Jan Smuts

First published 1 Dec 2015

Jan Smuts. In another arena I commented on a new biography of Jan Smuts. I read recently that it was Smuts who inspired Nelson Mandela to enter politics (listening to him at a 1939 Fort Hare graduation ceremony as mentioned in A Long Walk to Freedom) and in turn it was Mandela who inspired Barack Obama (as he stated at Madiba’s funeral). No doubt many have been inspired by Obama, especially in his campaigning and early presidential term days. Quite inspiring that one man can make such a difference to the world more than a century after he came to prominence. Yet as the book reviewer said Smuts himself is possibly destined to be airbrushed out of South African history. Perhaps he will be remembered elsewhere but not here.


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