Jan Smuts Museum
Location: Riebeek West
The house where Jan Christiaan Smuts was born on 24 May 1870 seems to have been an outhouse on the family farm Bovenplaats. This was converted to a home, at the time of his parents' marriage in 1866.
In the early 1950s the farm was acquired by PPC Cement and there is now an extensive quarry which reaches almost up to the cottage, which is now protected by a surrounding wall. In 1984 the building was restored by Gawie Fagan of Gabriel Fagan Architects.
An outer barn has been made into a small museum to his life whilst the building serves as a recreation of a household as it would have been during his youth.
History of Jan Smuts:
Jan Christiaan Smuts was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher. In addition to holding various cabinet posts, he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 until 1924 and from 1939 until 1948. Although Smuts had originally advocated racial segregation and opposed the enfranchisement of black Africans, his views changed and he backed the Fagan Commission's findings that complete segregation was impossible. Smuts subsequently lost the 1948 election to hard-line Afrikaners who created apartheid. 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 Boer War for the Transvaal. During the First World War, he led the armies of South Africa against Germany, capturing German South-West Africa and commanding the British Army in East Africa. From 1917 to 1919, he was also one of the members of the British Imperial War Cabinet and he was instrumental in the founding of what became the Royal Air Force (RAF). He became a field marshal in the British Army in 1941, and served in the Imperial War Cabinet under Winston Churchill. He was the only man to sign both of the peace treaties ending the First and Second World Wars.
Tel: +27 (0) 22 461 8000
Tel: +27 (0) 83 348 2587
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 17h00
WikipediA Link to information about Jan Christiaan Smuts
Information from WikipediA.