Brian Hermanus

Brain was from Floors in Kimberley, and he swam for the (coloured) Griqualand West team. His swimming fame appears to come from a 1972 swimming trip to London, where he is to have equalled the 100m record of the World and Olympic champion David Wilkie.

He is reported have been a founding member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUMSA) and the United Democratic Front (UDF). He joined the ANC  when it was unbanned in 1990 evenetually became a Member of the Northwest Province Executive Council (MEC). He died in a car crash in 2000.

Honourable Speaker

Through its flagship programme, Honouring Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle, the department is ensuring that the sacrifices and contributions of the many unsung heroes and heroines of our freedom struggle are recognised and honoured. 

To this end, we have recently named our provincial archives repository after the late Comrade Khotso Flatela, who died in exile and is buried outside the country. We have also renamed the Ministry for Sport, Arts and Culture to Brian Hermanus House in honour of this outstanding sportsman and dedicated activist. Comrade Brian Hermanus was also the first MEC of this department with its establishment in 1999. 

Brian Hermanus, world-rated swimmer from the apartheid years, killed in car accident. He was the MEC for Sport Arts and Culture for the Northern Cape. 2000.


Northern Cape Minister of Arts, Sports and Culture Brian Hermanus and his private secretary, Mervin Erlank, were killed in a road accident on Wednesday afternoon, 26 July 2000. Hermanus, 44, and Erlank, 36, were killed instantly, while the minister's bodyguard, Norman Zenzile Job, had minor injuries.

The accident happened on a gravel road between Britstown and Vosburg. Police spokesperson Rita Crafford said that Job received medical treatment at the Britstown clinic and was discharged.

The deaths of the two men sent shockwaves through the provincial administration and the province. The then Northern Cape Premier Manne Dipico, who had just returned from Belgium, and his cabinet expressed their condolences to the Hermanus and Erlank families.

Spokesperson for the Hermanus family, Bradley Swartland, said the minister was on his way to Calvinia to make preparations for a hearing on racism in sport. He said Hermanus was travelling in a rented 4 x 4 vehicle when the accident happened. According to Swartland, Hermanus was driving the vehicle when it overturned.

He was survived by his wife, Lynn, and daughters Anita and Samantha.

Erlank was survived by his wife, Olga, five-year-old daughter Maxine, and one-year-old son Aiden.

Brian Hermanus was a great sportsman, and a family man. Brian displayed his versatility and was ranked amongst the country’s best ten swimmers irrespective of colour during the trying times of apartheid.

In 1972 Brian together with Shreef Abass, both from Kimberley, were selected amongst the top five swimmers in the country for further training in London where he equalled the 100m record of the World and Olympic champion David Wilkie. Brian would probably have broken the world record or been chosen for the Olympic Games had it not been for the restrictive apartheid laws. His times would certainly have seen him contest the finals at the Olympics. [Editor: Claims about equalling Wilkie's times are unsubstantiated]

He also displayed excellence in soccer, rugby, tennis, table tennis and athletics at school and Provincial level. Apart from his involvement in sport and as an MEC Brian was determined to see every child take part in sport as he believed that a “Child in Sport is a Child out of Court”.

(From various sources).