Germiston’s own historical figure

Dr Willem Cruywagen, Germiston's historical figure, died from a stomach ulcer, in Pretoria, on July 10 (Photograph by: Isabel Groesbeek).

Germiston’s historical figure, Dr Willem Cruywagen, passed away on July 10.

He was born in 1921.

Cruywagen was a prominent figure inside and outside of the Germiston community.

He died at the age of 92, from a stomach ulcer.

He was elected as a member of the House of Assembly for Germiston in 1961.

During his parliamentary career he served as a deputy minister and minister of the departments of Home Affairs, Bantu Administration and National Education.

In 1979, Dr Cruywagen became the Administrator of the Transvaal and served in this position until his retirement, in May, 1988.

He was also an academic and an author.

His eldest son, Albert Cruywagen, said his father was recognised as an honorary citizen of Germiston, Elsburg, Springs and Alberton.

The Bertha Gxowa Hospital, in Germiston, was named the Willem Cruywagen Hospital, in his honour, in the 1970s.

Albert Cruywagen described his father as “a people’s person, who was a patriotic Afrikaner”.

“He cared a lot about his people and the Afrikaner culture,” Albert added.

“He was very involved in health-related issues in the community and was a hard worker.

“He’d always put people first; he would even take the time to drive people to the hospital.

“My brother and I were born at the Germiston Hospital, that was later named after my father.”

Cruywagen took up residence in Germiston in the mid-1940s and married his wife, Snow, in 1949.

Snow Cruywagen (left) and her late husband, Dr Willem Cruywagen, during a Genealogy and Heritage Festival, in Pretoria, in 2009 (Photograph by: Isabel Groesbeek).

Snow Cruywagen (left) and her late husband, Dr Willem Cruywagen, during a Genealogy and Heritage Festival, in Pretoria, in 2009 (Photograph by: Isabel Groesbeek).

He was a history, geography and music teacher in Germiston before becoming involved in politics.

He has two surviving sons, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

His last book “Die Cruywagens: ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse familie, Deel II” was released in March, this year.

A remembrance ceremony will be held on July 17, in Pretoria, followed by a private, family cremation.

  AUTHOR
Gugu Zwane
Journalist

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