Friday, December 27, 2013
Jacob Daniël du Toit (21 February 1877 – 1 July 1953), better known by his pen name Totius, was an Afrikaner poet.
The poet D.J. Opperman (Awper-mun) compiled brief biographical notes in Afrikaans about Totius/du Toit. Du Toit began his education at the Huguenot Memorial School at Daljosafat in the Cape (1883–1885). He then moved to a German mission school named Morgensonne near Rustenburg from 1888 to 1890 before returning, between 1890 and 1894, to his original school at Daljosafat. Later he attended a theological college at Burgersdorp before becoming a military chaplain with the Boer Commandos during the Second Boer War. After the war, he studied at the FreeUniversity in Amsterdam and was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Theology. He became an ordained minister of the Reformed Church of South Africa and from 1911 he was a professor at the Theological College of this Reformed Church in Potchefstroom. As a mature man he travelled to the Netherlands and Palestine
and his impressions of these visits to foreign lands are included in the collection Skemering (1948). (The word Skemering is a pun and difficult to translate. It can relate to "Twilight" but also to "faint recollection").
Du Toit was a deeply religious man and a conservative one in most senses. His small son died at a tender age of an infection and his young daughter, Wilhelmina, was killed by lightning, falling into his arms dead as she ran towards him. He recorded this calamity in the poem "O die pyn-gedagte" (literally "Oh the pain-thoughts").
Du Toit was responsible for much of the translation of the Bible into Afrikaans, finishing what his father Stephanus Jacobus du Toit had begun. He also put a huge amount of work into producing poetical versions of the Psalms in Afrikaans. His poetry was in the main lyrical and dealt, inter alia, with faith, nature, British imperialism and the Afrikaner nation. He left behind many collections of poems, including Trekkerswee (1915; “Trekkers' Grief”) and Passieblomme (1934; “Passion Flowers”).
Thank you Maria.