08/23/2016 - 00:00

Heritage Today programme for 23rd August  at 10h45. Jan C Smuts.   A conversation about  history , heritage and memory ; Gail Nattrass  in conversation with Kathy Munro.
Jan Christian Smuts, 1870-1950, was once one of South Africa’s most celebrated leaders. He was admired, criticised, and stirred controversy even in his own life time, but nevertheless he was a man who put South Africa on to the world stage. Smuts and his United Party  were defeated in the 1948 election and Malan and the National Party came to power and with this change in circumstances, came the adoption of grand apartheid. Smuts died in 1950 and his legacy while noted, all too quickly passed into distant history and today Smuts is regarded rather disparagingly and dismissively by some, as  a colonial leader. The nuances in political positioning have quickly been forgotten.
Following the rainbow revolution of Mandela and the ANC there has been little mention of Smuts. As time passes, there has been a recent revival of interest in Smuts and his legacy. New comparisons are now being probed between recent leaders and their accomplishments and Smuts. Gail Nattrass, historian and author of a book on Smuts and the Boer War, meets  Kathy Munro of the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation to tease out some of these comparisons and to converse about  the legacy of Smuts, his relevance today and the challenge of changing historical interpretations. Gail’s extensive research leads her to believe that  Smuts  should still be celebrated because within the context of his time, he had values relevant for all time: a work ethic second to none, an abhorrence of cronyism and corruption, and a belief in the basic good in all people. Smuts too was a man who changed his loyalties and political positioning in the interest of forging a South African identity. Of course there were political flaws, racial blind spots and  human frailties. but In a society which needs role models perhaps more than ever at this time, we can still learn much from Smuts.
Aspects of the career and complex character of this brilliant but enigmatic man, his arrogance as well as his humility, his lack of interest in material things, and his often strange liaisons and relationships with both men and women, will be discussed. This conversation is a  prelude to the lecture Gail will be delivering In Johannesburg for DARTS later in August, a treat not to be missed as Gail’s lecture will include pictures and video clips.
HERITAGE TODAY on Tuesday 23rd  August 2016 - From 10h45 to 11h15

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 11:42

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