Administrator Of South West Africa
Gys was born in Riversdale where his father, Jan Hendrik, a cousin of Onze Jan, was a farmer. As a boy he worked on the farm and only had three years of formal education. By dint of home schooling he
matriculated and in 1894 was appointed assistant-magistrate in Outshoorn. Later he served as a magistrate in both Malmesbury and Stellenbosch, where he furthered his legal studies at Victoria College
after hours. In 1901 he went into parliamentary service in Cape Town. In 1907 he became a member of the newly formed Transvaal Legislative Assembly, and in 1909 he was the secretary of the Transvaal d
elegation to the National Assembly in London, and between 1910 and 1920 distinguished himself as the president of the House of Assembly of the new Union of South Africa.
In 1920 he became the first civilian Administrator of South West Africa, and in 1922 he successfully suppressed the indigenous 'Bondelswart' (Khooisan) uprising in the country. He represented South Af
rica at the League of Nations in Geneva1, and in 1926 after he resigned as Administrator he became a member of the Angola-South West border commission. He was also largely responsible for the extensio
n of the railway both to the coast and to the North of Windhoek.
He was known as a good-natured intellectual and an ardent supporter of a unified South Africa. He refused the offer a knighthood in 1910 and was later granted the title of Commander of the Order of St
. Michael and St. George (CMG) and praised by the King for his services to the crown and country. After retirement he carried on as a director of a number of companies and lived out his last years in
the lovely family home, Welgemeend, in the Gardens.
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