors he came from the Orange Free State. He was born in the Ladybrand District on November the 17th 1903. After matriculating at the Boshof High School he continued his studies at the Grey University College in Bloemfontein. He obtained his B.A. degree in 1923, and his Masters Degree two years later. From 1926 to 1930 he studied in Europe: at the Universities of Munich, Berlin, and Cologne in Germany, and at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He obtained a D. Litt. and Phil. degree at the last mentioned university. In 1933 he was appointed Professor of Philosophy at Grey College University. After playing a leading role in the Afrikaans-speaking community, including heading the Reddingsdaad-bond, he was elected Member of Parliament for Randfontein in 1948. He entered the Cabinet as Minister of Economic Affairs in 1958.

    In 1967 he was appointed Minister of Finance. He energetically fought for the role of gold in the world economy, and this earned him the title: "Mr Gold". Dr Diederichs reached the apex of his multi-faceted career when he was elected Stated President in February 1975. Two months later, on April the 19th, he took the oath of office in the historic Groote Kerk in Cape Town. During his extensive career he became known as a man of the people, a statesman, a family man, and an economist of international standing. In 1932, Dr. Diederichs married Miss Marga Potgieter. They had three children -- a son and two daughters. Dr Diederichs' determination and enthusiasm over the years were crowned by a number of awards at home and abroad. He was honoured overseas in Italy, Paraguay, and the French capital, Paris. These, along with the honours at home, keep alive the memory of a great South African.

    Dr DIEDERICH'S last official public appearance was on June the 15th when he and Mrs. DIEDERICHS took their leave of Cape Town at the end of this year's Parliamentary session. The occasion was marked by the presence of a Naval guard of honour and the Naval band.

    Also present were the Prime Minister, Mr VORSTER, and members of the Cabinet.

    The occasion was auspicious and the fleet went out of its way to honour the Presidential couple.

    In his busy official life, Dr DIEDERICHS attended many functions, like the opening of Rand Afrikaans University in his capacity as Chancellor in March 1975. On April the 19th, 1975 came the highlight of his life when he was inaugurated as state President at a moving ceremony in the mother city.

    After his installation Dr and Mrs DIEDERICHS arrived in Pretoria on the White Train for the first time. They were met by the Prime Minister.

    No November the 28th, 1975, Dr DIEDERICHS received the Freedom of Randfontein, the town he had served as Member of Parliament. Seven-thousand people were at the H.F. VERWOERD Stadium to see this honour conferred on him.

    Republic Day, 1976, and Dr DIEDERICHS celebrated the occasion at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and expressed optimism about South Africa's future.

    On September the ninth, 1976, the Freedom of Bloemfontein was awarded to him in honour of the long and fruitful service he had carried out there.

    The first Pro Patria medals were presented by Dr DIEDERICHS in October, 1976 to the next of kin of soldiers killed on the borders. On December the 16th, of the same year, Dr. DIEDERICHS attended the State Function to commemorate the Battle of Blood River at Paardakraal near Kru???dorp. He delivered a forceful address.

    The opening of Parliament each year was one of his duties as State President. Here he was opening the fourth sitting of the fifth Parliament in January last year.

    On January the 20th this year, he left Pretoria in his official capacity for the last time to attend Parliament in Cape Town. He was seen off with full ceremony.

    Cape Town, - August the seventh. Dr DIEDERICHS made his last public appearance at the christening of the container ship, the Transvaal.

    Dr DIEDERICHS fell ill at a banquet that evening and was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital, where he died.

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