In recent years interest in Jan Christiaan Smuts’ enigmatic life and achievements has grown considerably. As an international statesman he was feted all over the world. He was given numerous honorary degrees, at a time when universities were few. He played crucial roles within the British Government during World Wars I and II, and for his contribution was made a freeman of many leading cities in Britain, including London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff. His closeness to the British Government, and to Churchill, in particular, led to his portrayal by some as a betrayer of Afrikaans. He appeared to see no contradiction in his championing of freedom and human rights on the international stage, and the subjection which ‘native’ peoples in South Africa endured. He acquired a reputation for ruthlessness and lack of empathy at home and many of the policies he promoted have been criticized for opening the way for apartheid. He constantly struggled and agonized over the ‘native’ problem in South Africa. Suggested themes might be his championing of The League of Nations, The Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations; Smuts as military strategist; Smuts and the championing of small nations; Afrikaaner attitudes to Smuts; Smuts as Prime Minister; Smuts and the ‘Native Problem’; and, his intellectual achievements. Themes will not be limited to those suggested, and all proposals for papers will be welcomed. It is hoped that a collection of papers will be published and edited by David Boucher and Bongani Ngqulunga.
Please send a proposed title and abstract, of no more than 250 words, by 15 April, 2023 to David Boucher Boucherde@cardiff.ac.uk
You may expect a speedy decision.