September SAIIA Members’ Newsletter: Jan Smuts

Shortly before the 60th anniversary of Smuts’ death SAIIA was privileged to receive for its archives a small collection of his correspondence with the South African chargé d’affaires in Athens, Colonel George Bower.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Death of General Jan Christiaan Smuts

The documentation covers the period between 1947 and 1954 and includes a proposal from Bower to Smuts suggesting that he should advise King Paul on the formation of the first post-war Greek government. Also included are items of correspondence from Mrs Issie “Ouma” Smuts and his son, Japie, and son-in-law, Denis McIldowie. The donor is Col Bower’s son, Pete Bower.

A recent book on Smuts by Antony Lentin, a former professor of History at the Open University in Britain and a practising barrister, brings into focus the important, international role played by South Africa through the person of Jan Smuts during the first four decades of the Union of South Africa. It is part of a series of twenty books on the “Makers of the Modern World” [published by Haus Histories].

SAIIA’s head office is located in Jan Smuts House, constructed on the campus of Wits University in 1960 in recognition of General Smuts’ role as an international statesman, military leader and philosopher.

17 Sep 2010