The University of Cape Town’s oldest men’s residence will no longer be known as Smuts Hall after the University Council decided to change its name.
As of Saturday, Smuts Hall was renamed Upper Campus Residence. as a placeholder name until a new name is determined.
This is the second name change in the 93-year history of the residence. After it was built in 1928, it was known as the men’s residence.
According to the UCT website, the residence was named after Jan Smuts, Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa between 1919 and 1924 and again between 1950. renamed in 1939 and 1948 when his United Party lost power to the nationalist Herenigde Nasionale Party der Afrikaner.
Smuts was also Vice Chancellor of the UCT from 1936 until his death in 1950.
Smuts’ legacy is controversial as his government oversaw British colonialism in South Africa and the racial segregation laws that some historians have termed “petty apartheid” to distinguish them from the National Party’s official apartheid policies.
< p> His policies at home are seen by some as contradicting his involvement in drafting the UN Charter, which recognizes universal human rights for people of all races.
In a newsletter posted on Monday at UCT Website was released, Council Chairman Babalwa Ngonyama said during a meeting on Saturday the council approved a recommendation designating the Buildings Commission that the name of Smuts Hall be changed / p>
“This decision is effective immediately with the removal of the Smuts Hall name from the residence and the use of the Upper Campus Residence name in the meantime until the process of determining a new name is formally completed,” said them.
“The Council’s decision will allow UCT to capitalize on the past while recognizing the importance of our heritage. There are many creative ways to redesign the UCT campus in a way that creates inclusiveness and looks to the future. ”
Ngonyama said that in the coming months, UCT will see discussions across the university community about one will result in new names for the residence and other buildings.
“As much as this is part of the transformation effort” at UCT, any name change process can be emotional, both for those requesting name replacement for those who wish it was kept, “she said.
” The renaming of Smuts Hall should provide a moment when we look at the name change process from a completely different angle.
< p> “The name change should not be seen as a mere replacement of what we do not like, with what we think is well received or with which we can better identify. It should go beyond the view that the name we are changing is a source of discomfort or pain to those who advocate change. Nor should it be viewed as an act of diminishing, discarding, or deviating from history by those who wish the status quo to be maintained.
“It should be seen as an opportunity for us to find a new one To tread the path together to create an environment of inclusivity and common identity on campus – an environment in which all members of the campus community feel represented and about the buildings, rooms and symbols think about the campus and identify with them. ”
Ngonyama said the name changes are an indication of how far UCT has come since the # RhodesMustFall protests that saw a statue of Cecil John Rhodes, the chief architect of Victorian-era British colonialism in southern Africa , was removed.
“The utter pain and agony at the time of the decision to remove the Rhodes statue from campus was considerable. And yet, as a campus, we have come closer to a community that can talk to one another, recognize the complexities of the past, but appreciate its gifts, can engage each other to find new names of campus spaces that we believe are more representative of our values and who we are as an integrative collective. “