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Jan Christian Smuts in Old Time Radio

A biography of South African Statesman General Smuts.

Jan Christian Smuts

13 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 3 hours, 11 min)
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1 MP3 CD
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4 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from September 14, 1943:

"First Episode"



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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Jan Christian Smuts
(1870 – 1950)

The history of broadcasting in South Africa is much richer than those of us in the Northern Hemisphere tend to realize. In the mid-1890s when Marconi was experimenting with radiotelegraphy, in Cape Town Edward Alfred Jennings was working with primitive carbon microphones which he employed in (partially successful) voice transmissions.

Some OTR fans will be familiar with the offerings of Springbok Radio, South Africa's first commercial radio service which began transmitting from Broadcast House at the corner of Troy and Commissioner Streets in Johannesburg. Broadcast Hose was built in 1934 to house the Associated Scientific & Technical Societies of South Africa (ASTS) Broadcasting Services.

General Smuts

The broadcasts in this collection are part of a syndicated program produced at Broadcast House for an American audience in 1943 profiling the life of South African statesman and hero Jan Christian Smuts. History has left Smuts largely forgotten outside of his native country, and post-Apartheid South Africa is even unsure of how to deal with his legacy.

Smuts was born to traditional Afrikaner farmers in the Cape Colony in 1870, a year before diamonds were discovered at Kimberly and Cecil Rhodes arrived in South Africa. He attended Victoria College at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town and was selected to study at Cambridge in the UK where he read law.

During the Second Boer War, Smuts served under Paul Kruger and demonstrated a mastery of hit-and-run warfare against superior British Forces. Although he would ultimately be defeated, the British seemed to admire his "stop at nothing" style of warfare and he met with Lord Kitchener during the Peace Negotiations. 

During the Great War, Smuts was made a General in the British Army and fought in the East Africa Campaign before being called into the Imperial War Cabinet in London. He was among the few negotiators of the Treaty of Versailles to advocate for limited German Reparations; he also advocated for a strong League of Nations. After Louis Botha died in 1919, Smuts was elected as Prime Minister of South Africa for the first time.

In 1924, Smuts lost the Prime Ministry and spent the next several years in academic pursuits, especially botany. As the Second World War loomed, he was called back into politics and regained the Prime Ministry. In 1941, he was appointed a Field Marshall in the British Army and counted as being on "equal footing" with other Allied leaders, including Churchill, FDR, and de Gaulle.

This brings us to the time period when the shows in this collection were recorded, approximately 1943. Smuts' contributions to South Africa and the World at large were far from over. He would represent his nation at the U.N. Charter talks in San Francisco and is considered one of the Fathers of the United Nations. Smuts was thought to be in the running for the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize (which would ultimately go to Cordell Hull). 

Domestically, Smuts fought for and won disability grants and old-age pensions for "Indians" and "Africans" (albeit, at different compensation levels depending on race). His support for the Fagan Commission Report in 1946, which called for a relaxation of some Apartheid Policies. Smuts again lost the Prime Ministry in 1948, but the same year he was elected as Chancellor of Cambridge University, the first non-British native to hold the position. Jan Smuts suffered a fatal heart attack at his family farm near Pretoria on September 11, 1950.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    13 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00. Total playtime 3 hours, 11 min
    13 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 3 hours, 11 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. 13 shows - total playtime 3 hours 11 minutes
    2. General Smuts 430000 01 First Episode.mp3
    3. General Smuts 430000 02 Leader of Union of SA.mp3
    4. General Smuts 430000 03 Second Class Citizen.mp3
    5. General Smuts 430000 04 Year 1913 Unjust War.mp3
    6. General Smuts 430000 05 Year 1902 End Boer War.mp3
    7. General Smuts 430000 06 Leader of South Africa.mp3
    8. General Smuts 430000 07 Year 1913 Revolution Begins.mp3
    9. General Smuts 430000 08 Year 1914 British Army Office.mp3
    10. General Smuts 430000 09 Man of Religion.mp3
    11. General Smuts 430000 10 Year 1919.mp3
    12. General Smuts 430000 11 Hostility Defeat.mp3
    13. General Smuts 430000 12 9 Years Political Wilderness.mp3
    14. General Smuts 430000 13 We Come End of Story.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    13 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00. Total playtime 3 hours, 11 min
    13 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 3 hours, 11 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. 13 shows - total playtime 3 hours 11 minutes
    2. General Smuts 430000 01 First Episode.mp3
    3. General Smuts 430000 02 Leader of Union of SA.mp3
    4. General Smuts 430000 03 Second Class Citizen.mp3
    5. General Smuts 430000 04 Year 1913 Unjust War.mp3
    6. General Smuts 430000 05 Year 1902 End Boer War.mp3
    7. General Smuts 430000 06 Leader of South Africa.mp3
    8. General Smuts 430000 07 Year 1913 Revolution Begins.mp3
    9. General Smuts 430000 08 Year 1914 British Army Office.mp3
    10. General Smuts 430000 09 Man of Religion.mp3
    11. General Smuts 430000 10 Year 1919.mp3
    12. General Smuts 430000 11 Hostility Defeat.mp3
    13. General Smuts 430000 12 9 Years Political Wilderness.mp3
    14. General Smuts 430000 13 We Come End of Story.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    13 recordings on 4 Audio CDs. Total playtime 3 hours, 11 min
    13 recordings on 4 Audio CDs
    total playtime 3 hours, 11 min

    Jan Christian Smuts Disc A001

    1. General Smuts 430000 01 First Episode
    2. General Smuts 430000 02 Leader of Union of SA
    3. General Smuts 430000 03 Second Class Citizen
    4. General Smuts 430000 04 Year 1913 Unjust War

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jan Christian Smuts Disc A002

    1. General Smuts 430000 05 Year 1902 End Boer War
    2. General Smuts 430000 06 Leader of South Africa
    3. General Smuts 430000 07 Year 1913 Revolution Begins
    4. General Smuts 430000 08 Year 1914 British Army Office

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jan Christian Smuts Disc A003

    1. General Smuts 430000 09 Man of Religion
    2. General Smuts 430000 10 Year 1919
    3. General Smuts 430000 11 Hostility Defeat
    4. General Smuts 430000 12 9 Years Political Wilderness

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jan Christian Smuts Disc A004

    1. General Smuts 430000 13 We Come End of Story

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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