Birthplace of General Smuts, Ongegund, Malmesbury District






Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: Birthplace of General J. C. Smuts, Riebeek West About six kilometres due north of Riebeek West, along the road to Moorreesburg, there is a large cement factory. Right in this industrial development, at the edge of a deep quarry, stands a long, narrow house with a thatched roof, the simple dwelling in which one of South Afric⁡_x0019_s greatest statesmen, Jan Christiaan Smuts, was born on 24th May, 1870.
This little house is all that remains of the farmstead of the farm Ongegund, or Boplaas as it was also called. Ongegund was the farm of the Smuts family. Michiel Nicolaas Smuts, who was the great-grandfather of General Smuts, bought it in 1815. It was .inherited by his five sons; one of them, also named Michiel Nicolaas, was the general’s grandfather; his son Jacobus Abraham was the general’s father. The modest house was probably built by Jacobus Abraham; it is remarkably true to its period—the little sitting room small bedrooms and the kitchen with its baking oven. General Smuts lived until the age of six when his father bought the farm Klipfontein and went to live there.
A cement company acquired the farm some twenty years ago and began to exploit the mineral deposits. The land round the house lost its farming character. An extensive quarry now reaches almost up to the cottage, but the company has carefully preserved the house and with their co-operation maintenance and repair work has been carried out from time to time. The house is now protected by a surrounding wall and it has been placed under proper supervision. A few interesting photographs have been placed in the house and it is hoped in time to furnish it with suitable furniture.
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