Smuts has fallen: UCT removes General Jan Smuts name from res hall

This decision of the council takes immediate effect in that the name Smuts Hall will be removed from the residence and in the interim, the name Upper Campus Residence will be used until the process of determining a new name is formally concluded.

FILE: University of Cape Town's upper campus. Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - The process of removing the names of colonial and apartheid-era leaders from places and buildings across South Africa continues.

The University of Cape Town Council has approved the removal of Smuts Hall, named after General Jan Smuts, from one of its residences. The name change was approved at their meeting held on Saturday, upon recommendation from the Naming of Buildings Committee.

The name change follows changes in the likes of Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth.

This decision of the council takes immediate effect in that the name Smuts Hall will be removed from the residence and in the interim, the name Upper Campus Residence will be used until the process of determining a new name is formally concluded.

"There are many creative possibilities for reimagining the UCT campus in ways that will build inclusivity and look to the future. Over the coming months, UCT will be holding discussions across the campus community about the new name for the Upper Campus Residence, as well as for other buildings," it said.

UCT said the council’s decision would allow the university to move on from the past while continuing to recognise the significance of its legacy.

“The utter pain and anguish at the time of the decision to remove the Rhodes statue from campus was significant, said UCT Chair of Council Babalwa Ngonyama.

“And yet, we have as a campus moved closer to a community that can speak with one another, can acknowledge the complexities of the past but honour its gifts, can engage each other to come to new names of campus spaces that we feel is more representative of our current values and who we are as an inclusive collective."

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