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White Masculinity: Jan Smuts, Race and the South African War (BAR)

In his lifetime, Jan Christiaan Smuts (1870–1950) was not only widely recognised as an exceptional scholar, soldier and scientist, but was also South Africa’s outstanding white statesman. For all his international achievements, however, he was incapable of anything but the rankest opportunism in relation to South Africa’s racial problems. In her Raleigh Lecture delivered on 2 November 2000, Professor Shula Marks FBA addressed this contradiction, ascribing his liberal internationalism at least in part to the influence of a group of remarkable radical and feminist women. In this extract, she considers the roots of Smuts’s powerful racial fears.

• Shula Marks

The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Published in Review, July-December 2000.