Jan Christian Smuts – enigmas and contradictions writ large: Part 1

Humble birth

On 24 May 1870 a man was born in humble circumstances near a little hamlet in the Cape Colony (now the Western Cape Province of South Africa) called Riebeeck West, who in later life was to hob-nob with Kings and Presidents, scientists and soldiers, philosophers and politicians, nobles and peasants, from around the world.

The brilliance and potential of Jan Smuts was recognised by Cecil John Rhodes and Paul Kruger; he fought against the British in the Boer War and came to be seen as a devoted friend of Britain in two subsequent World Wars.

Jan Christian (often familiarly called “Jannie”) Smuts was the second child of Jacobus and Catharina Smuts of the farm Bovenplaats in the Malmesbury district where he grew to the age of 12 before getting any formal education, and that only after his older brother, Michiel, died in 1882.

Etching by Charles McCormach, 1950. Collection Tony McGregor
Etching by Charles McCormach, 1950. Collection Tony McGregor
Jacobus and Catharina Smuts, 1893. Image Wikipedia
Jacobus and Catharina Smuts, 1893. Image Wikipedia
House in which Smuts was born. Image Smuts House Museum
House in which Smuts was born. Image Smuts House Museum
Smuts at Victoria College. Image Smuts House Museum
Smuts at Victoria College. Image Smuts House Museum

Education and love

He was in his very young days a thin, frail child with piercing blue eyes and a reserved, shy and rather silent nature. But at the boarding school to which he was sent he was soon recognised as an outstanding pupil, and he decided to go to Victoria College in Stellenbosch (the forerunner of the University of Stellenbosch).

To gain entrance to the College he had to pass a matriculation examination, including a paper in ancient Greek, which he had not yet been taught due to his late start at school. He set himself the task of learning the Greek needed for the exam and in six days, without a teacher, he not only passed the exam but was top of the list of candidates in that subject.

While at Victoria College two things happened to the shy, stiff young man (he was just 17). First he discovered love, in the form of Miss Sibylla Margaretha Krige, known affectionately as Isie, daughter of a local man, Japie Krige, who was strongly anti-English, as so many Afrikaners were at the time. He would write of her in his diary, some years later: “(She being).. less idealistic than I, but more human, recalled me from my intellectual isolation and made me return to my fellows. Second, his studies of the English Romantic poets and of Walt Whitman, led him to re-assess the stolid Christianity he had inherited from his family. He began to question and to search for answers, and, given his nature, would do so doggedly, until satisfied that he had everything necessary to understand.

This second aspect of his time at Victoria College led him to change his mind from studying to become a pastor, towards studying the law.

In 1891 he took a double-first in literature and science, and then applied for the Ebden Scholarship which was offered by the University of the Cape of Good Hope. He won the scholarship and duly left for Cambridge in September 1891 aboard the Roslyn Castle.

His time at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he studied law, was marked by outstanding academic achievements and a broadening of his interests into areas such as botany (in which he would later make some useful contributions), archaeology, philosophy and poetry.

While at Christ's College Smuts was deeply impressed by the poetry of Walt Whitman and even found the time to write a book about him, entitled Walt Whitman: A Study in the Evolution of Personality. The book was published until 1973, when it was put out by Wayne State University Press.

In December 1894 he sat for the examinations of the Inns of Court, passing them at the head of the list, and was called to the Middle Temple. His college, Christ's, offered him a fellowship in law, but he preferred to return to South Africa, which he did in 1895.

Cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne, published in Punch after Rhodes announced plans for a telegraph line from Cape Town to Cairo. Image from Wikipedia
Cartoon by Edward Linley Sambourne, published in Punch after Rhodes announced plans for a telegraph line from Cape Town to Cairo. Image from Wikipedia
Isie Krige in 1888. Image from Wikipdeia
Isie Krige in 1888. Image from Wikipdeia

Back in South Africa

He was called to the Cape Bar and went into practice as a barrister, but was not particularly successful. He took on some writing work for the Cape Times, especially reporting on the Cape Parliament. This aroused his interest in politics, an interest that would be with him for the rest of his life.

Smuts soon came to the attention of the Cape Premier, Cecil John Rhodes, who hired Smuts as his personal legal advisor.

Smuts was soon overwhelmed by the Rhodes charisma and vision, defending Rhodes against attacks from Afrikaners who saw in Rhodes's imperial ambitions a threat to their own independence. In October 1895 Smuts made a long and impassioned speech in support of Rhodes, earning sharp criticism from many quarters as a result. Smuts was not moved by the criticism.

What did move him was his “betrayal” by Rhodes who at the end of 1895 had connived at and funded the raid into Kruger's Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) by forces under the command of Leander Starr Jameson, the infamous Jameson Raid, which was the spark to the tinder of Anglo-Boer relations. Smuts was absolutely devastated by the news of the raid. He had placed much hope on his relationship with Rhodes, hope that his careers in the law and politics would soar with Rhodes's backing had turned to dust. Rhodes, who had personally predicted great things for him, had let Smuts down in the worst possible way – Rhodes had done precisely what Smuts had with such passion said he would not do, plot against the ZAR and Afrikaners generally.

Smuts packed up his chambers in Cape Town and decamped to Johannesburg, the dusty, bustling centre of the burgeoning gold mining industry, in August 1896.

In April 1897 he married Isie Krige and they settled together in Johannesburg. Neither of them liked the overgrown mining camp and Smuts's law firm was not prospering when in June 1898 Kruger in his often autocratic way fired the Chief Justice of the ZAR, John Gilbert Kotzé, because of an unfavourable judgement. Smuts took it upon himself to write a legal opinion in favour of Kruger, who had been heavily criticised in legal circle for his action.

Kruger was already aware of the brilliant young legal mind from the Cape and on 28 June Smuts was given second-class citizenship of the ZAR and on the same day Kruger appointed him State Attorney.

Smuts had achieved an amazing turnaround - from enthusiastic supporter of Rhodes and the imperial vision to becoming the right-hand man of Rhodes's implacable enemy and ardent opponent of the imperial dream, Kruger.

Smuts and his horse "Charlie" during the Boer War. Photo Smuts House Museum
Smuts and his horse "Charlie" during the Boer War. Photo Smuts House Museum
Boer farmhouse being burnt by the British. Image from "The Boer War" by David Smurthwaite (Hamlyn, 1999)
Boer farmhouse being burnt by the British. Image from "The Boer War" by David Smurthwaite (Hamlyn, 1999)
A Boer family being loaded onto wagons for transport to a concentration camp.  Image from "The Boer War" by David Smurthwaite (Hamlyn, 1999)
A Boer family being loaded onto wagons for transport to a concentration camp. Image from "The Boer War" by David Smurthwaite (Hamlyn, 1999)
Melrose Houe in Pretoria where the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in May 1902. Photo Tony McGregor
Melrose Houe in Pretoria where the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in May 1902. Photo Tony McGregor

The Anglo-Boer War

When this war broke out in October 1899 Smuts was at first kept in Pretoria as Kruger's right hand man, applying his considerable energy to organising the Boer war effort on several fronts, including the diplomatic one.

Eventually, when Pretoria fell to the British forces in June 1900 the ZAR government was transferred to Machadodorp in the then Eastern Transvaal, now Mpumalanga Province, and Smuts raised an army of 400 to 500 men and rode off to conduct guerrilla raids on British supply columns.

Smuts rode into battle with Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (probably in the original German) and a Greek New Testament in his saddle-bag. This is an early evidence of the strange disconnect between his high intellectual leanings and the almost crude practical actions of the man: the commando which he led was responsible for the massacre in 1901 of some 100 blacks at the mission station of Modderfontein, not the last time his name would be associated with a massacre of blacks. Canon Farmer, the missionary at Modderfontein, wrote, “I should be sorry to say anything that is unfair about the Boers. They look upon the Kaffirs (sic) as dogs & the killing of them as hardly a crime ...”

The enigma of how a person with such a broad mind and depth of culture can participate in such brutality is an enduring issue.

When the Boers in March-April 1902 realised that continuing the fight was no longer worth the cost in death and destruction, Smuts was one of the six-man delegation that set out by train for Pretoria and negotiations with Milner in Melrose House.

Smuts took a leading role for the Boer side in these negotiations, even to the extent of having a private chat with Milner, the High Commissioner, and Kitchener, the Commander of the British forces. The three drew up a preamble to a peace agreement but this was later rejected by General De Wet on behalf of the president of the Orange Free State.

Smuts and the Attorney General of the Cape, Sir Richard Solomon, together with J.B.M Hertzog and Milner, then drafted the agreement which was finally signed at Melrose House.

Isie and Smuts with their daughter Santa. Image Smuts House Museum
Isie and Smuts with their daughter Santa. Image Smuts House Museum

Peace to Union

No sooner had the dust and smoke of war started to settle and Smuts was involved in politics again. He helped draft a new constitution for the Transvaal Colony, as the ZAR had now become, and in the elections of 1906 won the Wonderboom seat. He was almost immediately invited into the Cabinet formed by his war-time comrade General Louis Botha and given the portfolios of Colonial Secretary and Education Secretary.

As Colonial Secretary he had to negotiate with the leader of the Indian community, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Smuts was, however, still strongly in favour of a united South Africa and pushed hard for the formation of the National Convention to work out the process of unification and the shape of a future union of the four colonies in South Africa.

The National Convention sat from October 1908 to the early part of 1909, when all the delegates accepted Smuts's draft constitution. Smuts and Botha then travelled to London to present the draft to the British Parliament, which ratified the constitution quickly, and the Union of South Africa came into being on 31 May 1910, eight years to the day after the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging.

Louis Botha was appointed Prime Minister and Smuts his deputy.

Botha (left) and Smuts in 1917. Image Smust House Museum
Botha (left) and Smuts in 1917. Image Smust House Museum
From left: Earl Haig, Smuts, General Sir Henry Timson Lukin during World War I. Photo Smuts House Museum
From left: Earl Haig, Smuts, General Sir Henry Timson Lukin during World War I. Photo Smuts House Museum

Problems in the young union

n 1913 this government passed the infamous Natives' Land Act which effectively restricted ownership of land by blacks to about 7% of the land in the country, the balance being open for ownership by whites only. The foundation of territorial segregation was laid.

Also in 1913 occurred one of those instances which showed the ruthless side of Smuts, the “Grey Steel” (Grey Steel is the title of a 1939 biography of Smuts by H.C. Armstrong) man who would seemingly without compunction deal death to opponents.

A mine management decision to cap wages of less skilled workers led to a strike which quickly turned violent. This needs to be seen against the background of what was termed back then the “poor white” problem.

As a result of the large scale and widespread destruction of Boer farms (according to one estimate about 30000 farmsteads were destroyed, and about 20 villages) during the Boer War thousands of Afrikaners were left destitute, with few skills that were relevant in the rapidly-modernising South African economy. They migrated in large numbers to the growing industrial towns of the Witwatersrand where they tended to congregate in shack settlements.

Parliament appointed a Select Committee on European Employment and Labour Conditions which reported that “These are people who have sunk into a demoralising and corrupting intercourse with non-Europeans with evil effects on both sections of the population.”

As Robert Davies (incidentally, he is now the Minister of Trade and Industry in the Cabinet of President Jacob Zuma) wrote in his book Capital, State and White Labour in South Africa 1900 – 1960 (The Harvester Press, 1979): “... in some cases unemployed whites and Africans lived together in the same shanties, and there were even cases of whites begging food from Africans, or performing odd jobs for Africans in return for food and shelter.”

On 14 July 1913 a mass meeting of white mine workers was organised for which Smuts at the last minute refused permission. The meeting went ahead anyway and afterwards a large crowd gathered outside of the Rand Club in Johannesburg, the favourite gathering place of the mining magnates.

Smuts, as Minister of Defence, sent in troops to control the strikers who had turned violent. The strikers refused to disperse when ordered to do so by the police, who then opened fire, killing 51 strikers.

When the government nationalised the railways in early 1914 a general strike was called, to which Smuts responded by deporting, totally without legal sanction, nine of the leaders. He simply had them taken from the cells where they were being held, taken to Durban where they were put aboard the steamship Umgeni, bound for London.

At least in part the reaction of Smuts and the ruling party can be explained by their perception of the growing relationship between the “poor whites” and the blacks, a relationship which was seen as, in Davies' words, “a factor undermining the efficacy of the ideology of racism as a means of exerting social control over Africans.”

In a speech in London in 1917, when Smuts was a member of the Imperial War Cabinet, he revealed the underlying racism of his outlook: “Natives [this was the term used generally by whites for blacks at the time] have the simplest minds, understand only the simplest ideas or ideals, and are almost animal-like in the simplicity of their minds and ways.”

Later in the speech he was to say, “To apply the same institutions on an equal basis to white and black alike does not lead to the best results, and so a practice has grown up in South Africa of creating parallel institutions — giving the natives their own separate institutions on parallel lines with institutions for whites.”

This from the same mind which would later produce a passage in his monumental book Holism and Evolution (first edition 1924; now published by N & S Press, 1987): "For we are indeed one with Nature; her genetic fibres run through all our being; our physical organs connect us with millions of years of her history; our minds are full of immemorial paths of pre-human experience. Our ear for music, our eye for art carry us back to the early beginnings of animal life on this globe."

One of the enigmas of Jan Smuts!

Jpie Fourie. Image Wikipedia
Jpie Fourie. Image Wikipedia
Enoch Mgijima. Image from SA History.org
Enoch Mgijima. Image from SA History.org
"The great Prophet Enoch Mgijima being arrested after the massacre which was recorded in history." From "Let's Praise" magazine.
"The great Prophet Enoch Mgijima being arrested after the massacre which was recorded in history." From "Let's Praise" magazine.
Bodies of the dead at Bullhoek. From "Let's Praise" magazine.
Bodies of the dead at Bullhoek. From "Let's Praise" magazine.
Workers protesting during the Rand Rebellion.. Image from SA History.org
Workers protesting during the Rand Rebellion.. Image from SA History.org
The picture of Market Square in Fordsburg, taken on 14 March after government forces had captured it, shows some of the damage done. In the second half of March, the government succeeded in suppressing the unrest. Image from http://newhistory.co.za/
The picture of Market Square in Fordsburg, taken on 14 March after government forces had captured it, shows some of the damage done. In the second half of March, the government succeeded in suppressing the unrest. Image from http://newhistory.co.za/

After World War I

In 1914 when Botha, in support of the British war effort, invaded German West Africa (now Namibia) the decision was bitterly opposed by many of the old Boer generals and their followers.

One member of the South African Defence Force, who had previously fought on the Boer side in the Boer War, Jopie Fourie, joined in a rebellion against the South African Government. He was captured near Rustenburg in the then western Transvaal (now part of North west Province) on 16 December 1914, court martialled and executed by firing squad on 20 December. He instantly achieved martyr status among Afrikaners of the anti-Smuts camp.

At the end of the “War to end all wars” in 1918 Smuts attended the Peace Conference in Paris, where he argued strenuously, though unsuccessfully, for a less punitive settlement with Germany, arguing presciently that the terms eventually forced on Germany would breed resentment and hatred and would be destructive of peace.

When Botha died in 1919 Smuts became Prime Minister and was very soon embroiled in conflict again.

The first conflict arose out of a prophecy of the end of the world made towards the end of 1919 by a preacher in the Eastern Cape, Enoch Mgijima. Mgijima told his numerous followers that the world would end in 1920 and that they should go to a place called Ntabelanga, near Bullhoek in the district of Queenstown.

About 3000 of his followers squatted there on government land without permission and refused to budge in spite of efforts by local officials to negotiate with them. Evnetually a small army of 993 policement and 35 officer was assembled at Queenstown and on 24 May 1921 the 500 followers of Mgijima, called “Israelites”, were surrounded and the order was given to shoot. The Israelites, being armed only with sticks and knobkieries, were mowed down. About 163 were killed, 129 wounded and 113 taken prisoner.

This incident has ever since been known as the "Bullhoek Massacre" and blame for it is usually laid at the feet of Smuts.

The following year another conflict between miners and the mine magnates began, again precipitated by the latter's decision in January 1922 to reduce the wages of miners.

Smuts tried to negotiate but the miners, remembering 1913 and 1914, did not trust him at all. Smuts then decided that the Government should remain neutral in the struggle: "The Government will remain severely impartial. We will make a ring round you disputants and let you fight it out."

The Union Federation representing the miners then began to set up a militia, convinced that the opposition party in Parliament, led by former Boer General J.B.M. Hertzog would come to their aid.

The Federation asked for a round table conference to discuss the issue as miners all over the Witwatersrand began to agitate, refusing to work. The answer of the Chamber of Mines was rough: "We will waste no more time . .. trying to convince people of your mental calibre and we see no reason why we should discuss our business with representatives of slaughtermen and tramwaymen."

The revolt spread and Johannesburg was in a panic. Smuts came poste haste from Cape Town ad took charge of the situation. He ordered the army to attack and for planes to bomb rebel positions.

The rebellion was smashed and about 200 miners were killed. It was typical Smuts strong-arm tactics and it cost him the election of 1924.

Once he was no longer the Prime Minister Smuts set about writing the book that had been germinating in his mind for some time – Holism and Evolution, - dealing with “some of the problems which fall within the debateable borderland between Science and Philosophy.”

Part 2 ...

Smuts looms very large over South African history, from the Boer War to the aftermath of the Second World War.

In this first part I have covered his enigmatic life up to the end of his first stint as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, a country whose character he had a major role in shaping.

In Part 2 I write about his emergence onto the world stage during the Second World War and his defeat in the 1948 elections.

Copyright Notice

The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Tony McGregor 2011

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Comments 52 comments

jandee 5 years ago

Hello Tony,

only half way through and blood is boiling ! many lessons to be learned and remembered i.e never have heroes,snides will out in the end,he became as low as he thought Rhodes to be.

enjoying very much,thanks from jandee


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Too bad,Smuts is not a one of story,thanks for the biography Tony.;)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Maxine - he does that to me too! I have this thing about him, reading Holism and Evolution is so interesting and at times rises to real greatness. And then his actions - well, let's just say he was great at war!

Thanks for sommenting and please continue to read!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Bryan - appreciate your comment, and indeed it is too bad!

Love and peace

Tony


Jacko 5 years ago

Plenty of blood on the hands of this little fascist bastard! This man should be consigned to the dustbin of history ,he is undeserving of a good writers labour.


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello Tony, too many like him. He was an enigma...

Thanks for very interesting write,m


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

@ Tony. Lovely to read about Jan Smuts. My late mother was a great fan of his. He was known as a Statesman rather than a politician.

How about doing a write up on Sir De Viliers Graaf? I remember him coming to our home one day. Both my parents were very active in politics. My late mother was a founder member of the Black Sash.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Thanks, Tony for share about biography of Jan Christian Smuts. I learn much from you. I love something about history. Vote up. Love and peace...

Prasetio


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

We have had so many Smuts. We never run out of them. Great post Tony. I await the next installment. God bless brother.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Jannie Smuts was a remarkable man. As far as I know he was the first in the world to coin (the word) and define ‘Holism’. I have not yet read the book and will buy it straight away. I love history, Tony, so I enjoyed this biography of Jannie Smuts tremendously.

By the way - I have a sister named Santa and somehow I was under the impression it was a name coined in the fifties to soften the archaic Susanna. So now I know it was already a name in the late 1800’s.

Weereens baie dankie vir hierdie kosbare biografie, Tony. I’ve bookmarked this and saluted Smuts all over your buttons. Mooi loop en geniet die naweek.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Tony, this , like all of your writing is very interesting. I can't help but wonder how a man can start out believing in goodness, then be such a Devil. How can anyone believe they are superior to another? Reading some of the words you wrote depicting him, made me furious. I await your next installment.

Cheers


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

These people keep coming out of the woodwork, where common brutality is justified for a, so called, higher cause. I'll await the next installment with interest. Cheers


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

Tony, I'm not liking this Smuts character so far, and I can't imagine that I will like him anymore in Pt II. I look forward to reading it nevertheless. You really put a lot of work into this. Thanks Tony.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

I was captivated by your description of this man, until the point at which he is shown to hold human life so cheap. After that point, he ceased to be human for me...


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Jacko - thanks for stopping by. I'm not sure that "fascist" is an appropriate label for Smuts, considering that he expended a great deal of his energy fighting fascism! "Plenty of blood" though is unfortunately true. Even more unfortunately, the list of people with blood on their hands is far too long.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Maxine - indeed, far too many like him He was an enigma and I guess that's why he is still interesting.

Thanks for stopping by again.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Sophia - my parents were also very much fans of Smuts. I think his role during the Second World War (which I am covering in my next Hub about him) really was decisive for many people and tended to make his rather obvious faults fade into the background. After all, the Allies were fighting a life-and-death struggle and Smust was playing an important part in that struggle so everything else about the man was rather ingnored.

It is only with the aid of 20/20 hindsight that we see the other side of the man - a lot of contradictions and enigmas.

Good to know that your mother was a Black Sash founder - my mother also belonged.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Prasetio, my good friend! Thanks for the kind words and I'm so glad you enjoyed the read!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Micky my brotherman! Indeed, sadly we never do run out of them!

Thanks for stopping by, my good friend.

Love and peace

Tony


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

Interesting history. I am looking forward to Part 2.


lionel1 profile image

lionel1 5 years ago

Another amazing hub and I will definitely be looking forward to part two, but thank you very much for the first part, you are truly a man of steel.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Martie - weereens baie dankie! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment. He was remarkable, no doubt about that. Hy was nie verniet genoem "Slim Jannie" nie!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Ruby - as I wrote, a man of contradictions and an enigma! I guess like most of us there were blind spots, things about himself he didn't see or wouldn't acknowledge.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Regardless of whether I like this man or not - he certainly pulled himself up by the bootstraps, being denied education till the age of 12 & then learning Greek in a week so he could pass the entrance exam for university. Sounds like his course in life was a twisted path at times but he seemed never to spare the effort needed to move along it. I have sort of "come in in the middle of the show" on his story, though, so I'm speaking almost off the top of my head. It is the first I ever even heard of the man. I apologize for falling behind in my hub-following. I will try to play catchup.

In any case you do a remarkable job of chronicling history and you're introducing, (I feel sure I'm not alone in it) - we westerners to a culture of which we've had very little knowledge. And you do it with great style and fervor! Thanks!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

I watched a documentary on Sandra Laing last night. It would be cool if you did a hub on her!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Tony, this is all new history to me and I find myself wondering what shapes men to let go of logic in their assessments of others. Wouldn't it make more sense to consider two leggeds equal? Or to hesitate before firing on and killing 51 miners? I am reminded of some of the Colorado massacres that occurred in my state; the killings of Utes and also another of miners. It is so counter-intuitive, to approach problems in such a way. I don't know. I am rambling. Thanks for helping me think about these things from another perspective... enigmatic versus sadistic, I suppose.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Keith - thanks so much for stopping by. It is a factor of the modern age I think. Camus said it well: "...slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or the taste for the superhuman, cripple judgement."

I think we should not be surprised, just saddened, perhaps.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Kim - I think he was brilliant but with, like all of us, I guess, some blind spots. I admire his mind, but somehow his actions leave a lot to be desired!

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Dimitris - yes, it is very difficult to reconcile the high mind and the sometimes very low deeds. The myth or loegend has for so long overshadowed us that we are often blinded to the reality of the man.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Ingenira - thanks for stopping by. Part 2 coming up soon!

Thanks for reading.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Lionel - thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment. Not sure about the "man of steel" thing, LOL!

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Nellieanna - thanks so much for the great comment. Glad you enjoyed this one. Follow-up coming soon!

I kow what you mean about catching up with comments - it takes a lot of time.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Cindy - I'm on it already! Thanks for the idea, I like it very much. Her story is certainly worth a Hub!

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Barbara - he was an enigma for sure. I don't know how to reconcile - or even if I want to - the obvious contradictions. I guess we are all like that to one degree or another. The next part might throw a little light!

Thanks for stopping by

Hugs, love and peace

Tony


Ryan 5 years ago

Ou Baas Jannie was an incredible statesman. As described by Churchill: "He fought for his country, he thought for the world". The founder of the League of Nations ( United nations). The founder of SANDF and the RAF. The only man to negotiate the peace treaties in BOTH the WW1 and WW2. Described by Einstein as one of only 7 people in the world who truly understand relativity. Yes, he ruled by with the iron fist, but he was decisive and was prepared to make sacrifes for the greater good of the entire globe, not just his country.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Ryan - thanks for stopping by and leaving this great comment. I am planning to cover the things you mention in the next part, thanks for the reminder!

Love and peace

Tony


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Tony !! Behave ! He was a murdering racist ! One hundred blacks is for me racist ! Then the miners ! MMMMM


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Ha ha Maxine! I agree - let's see what comes out in the next installment! He was a man of contradictions and enigmas, after all!

Love and peace

Tony


Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

You have the ability sir, to turn boring history into well crafted tales! Brilliant is all I can say about your presentation. On an aside, somehow, somewhere along the line I'm kinda related to Oom Jannie. Something to do with Malmesbury de Vrieses' and Cuttings. The Bullhoek massacre was also totally new to me, and Oom Jannie's part in it until we did the Let's Praise website.

Never mind that, I wish you'd been my history teacher in Matric, it would have been so much more fun!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Tony - thank you, sir, for your very kind words, which I very much appreciate. How interesting the family connection.

Teaching I'm not sure about - but fun I can relate to! LOL!

Thanks for stopping by, friend. And how are things in good old EL? I miss the place rather.

Love and peace

Tony


Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

Slummies is good Tony, but this summer heat is not conducive to much work, not with the beaches and two gruelling weekends ahead. If you ever find yourself heading this way, I do pour a mean glass of Coke!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Tony - I will definitely take you up on the offer, thanks! I would love to go down to Slummies sometime - lots of people to see and things to do there!

Love and peace

Tony


Multiman 5 years ago

Great Biography, interesting i know so little about South African history.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Ian - thanks for stopping by. Glad you found it interesting.

Love and peace

Tony


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Hello Tony- Though inverted order- I've acquired the knowledge of the two part story. This is a great digest of a complex history which fairly presents the man Smuts in the context of South Africa's history. Thank you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Gerry - thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you found this interesting.

Love and peace

Tony


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Tony: I'm appalled at reading of the reduction of your author score without notice or explanation. You are prolific and contribute real content to each and every Hub that you publish and I appreciate your scholarship.

Scholarship has nothing whatsoever to do with grades.

Socrates was the father of reason and he was compelled to drink a cup of hemlock. A drop in score is relative. Your friends and their approval and appreciation are priceless. Stop your efforts to raise a meaningless score. Expectation will lead to disappointment.

I read and write about the things which I find interesting. Your "interesting" score is 110%. Your critics measure nothing in the light of honest appraisal. I can assure you that there is not a single person associated with Hub Pages who has read your entire body of work. Every artist and scholar has a body of work which defines them. I would humbly suggest that you reread your own Hub articles in the light of day and download them all safely to your hard drive. You have written a book - a textbook - worthy of publication. Because it is interactive (with music and videos and photos) it is different than the usual book or ebook. Create your own website and optimize it with 100% revenue for yourself. Do not pass quietly into the night. Cheers.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Gerry - thanks so much for your expression of support. I really and deeply appreciate it! I have no intention of quietly (or loudly, for that matter!) into the night.

I will continue to write here as I have found the format and tools conducive. Maybe my score will recover.

Once again, many thanks.

Love and peace

Tony


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Good morning Tony. Then we will stay. I still believe that each of your pages can be transferred and set up as a Hub Book where all of your hard work is preserved if HUB Pages goes down. It is a possibility. Cheers.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks for the advice, Gerry - will certainly do that. I appreciate your concern.

Love and peace

Tony


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

Tony, I was shocked when I saw how your hub score had dropped. You are a very interesting writer, and I always learn from you - not only from your own hubs but also from the comments you make on the hubs of others.

I agree with you that Smuts was an enigma. How can such a brilliant man be so broad-minded and so narrow at the same time? A great history lesson!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

MysteryLady - thanks so much for stopping by. As you can no doubt see my score has gone back up again, thankfully! It was a great shock to me too. Thanks for your concern.

Thanks also for the kind words which I really appreciate.

Love and peace

Tony

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