Vorster, Balthazar Johannes

Vorster, Balthazar Johannes

(yōhän`əs bältäzär` fôr`stər), 1915–83, South African political leader. A lawyer, John Vorster became involved in the Afrikaner nationalist movement and helped found a militant anti-British organization. Interned for opposition to the allies in World War II (1942–44), he entered politics after the war and was elected (1953) to the South African Parliament as a Nationalist party member. He became a leader of the party's right wing. In 1958, Vorster was made deputy minister in Hendrik VerwoerdVerwoerd, Hendrik Frensch
, 1901–66, South African political leader, b. Holland. He was taken as an infant to South Africa when his parents emigrated as missionaries. He graduated from Stellenbosch Univ.
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's cabinet. Responsible for education, he rigidly enforced the apartheid Bantu Education Act. Later, as minister of justice (1961–66), Vorster suppressed opponents of apartheidapartheid
[Afrik.,=apartness], system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92. History
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. After the assassination of Verwoerd (Sept., 1966), he became prime minister. Vorster attempted a somewhat more conciliatory foreign policy, pressing Rhodesia's Ian SmithSmith, Ian Douglas,
1919–2007, Rhodesian political leader. A cattle farmer who was the son of a Scottish immigrant, he served in the Southern Rhodesia legislative assembly from 1948 until 1953, when he was elected to the federal parliament of the Central African
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 to negotiate with Mozambique and seeking a solution to international demands for South West Africa's independence. He invaded Angola to protect South West Africa (now NamibiaNamibia
, officially Republic of Namibia, republic (2005 est. pop. 2,031,000), c.318,000 sq mi (823,620 sq km), SW Africa. It is bordered by Angola in the north, by Zambia in the northeast, by Botswana in the east, by South Africa in the southeast and south, and by the Atlantic
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) and internally he harshly suppressed the SowetoSoweto
[acronym for south-west townships], city, now part of City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipality, Gauteng prov., NE South Africa. Located 10 mi (16 km) SW of Johannesburg, Soweto grew as black workers came to the industrialized area after World War I; the name for the
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 uprisings in 1976. Vorster also granted "independence" to TranskeiTranskei
, former black "homeland" and nominal republic, E South Africa, in what is now Eastern Cape prov. Transkei was bounded by the Great Kei River on the south, by the Indian Ocean on the east, by Natal (now Kwazulu-Natal) on the north, and by Lesotho on the northwest.
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 as a first step in apartheid's "separate development." After resigning for health reasons in 1978 to become State President, he was forced to resign the latter post when implicated (1979) in a scandal.

Vorster, Balthazar Johannes

 

Born Dec. 13, 1915, in Jamestown, Cape Province. State figure of the Republic of South Africa.

Vorster is a lawyer by education. During World War II, he advocated collaboration with fascist Germany, for which he was imprisoned in a camp for pro-fascist sympathizers from 1942 to 1944. From 1961 to 1966 he was minister of justice, police, and prisons in the government of H. Verwoerd. From 1966 to 1978 he was prime minister and leader of the Nationalist Party. The policy of the Vorster government was aimed at further strengthening apartheid, continuing the illegal occupation of the territory of Namibia, and subjugating a number of young African states to the influence of the Republic of South Africa. In 1975–76 the Vorster government sanctioned the armed incursion of South African troops into the territory of the People’s Republic of Angola; the incursion ended in complete failure.