Dimitri Tsafendas

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Biographical information


Parliamentary Messenger who assassinated South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd.

First name: 
Last name: 
Date of birth: 
14 January1918
Location of birth: 
Lourenco Marques (now Maputo)
Date of death: 
07 October 1999
Location of death: 
near Krugersdorp, Gauteng, South Africa.

Tsafendas was the parliamentary messenger who assassinated Prime Minister HF Verwoed, by stabbing him four times with a dagger, during a parliamentary session in 1966. Born in Lorenco Marques (present day Maputo), Tsafendas was the illegitimate son of a Greek father and a Mozambican mother. As a young boy he was shunned by the White community and was nicknamed “blackie”, due to his wavy hair and dark skin.

• This biography is a modified extract from the following source:
Swart, F. (1999) “Dimitri tsafendas” from They Shaped our Century: The Most Influential South Africans of the Twentieth Century. Published by Human and Rousseau.p.237 - 41

Last updated : 11-Aug-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011