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N J Brümmer

Nicolaas Johannes Brümmer
1866 - 1947

Professor of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University 1910-1941

Nicolaas Johannes Brümmer was born on 27th July 1866 in the Dordrecht district. He grew up in die Barkly East district and received his first schooling there. In 1885 he went to Stellenbosch where he matriculated at the Stellenbosch Gymnasium (now the Paul Roos Gymnasium), attained the degrees of BA and MA in philosophy at the Victoria College and completed the ministerial training at the Theological Seminary. He received all his degrees cum laude and in 1890 he came first in the Cape Colony for the BA examination. As a student he was the first editor of the Stellenbosch Students Annual that was later to become the Stellenbossche Student.
In 1984-1895 he studied philosophy and theology in Edinburgh and Leipzig and completed the BD degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He served as Dutch Reformed minister at Jansenville (1996-1899) and Three Anchor Bay (1999-1910) before becoming professor in philosophy at Stellenbosch (1910-1941). In 1896 he married Ruth Stegmann with whom he had a daughter (Amanda) and a son (Felix). After her death in 1929 he married Ettie Marais in 1932 with whom he had a son (Vincent). He died at Stellenbosch in May 1947.
N. J. Brümmer was one of the leaders of the Second Afrikaans Language Movement at the Cape. He was one of the founders of the Afrikaanse Taalvereniging at the Cape in 1905, chairman of the committee that drew up the first spelling rules for Afrikaans and one of the main speakers at the opening congress of the Suid Afrikaanse Akademie in 1910. From 1914-1930 he was editor of the journal De Goede Hoop that played a major role in furthering the Afrikaans language.
His work at Stellenbosch university was especially guided by two motives: First, he wanted to contribute to the training of ministers of the church, since at the time philosophy was an important subject in Stellenbosch for all students who wanted to study theology at the Theological Seminary. Secondly, with a view to the emancipation of the Afrikaner people he considered it important to train students in the social sciences. Thus he was the first to introduce the study of sociology at Stellenbosch.
His many publications were mainly popular, often dealing with moral issues, with the recognition of the Afrikaans language and with the character of the Afrikaner people. He wrote regularly for De Kerkbode, De Goede Hoop and during the 1940's in Die Naweek.He was one of the editors of the Gedenkboek van het Victoria College (Cape Town: De Nationale Pers 1918) for which he contributed the Introduction and an essay on 'De Afrikaner en de universiteit.' He also produced an Afrikaans edition of the Bible for children by professor John Murray (Cape Town: Juta 1920).

A collection of his papers and correspondence is kept at the J.S. Gerecke Library at the University of Stellenbosch.

His published books and pamphlets include the following:
De Afrikaanse Nasie (Lesing gehou vir Stellenbossche Studente) Cape Town: Zuid-Afrikaanse Nieuwsblad Maatschappij, 1908 (23pp)

Spoken (Cape Town: Z.A.B.V. 1908. 297pp.)
Wat Bewijst de Zending? (Cape Town: Z.A.B.V. 19-. 34pp)
De Mormonen, Z.A.B.V., 1909 (36pp)
Christian Citizenship, (Cape Town: S.A. Newspaper Co. 1910)
De Predikant en de Gemeente (Cape Town:1911)
De Eerbied (Kampen: J.H. Kok 1911)
De Ziel van de Kerkhervorming (Cape Town: Van der Sandt en De Villiers 1917)
De Afrikaner en de Onzedelijkheid(Stellenbosch: Pro Ecclesia 1917, 1918)
De Kennis om Haarzelve (Cape Town: Van der Sandt en De Villiers 1920)
Plezierige Gevaren: Bedaarde Gesprekken tussen Thom Vogel en Pieter Louw (Cape Town: Z.A.B.V. 1921)
Die Spraaksame Ossewa (Cape Town: Z.A.B.V. 1922)
Die Unie-Burger (Cape Town: Juta & Co. 1923
Bring die Vloeker uit! (Cape Town: S.A.B.V. 19-)
Padwysers vir die Jeug (Cape Town: S.A.B.V. 1949)

Text by Vincent Brümmer, December 2007

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