Jan Smuts

The original Jan Smuts statue is just off Government Avenue in front of the National Gallery.

When the controversial statue modelled by Sydney Harpley, A.R.C.A., A.R.B.S., was unveiled in the Cape Town Gardens, in 1964, there was an immediate outcry by all sections of the public. It was decided that a statue more acceptable to the man-in-the-street should be erected.

In front of the Slave lodge in Adderley Street, is the “new” statue of the Statesman, Jan Smuts, unveiled on the 26thJanuary, 1974. Field-Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts was born near Riebeeck West in 1870. A Barrister by profession, he played an active part in the Boer War. He distinguished himself as a Guerrilla leader and took a leading part in the peace negotiations. He became a Cabinet Minister in the Union Government and resumed his role as a soldier in the First World War. After a distinguished career, including becoming a member of the BritishWar Cabinet, he returned to South Africa and, on the death of General Botha, became Prime Minister. A varied political career followed until the Second World War, when he became Prime Minister once again and, was a close collaborator of Winston Churchill. He once again played an important role in the war. One of his major achievements was his contribution to the drafting of the Covenant of the United Nations. He was defeated in the General Elections of 1948 and died in 1950.

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