The Smuts House Museum seeks to represent faithfully the life-style and multi-facetted career of one of South Africa's greatest sons, General J. C. Smuts, and to promote the holistic vision which he expounded in his life and writings.
MUSEUM: Visiting hours
The Museum and Tea Garden are open daily Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 16:00. These facilities are closed on Mondays.
Photo of General Smuts extracted from the recently published book "Dankie Generaal" with the kind permission of its author Nico Moolman. Smuts is one of the Anglo-Boer War generals Moolman thanks for their contribution, through the strength of their leadership, to his own fascination with the Boer War and whose lives in many ways, consciously or subconsciously, helped shape his own.
To quote further from the publisher's notes:
"Hierdie pragtige kleurboek bevat meer as 100 rare foto’s uit die Anglo- Boereoorlog waarop Nico die afgelope paar jaar in sy ‘speurtogte’ as leke-historikus afgekom het. Dit sluit in etlike glasnegatiewe uit die oorlog waarvoor hy ’n spesiale skandeerder moes laat maak het om dit te digitaliseer. Die foto’s bied ’n baie intieme blik op Boerekrygers en Britse soldate te velde en in hul kampe en bevat wonderlike detail oor praktiese werklikhede van die oorlog. Tussendeur die foto’s vertel Nico die verhale van sy ontdekkingstogte oor die jare. Van die dagboek van 'n Boerekrygsgevangene wat op die vullishoop van die DBV gevind is tot die oorlogslagveld wat hy herontdek het."
"This book contains a selection of rare photos from the Anglo-Boer War, including a number that have been beautifully colourised. It also tells the fascinating story about the author’s far-reaching efforts to preserve these photos and objects from the war."
New Smuts Statue Unveiled
A life-sized statue of former South African Prime Minister, Jan Christiaan Smuts, has been unveiled at Rustenburg in the North West. The unveiling forms part of this month's heritage celebrations. The sculpture depicts Smuts on his horse Charlie. Click on the image below to view the 2 minute SABC News video.
The Big House's stoep gets a make-over
We are extremely grateful to Zander, Tiaan, Johan, Adrian and Christopher (engineering and quantity surveying students) who recently renovated the railing of the Smuts House Museum in Irene. Please view their work on YouTube HERE
The Big House - Home of the Smuts Family
General Smuts bought, for £300, the wood-and-iron building that had served as the officers' mess. It is believed that the building was originally prefabricated in Britain, taken to India by the British Army and later shipped to South Africa. Now, once again the building was dismantled. It was brought to Pretoria by rail, and thence to the farm Doornkloof by ox wagon, where it was re-erected at the substantial cost of £1000 in 1909. General Smuts was at sea, on the way to England as a member of the National Convention delegation, when Mrs Smuts moved her family into the house on 10 July 1909. The plan was altered on rebuilding, and as the years passed a kitchen and pantry (1918) and other rooms were added, and verandahs were enclosed (front verandah, 1942). The Big House is, however, substantially as it was a century ago. The unpretentious building strikingly illustrates Smuts's indifference to luxury and ease of living, and here he spent the happiest hours of his life. Among the famous guests whom Ouma, Smuts' wife, entertained in her home were the British Royal Family, who visited them at Doornkloof while on the Royal Tour in 1947. General Smuts found his peace at Doornkloof. It was to Doornkloof that he retreated from the affairs of State which occupied so much of his life. At Doornkloof Smuts could indulge his absorbing passions for botany and philosophy. At Doornkloof he could enjoy the simple life of a farmer, father and grandfather. After his death in 1950, Mrs Smuts continued to live in the only real home she had ever known, until her death in 1954. Both General and Mrs Smuts died in the Big House. Their ashes were scattered, as were those of other family members, on the top of Smuts Koppie - the rugged hill behind the house. The Smuts House also served as Lord Kitchener's Mess in Middelburg, Transvaal.
General Smuts is widely known for being an avid lover of both Philosophy and Botany. Smuts grew up on the Smuts family farm, Bovenplaats, in the Cape Colony. He would often go out alone and explore the countryside. Throughout his lifetime he went on many botanical expeditions all across South Africa, where he would collect plants. Smuts was also a mountaineer and one of his favorite treks was up Table Mountain. This route is now named Smut's Track in commemoration of the General. His love for botany can be seen in the stunning wild gardens on the Smuts' property. Some of the trees on the stand have very special history to them, such as the Magnolia seeds were planted by Ouma from seeds given to her by Emily Hobhouse. The London Plane trees on the property also have historical value as they were planted there by MOTH (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) Shellholes.