SMUTS ARTICLES

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In the News

Snippets, Articles, Documents of General Jan Smuts and the Smuts Family, the Jan Smuts House and the Museum.
 

May 22, 2018

 

'Genius' statesman Smuts's life recalled

 

PRETORIA NEWS / 22 MAY 2018, 07:11AM / VIRGILATTE GWANGWA

A wreath being laid during the annual memorial for General Jan Christiaan Smuts on Sunday. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

PIONEER, remarkable, genius and peacemaker were among words used to describe General Jan Christiaan Smuts during his memorial service at Smuts House Museum in Irene on Sunday. The memorial service is held annually and close to his birthday, which is on May 24.

Smuts died aged 80 on September 11, 1950, after he suffered a coronary thrombosis. He died of a subsequent heart attack at his family farm in Doornkloof. Men and women from far and near in military uniform gathered in honour of the late military leader and philosopher.

Chaplain Marius van Rooyen said many were breaking all that Smuts had worked hard to build, and said it was time that everyone reconciled.

“General Smuts understood the wisdom of unity and reconciliation and that's what he stood for; unity. Many of our lives are testimonials of unity and that is what we are celebrating here today.”

The Welsh Male Voice Choir of SA had the audience in awe with melodious voices, while the SANDF held a mini-parade.Smuts’s great-grandson Philip Weyers said it was sentimental for him and the family to see his great-grandfather remembered and honoured in such a dignified manner.

“Even though I'm too young to have known my great-grandfather, for me to have my South African people recognise and celebrate him like this means a lot. In as much as I have spoken about him all over the world, I have also heard a lot about him and I can tell you that this man was a complete genius,” he said.

The memorial included a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of Smuts.

Smuts served as prime minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924, as well as from 1939 to 1948. He is the only man to have signed both of peace treaties which ended World War I and II. Although Smuts had originally advocated racial segregation and opposed the enfranchisement of black Africans, his views changed. He then backed the Fagan Commission's findings that complete segregation was impossible.

He continued to work for reconciliation and emphasised the British Commonwealth's positive role until his death in 1950. He led a Boer Commando in the second war for Transvaal and the South African armies against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa and commanding the British Army in East Africa.

Two years after his death, the international airport in Kempton Park was founded and given his name. It is now known as OR Tambo International Airport.

 

April 20, 2018

 

Article about Smuts House in The Pretoria News, 19 April 2018

 

 

April 17, 2018

 

Smuts' Last Journey

 

“The force of his intellect has enriched the wisdom of the whole human race” Here is a very interesting arlicle from "The Observation Post" on the life and ultimate death of General Smuts.

 
 
 
 

April 13, 2018

Smuts and Churchill's Narrow Escape

 

Copyright IWM (B5364)

Prime Minister Winston Churchill looking at enemy and British aircraft engaged overhead with Field Marshal Jan Smuts, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, General Sir Bernard Montgomery and others in Normandy, 12 June 1944.

It was D-Day + 10 when South African statesman, Field Marshal Jan Smuts, accompanying the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, crossed over to Normandy to observe the action first-hand. Smuts was rather lucky to survive this visit, as both he and Churchill could very well have been killed while visiting Monty’s headquarters at Cruelly. The author Nicholas Rankin, in his book “Churchill’s Wizards, British Genius for Deception 1914-1945” relates that while visiting the headquarters and as “senior officers stood outside with the Prime Minister [Churchill], South African Field Marshal Smuts sniffed the air and said, ‘There are some Germans near us now…I can always tell!’” And lo and behold, just two days later, “two fully armed German paratroopers emerged from a nearby Rhododendron bush, where they had been hiding all along. Had they used their guns and grenades on Churchill [and Smuts], everything would have changed.” It was D-Day + 10 when South African statesman, Field Marshal Jan Smuts, accompanying the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, crossed over to Normandy to observe the action first-hand. Smuts was rather lucky to survive this visit, as both he and Churchill could very well have been killed while visiting Monty’s headquarters at Cruelly. The author Nicholas Rankin, in his book “Churchill’s Wizards, British Genius for Deception 1914-1945” relates that while visiting the headquarters and as “senior officers stood outside with the Prime Minister [Churchill], South African Field Marshal Smuts sniffed the air and said, ‘There are some Germans near us now…I can always tell!’” And lo and behold, just two days later, “two fully armed German paratroopers emerged from a nearby Rhododendron bush, where they had been hiding all along. Had they used their guns and grenades on Churchill [and Smuts], everything would have changed.” 

It is also really amazing when one considers that Smuts, an erstwhile enemy of the British empire, was not only to reconcile himself to his former enemy over the succeeding years, but was also to be greatly respected by two British prime ministers: Lloyd George appointing him head of the war council that was ultimately to bring about the amalgamation of the RFC and the RNAS and the subsequent founding of the Royal Air Force during the closing stages of WWI, while he was also earmarked to have been Churchill’s successor should the British prime minister succumb for whatever reason during the war.

Extracted from “The Southern African History Musings of Ross Dix-Peek” http://peek-01.livejournal.com/100528.html

 

Apr 1, 2018

Royal Air Force Celebrates 100th Aniversary>

One of the founders of the Royal Air Force in 1918 was General Jan Smuts. Watch this lecture delivered by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier at the Royal Aeronautical Society's 100th Aniversary lecture in which Smuts is acknowledged as playing a leading role in the RAF's establishment  on 1 April 1918.

 
 

May 14, 2017

A Kibbutz called Jan Smuts

Did you know that Jan Smuts has a kibbutz named after him because of his support in founding the state of Israel, and that this kibbutz was at the centre of the 1948 Arab Israeli War (or sometimes known as the Israeli War of Independence)?
 
 

April 06, 2017

Gillian Wearing to Create Statue of Suffragist for London’s Parliament Square

Wearing will create a statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett, who led the biggest suffrage organization, the NUWSS, from 1890 to 1919 in the UK, and played a key role in gaining women the right to vote there. The work will be installed alongside nine statues of men—Sir Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Derby, Lord Palmerston, Field Marshal Jan Smuts, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. The statue will be installed in 2018 during the centenary celebrations of women winning the right to vote in the UK.

 
 

April 04, 2017

South Africa's Exceptional History

The feared bloodbath in the transition to majority rule did not occur. As a proportion of the population, political deaths are among the lowest of all the major ethnic or racial conflicts since 1945. As General Jan Smuts famously said in 1949: “The worst, like the best, never happens [in South Africa].” 
 

 March 24, 2017

From Magersfontein to Westminster

South Africa’s Deny’s Reitz wrote ‘Commando’ while in exile in Madagascar after the Boer War, long before Lawrence wrote his version on what is guerrilla warfare. If it was not for the remarkable intervention of  Issy Smuts (wife of Jan Smuts ) the book would probably have probably died in Madagascar with Reitz. But Issy persisted and Reitz was returned to SA and went on to achieve much.
 
 

February 19, 2017

The citizenship question in Zimbabwe

My Grandfather was a prominent South African and served his country in many capacities eventually serving in the South African government led by Jan Smuts through the Second World War, retiring when the Nationalists came to power in 1949. My father grew up in South Africa but moved up to Rhodesia in the early 30’s, travelling to Bulawayo by train – without even a passport. His first and only passport was one issued by Rhodesia and he held that until late in life when he was stripped of his citizenship by the new Zimbabwe Government after Independence. He died stateless after over 60 years working and living in Zimbabwe.
 
 
 February 14, 2017

Parliament's Ghosts: Where Verwoerd And Vorster Still Rule

There are a number of valuable works in the cellar, including portraits by some of the best artists of the day, including an oil painting of General Jan Smuts by Sir William Orpen, done at Versailles after the end of World War I. Next to Smuts are two of his nemeses, the arch-imperialists Leander Starr Jameson, done by Philip de Laszlo, and Cecil John Rhodes, by Edward Roworth.
 
 
 October 28, 2016

South Africa's most haunted: 10 spooky places that'll give you the 'grils'

General Jan Smuts moved into this corrugated iron building - supposedly the British Army's old mess hall, which he'd bought, had dismantled and moved to its present position in Irene, Pretoria - in 1909, and stayed for over 40 years.On his farm known as 'Doornkloof', today it is a museum with several indigenous trees planted by Smuts, who was a keen gardener.
 
 July 25, 2016

Fallen heroes remembered

SAXONWOLD – Military museum remembers heroes that fell a century ago.  The museum, previously known as the South African National War Museum, was opened by Prime Minister Jan Smuts in 1947. In his speech, Jan Smuts said he hoped that the memorial would remind people of the horrors, the loss of life and the devastation of war and that it served as a warning to all people to create a world in which weapons of mass destruction would never be used again.
 
 
 September 26, 2016

Out of Africa come timeless treasures

Among the more curious items on the show is a pair of leather sandals made by Mahatma Gandhi while a prisoner in South Africa as a present for prime minister Jan Smuts. The sandals were given to Smuts on his 70th birthday in 1939
 
 
September 23, 2016

Zuma’s statue must be put in Mbeki’s yard – Ndlozi

Mbeki said: “At the Union Buildings when I used to be there, I don’t know what the situation is now, when you entered through the back, driving from the western side of the building, you have what is called the Smuts lawn. It has got a bust of Jan Smuts, that is why it is called the Smuts lawn.
 
 
December 03, 2016

Feel your stress just fade away at Gooderson Natal Spa

In 1894, ‘Oom Piet’ bought the farm with a little help from his boss, General Jan Smuts. During the Boer War in the 1900s, soldiers used one of the rocks on the far side of the river for target practice.
 
 
 November 11, 2016

Past and present collide in South African art show at British Museum

Another interesting item is a pair of leather sandals made by Mahatma Gandhi and given as a gift to his political adversary Jan Smuts when he returned to India in 1914. Smuts wore the shoes for 25 years and sent this note to Gandhi on the Indian’s 70th birthday: “I have worn these sandals for many a summer … even though I may feel that I am not worthy to stand in the shoes of so great a man. It was my fate to be the antagonist of a man for whom even then I had the highest respect.”

 
 

 

https://samilhistory.com/2018/05/05/churchills-desk/

https://samilhistory.com/2017/08/18/centenary-of-the-smuts-report-the-instrument-which-gave-birth-to-the-royal-air-force/

https://samilhistory.com/2017/04/28/jan-smuts-drafted-the-preamble-to-the-united-nations-charter/

https://samilhistory.com/2017/04/16/witnessing-a-true-statesman-jan-smuts-addressing-the-british-parliament-1942/

https://samilhistory.com/2017/04/04/two-fellow-members-of-the-south-african-legion-churchill-and-smuts/

https://samilhistory.com/2018/06/16/jan-smuts-central-role-in-operation-overlord-d-day-itself/

https://samilhistory.com/2018/04/17/smuts-barracks-berlin/

https://samilhistory.com/2018/04/15/the-day-the-saaf-nearly-killed-jan-smuts/

https://samilhistory.com/2018/04/01/the-royal-air-forces-100th-birthday-and-its-founder-jan-smuts/

https://samilhistory.com/2017/09/17/200-jewish-orphans-saved-the-story-of-jan-smuts-and-issac-ochberg/

https://samilhistory.com/2017/09/14/south-africa-provides-sanctuary-for-polish-refugee-children-during-ww2/