AG Visser (1/3/1878 – 10/06/1929) first became a teacher. He started his teaching career in October 1896 at the Public School at Carnarvon. Two years later he became the principal and his initial salary was only R340.00 per annum, with a R68 allowance. Apart from the fact that we would call it a meagre “struggle” salary, he fiercely fought for the Boers’ rights to take part in the Second Boer War. So much so that he was declared a rebel in 1901. Therefor he was taken prisoner by the town’s commandant. He was granted bail, but for his punishment, he had to resign as principal and leave the town. He then studied medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland. Later Langehoven remarked that Visser became a teacher out of free will, but became a doctor forced by circumstances.
After his father’s death in October 1916, he settled in his beloved Heidelberg at the hills of the Suikerbosrand. He was quickly loved by everybody and built his practice in an old house on the corners of Van der Westhuizen and HF Verwoerd (Church) Streets. His dear neighbour, Rev. AJ Louw lived across the street. He suffered further setbacks with the death of his wife, Lettie, also a teacher. She died after complications with the death of their third child. He also served the community as town council member from 1918 and from 1926 as district physician.
He would be dearly remembered for his huge contribution to the Afrikaans language. All of his poems were written in this house where after many were composed and published in the FAK-Volksangbundel. He befriend a local lawyer, Eugene Marias, who encouraged him to publish his work. His friend was no stranger to the struggle as he was the previous founder and editor of the newspaper, ”Land en Volk” in Pretoria. He was a fierce opponent of President Paul Kruger’s government and exposed irregularities and corruption of politicians.
During dr A G Visser’s short life span of 51 years he left a deep mark in our community. Heidelberg Hospital celebrated its centennial in 1917 and was founded and previously known as the AG Visser Hospital. Due to his contribution to education the AG Visser Primary School situated in Rensburg, which celebrated its 90thbirthday in 2018, was named after him.
In further recognition AG Visser Street in Rensburg was named after him. The graves of AG Visser and his wife can still be visited in the Kloof Cemetery.
As this is a struggle route we will conclude with one of his “struggle” poems. One that recognise the struggle of trust beyond race till death do us part. “Amakeia “
“Amakeia had belowe toe haar nonna sterwend was
om die hulpelose kindjie, tot hy groot was op te pas
selfvergetend, doodsveragtend, met die wit kind op haar rug
na die Amatollaberg het sy ylings heen gevlug.
Ag, dat oë van verspieders, ook haar skuilplaas moes ontdek!
“Spaar hom, hys nog so klein nog”
Smeek sy met hande uitgestrek.
“Is jul lewend nie te skei nie, blyf dan in die dood vereen –
kort proses met haar, Maxosas, laat die blink assegaaie reen”.