Stoeier - Wresler Johannes van der Walt

Teen ligdag, op 23 Februarie 1942, is die Hoëveldse oggendstilte op ʼn afgeleë boereplaas naby Krugersdorp skielik versteur deur ʼn geskarrel in en om die huis, ʼn vensterraam wat opskuif en, oomblikke later, ʼn dowwe pistoolskoot. ʼn Forse figuur stort buite die venster ineen, swaar gewond.
Op 25 Maart 1943, dertien maande later, het hierdie gewonde, nou uitgeteer en slegs ʼn skadu van die fris en gesonde man van weleer, sy laaste asem uitgeblaas. Sy einde was tragies, die slagoffer van ongekende broedertwis in Afrikanergeledere.
So onuitwisbaar as wat sy naam in die politieke geskiedenis van ons land, van die veertigerjare opgeteken staan, so diep is Johannes van der Walt se naam in die sportgeskiedenis van Suid-Afrika uitgebeitel.
Hy was die beroemde stoeier wat onder die skuilnaam van Die gemaskerde Wonder later ʼn nasionale held geword het, wat die verbeelding aangegryp het soos nooit tevore nie. Hy het vanweë sy krag maar veral met sy volstruisskop, baie roem verwerf.
Toeskouers het in hulle duisende na die stoeikryt gestroom en die sportsoort het ʼn hoogtepunt in Suid-Afrika bereik.
Na 51 gevegte, waarvan hy net 3 verloor het, is die gemaskerde wonder in November 1935 vrywillig ontmasker nadat daar nie aan die uitdruklike voorwaarde – dat hy met twee valle teen nul geklop moes word – voldoen kon word nie.
Sedert sy toetrede tot die stoeikryt, het Van der Walt veel roem verwerf, en steeds getrou gebly aan die beste tradisies van sy volk. Hy was ʼn nederige en kinderlik-gelowige Christen, baie familievas en intens tradisiebewus.. Sy bewussyn van Afrikanerskap het hom ʼn welige bos baard laat kweek in die jaar van die Ossewa-trek, en, geïnspireer deur die tydsgees, het hy hom by die destydse Ossewa-Brandwag aangesluit.
Hy neem ook aktief deel aan sabotasie-pogings teen die regering. Op 17 Desember 1941 verskyn hy in die Johannesburgse magistraatshof op aanklag dat hy onwettig in besit van ʼn vuurwapen en ammunisie was. Na borgtog was hy weer gearresteer en in die destydse internasionaal-beroemde Marshallplein onder streng bewaking toegesluit. Hy ontsnap egter uit die tronk met behulp van een van die bewaarders.
In Februarie 1942 het dr. D.F. Malan ʼn dramatiese beëdigde verklaring van Johannes van der Walt in die Volksraad ter tafel gelê, waarin hy die regering gewaarsku het oor die rigting wat die beweging en sy leiers in geslaan het.
 In die tragiese einde van die groot held het ʼn Duitser, wat aan Johannes bekend was en sy vertoue geniet het, Johannes se skuilplek op ʼn plaas naby Krugersdorp aan die polisie verraai.
Bron: Die Transvaler 1943.

The wresler Johannes van der Walt
At day break on the 23rd of February 1942 the highveldt peace was shattered  by a scuffle around a farm house in the municipal area of Krugersdorp. A window frame was raised immediately followed by the sound of a pistol shot. A well-built man collapsed onto the ground  serouisly wounded.
He died some 13 months later on the  25th of March 1943. He had been paralized from the waist down; without exercise his once strong body wasted away. This was a tragic end for a man of such great achievement. He was the victim of a disagreement and resulting bitter fight between factions in the Afrikaner society.
Altough his name will forever be recorded in South Africa’s political history, he will be remembered more by his fans and their children  for his great sporting achievements. He was a well known and admired wrestler who fought under the alias of “Die gemaskerde Wonder” (The masked wonder). This made him a national hero in the wrestling ring. His strenght  and his outstanding ostrich kick made him a legend in his sport. During his reign as the greatest contender seen in wrestling, people in their thousands flocked  to the ring side and the sport reached new heights in South Africa. After 51 fights, with only 3 losses finally unmasked himself in November 1935.  Despite the media attention and resulting fame he stayed devoted to his family and the traditions of his people.
Leading up to the “Great Trek” Centenary Commemoration which was celebrated  in 1938 he grew a beard as a reminder of the past which also acted as an inspiration  to the growing Afrikaner nasionalism of that time. He became a proud member of the ‘Ossewa-Brandwag’. This was a anti-Brittish organization formed to opposed Jan Smuts desition to assist Britain during the First World War.
Johannes took a active part in sabotage efforts against the goverment of the time.
On 17th  December 1941 he appeared at the Johannesburg magistrates court on charges of possessing  an unlicence firearm and ammunition. They later arrested him again after he jumped bail and lock him up at Marshallplein. He escaped shortly afterwards with the help of one of the guards.
Dr. D.F. Malan received a affadavit from him in February 1942. This Dr. Malan read to the “Volksraad” (the Members of Parliament). It stated that the members of the “Ossewa-Brandwag” were  steering the orignazation into new directions of civil unrest and possible treason.
 A German who was well known and trusted by Johannes betrayed him by alerting the police and betraying his hide out.
Johannes was unarmed at the time of his attempted escape. No verbal warning or warning shots were given before he was ignominiously gunned down.

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