(01 November 2018)


Dear Friends,

The next Friends of Smuts House  Event will be on Thursday 15 November when the well-known scorpion specialist Jonathan Leeming will do a presentation, not only on scorpions but how they and humans fit together into ‘One World’. The new caterer Jan du Toit will provide the meal (R120 for Friends members) and if the weather is suitable we shall be staying in the lapa for the talk. Please bring a plate of mince pies or something sweet to share for the ‘pudding’.

Please book with Cheryl:  083 376 1734   or Sue: 082 959 6316 and pay EFT to the Friends of Smuts House account with your name and supper 15 Nov in the beneficiary space. We will only accept bookings until 12h00 on Tuesday 13 November.

Would you believe this co-incidence: On Tuesday 30 October we went into the dining room at Smuts House Museum to look for a suitable place for a signing ceremony? And there visiting the Big House was a grand-daughter, great granddaughter and great great grandchildren of Jan and Isie Smuts. Sibella Pedder was, I think, the granddaughter of Smuts second surviving child, her daughter Cato is part of the Clark family; they were here from the UK doing research into the Clark family that was so intimately involved with the Smuts family. If we find more information we will let you have it.

With grateful thanks to the General Smuts Foundation a historic MoU signing ceremony was held between the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) and the City Council of Tshwane  Environment Management Services (EMS) on 30 October 2018 at Smuts House Museum. This was the culmination of years of co-operation between the various WESSA Friends Groups in Tshwane and EMS. As time goes by less and less money is formally budgeted for ‘Caring the Earth’ thus volunteers under the auspices of the WESSA Friends Groups fill the gap. The MoU formalised the relationship between WESSA and The City of Tshwane. We were honored to have Thommie Burger the CEO of WESSA, Ernst Wohlitz head of EMS and Rantbeng Tseke representing the MMC’s office. Our thanks go to Jan du Toit who provided Ouma’s scones for us in the  renovated lapa, which looks great with the new farm theme.

Classical music will feature at Ouma’s Tea Garden Restaurant on Sunday 4 November….enjoy.




Dear Friends,


The Friends of Smuts House have hosted 4 very successful supper talks this year: in January: Sinkholes, presented by local geologist Neil Anderson. In February we had Michael Charton doing his famous presentation named ‘My Father’s Coat” the story of five great men: Mzilikazi, Kruger, Rhodes, Smuts and Mandela and how they have influenced the South Africa we live in today.

In March we hosted Richard Steyn presenting on his book about the Friendship of Smuts and Churchill and in April Philip Mirkin did a wonderful presentation on Holism which included a poem on the elements in the periodic table! Our grateful thanks to the speakers and the meal providers.

Our long time treasurer Roy Field has retired and we welcome Nigel Coni in his place. Roy was also the assistant barmen offers of help will be so appreciated…PS Ron is looking for lady helper??

All these events have contributed to the funds which enabled Ron Mengell and John Mashiela to restore the Place of Quiet, it now looks so beautiful. The only job outstanding is one pane of glass which the Friends will organise and get replaced soon. Alpheus, Matthew and Ron have worked extra hard to clear the debris (17 bakkie loads) dumped when the decking in front of the Big House was installed.

The Friends have donated a brand new vacuum cleaner to the Museum and funds to help sort out electricity…the Big House was not earthed!!!!!

We thank the Friends that have recently sent in their membership renewals and welcome several new Friends families. Should you wish to join the Friends and help us support the management of Smuts House Museum, grounds and koppie please find an application for membership form HERE. On the Friends of Smuts house tab. Perhaps you would also like to consider a bequest to the General Smuts Foundation that owns and runs the property

Next Friends event: Supper talk Thursday 17 May, following a quickie AGM, Philip Weyers will do a presentation on:  Jan Smuts and the Balfour declaration. It discusses the role the Oubaas played both overtly and otherwise in the events which resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel.

An interesting article that was published in the Pretoria News on 19 April as part of the newspaper’s 120 year celebration can be read HERE.

Kind regards

Marion Mengell


Dear Marion

I am green with envy and honestly wish that I could attend these talks that you good folk organize.

I am more or less finished writing about the 2 Minute Silent Pause of Remembrance that started in Cape Town on 14 May 1918.  General Smuts was well aware of the tradition and re-introduced the tradition during WW2.  I am now wondering if you have any information about his observing a silence e.g. did the country observe a 1 or a 2 minute silence at his funeral? Strangely it is one of my oldest memories.  The funeral of General Jan Smuts.  We as children had to sit in our Sunday Best throughout the ceremony and my mother often shed a tear which upset us very much indeed. Will a silence be observed during the Memorial Service?  I have a huge favour to ask.  Could you possibly organize that someone takes a photograph during the Memorial Service so that I can have it placed together with the information in the manuscript “The Two Minute Silent Pause of Remembrance.”  I think I may have flown up to Irene for the service but I am on my way to Cape Town where the centenary commemoration of the Two Minute Silence will take place at the actual Noonday Gun on Signal Hill.  It is all very exciting.  They are even going to erect a monument that will be unveiled.  I need those photographs for the manuscript as well.  By the way one of my treasures is a Christmas Card that General Smuts sent to every gunner in 1917.  He was the honorary Commanding Officer of the gunners of WW! and his statue now ‘resides’ directly opposite the Gunners Memorial in the Company Gardens in Cape Town.  Sir Percy FitzPatrick who was involved in getting the 2 Minute Silent Pause observed internationally can be seen on one of the walls of General Smut’s office although I do not think that the General was over fond of Sir Percy.  Oh dear, I am going on about it all.

Enjoy your function and thank you for forwarding all the information.

Keep up the good work.


Joan Abrahams.


Pics of Neil Anderson making and replacing  spokes on the Armstrong Cannon which is on show at the Smuts House Museum. Thanks Neil for this amazing volunteer help.


For more information or to donate towards the rehabilitation of the Cadillac and its shelter and the funeral gun please contact: Theo Ligthelm: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 082 824 1119

Chairlady Event Bookings Membership
Cell: 083 455 1736 Cell: 083 376 1734 Tel.:012 667 4924
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