RESUMÉ: JAN MALAN HOFMEYR
♦ Personal details
Jan Malan Hofmeyr was born on 1 January 1935 in Amersfoort, Mpumalanga as the second son of Harry Hofmeyr, later director of the Stofberg Theological Seminary near Viljoensdrift, and his wife Winnie (Malan). He completed his secondary education at the Hoër Volkskool, Heidelberg, after which he studied for the ministry at the University of Pretoria, obtaining a BA in 1956 and a BD in 1959. He excelled as student leader, serving as both SRC chairman and chairman of the house committee of the student residence Sonop in 1958. At the end of that year he won the Abe Bailey bursary that enabled him to tour the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany, where he studied industrial and inner-city mission.
On returning to South Africa he undertook an extended tour of several African countries, including what is today known as the DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Congo.
♦ DRCA (URCSA) Minister
He entered the ministry of the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa in 1960 as pastor of the congregation of Meadowlands, Soweto, a position that he occupied until 1967. During this time he learned to speak Tswana fluently, believing that language constitute relationships.
In 1966 he took the lead in establishing the Sefikeng Church Centre in Meadowlands, Soweto. His request to open a Mqinga Zulu Graduatesbookshop in the Centre was turned down by the authorities, as this would make township life pleasant for blacks. He was also responsible for establishing 5 creches in Meadowlands between1963-1967, and served as Vice-Chairperson of the Southern Transvaal Synod of the DRCA, and in various other capacities. In 1967 he took up the position of Synodical Youth Minister of the DRCA where he remained until his retirement from church work in 1992.
♦ Youth Pastor
During this time he served as Secretary of the DRCA General Synod Youth Committee (1968-1992). He organised several multi-racial praise and worship meetings for members of the family of DR Churches in Meadowlands, the Johannesburg City Hall and the City Theater between 1960-1992, and used speaking opportunities (sermons, etc) in various congregations of the DRC (NG Kerk) since 1960 to underline the Scriptural injunction that church services should be open for all irrespective of race and colour.
In the 1970s he organised many youth retreats on farms, at Umgababa on the KZN South Coast and in Botswana for township youth, and hikes in the Timbavati Game Reserve with black and white students participating, in an effort to foster dialogue between the leaders of the future.
Jan interviews Letlhogonolo SelebogoIn 1969 he established and administered (until 1992) the Sedibeng Youth Hostel in Itsoseng (Lichtenburg), which provides accommodation and care for high school students. In 1979 he established and administered (until 1992) the Emdeni Children’s Home in Emdeni, Soweto.
As a member of the Reformed Ecumenical Council’s Youth Committee he attended Council meetings in Nimes, France (1980) and Chicago (1984), and he was co-responsible for organising the REC African Youth Conferences in Pretoria (1984), Chongoni, Malawi (1988), Krugersdorp (1991) and Gabarone (1995).
From 1979 to 1992 he served as Synodical Treasurer of the DRCA in the Southern Transvaal (92 congregations), responsible for church finances, administration, pension funds, etc. He was responsible for establishing in 1982 and administering until 1992 the DRCA Synodical Office (“Ebenhaeser”) and Kagiso Conference Centre.
Jan Hofmeyr in 1974 was a founder trustee and the first Executive Chairperson of StudyTrust. From 1974 to 1992 he In the OLD days...was responsible for the development of StudyTrust as a national bursary organisation for the benefit of financially needy students with academic potential. In 1992, on taking early retirement from the DRCA, he was appointed National Director (full-time) of StudyTrust, a position he occupied with great distinction until the end of 2007. Under his leadership StudyTrust reached its current stature as a recognised civil initiative in the fight against poverty in South Africa with individual donors from all major South African communities.
Through fundraising and establishing partnerships with private sector companies, he steered StudyTrust to become an organisation responsible for bursary and loan support amounting to R5.4 million in 2007 to students country-wide. From 1974 to 2007 more than 17 800 annual bursary allocations had been made. He enhanced the efficiency profile of NGOs by maintaining an exemplary low level of gross administration cost for StudyTrust (9% in 2006 and 10.4% in 2007).
Under his leadership StudyTrust contributed significantly to Black Economic Empowerment with 83% of its beneficiaries in 2007 being Black (86% in 2006).
Jan married Elma (van Niekerk) in 1960 and they have three daughters and five sons, amongst them the internationally renowned violonist Zanta Hofmeyr, flutist Malané Burger-Hofmeyr and Harry Hofmeyr, author and producer of TV dramas and programmes.
StudyTrust made a video to commemorate Jan’s work when he retired in 2009. Link to video