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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mothering the 'nation': the public life of Isie 'Ouma' Smuts, 1899-1945
Author:Chetty, SuryakanthieISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review (ISSN 1753-2531)
Geographic term:South Africa
gender roles
Anglo-Boer wars
World War I
World War II
About person:Sybella Margaretha Smuts (1870-1954)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17532523.2015.1130189
Abstract:During the South African war at the beginning of the twentieth century, Isie Smuts, wife of Jan Smuts, was an ardent Afrikaner nationalist with strong hostility towards the British - often in contrast to her husband's policy of reconciliation. During the Second World War however her antipathy towards Britain was put aside in favour of the much more powerful fight against Nazism. As President of the Gifts and Comforts Fund, she was very much a 'hands on' person sewing bags to be filled with toiletries, making speeches and touring alongside her husband as he inspected the Union Forces. To white South Africans, particularly the troops stationed outside South Africa's borders, she was an icon. On tours with General Smuts, she interacted with them, representing a link with their homes and mothers. This is emphasised by the title by which she was referred to - 'Ouma', meaning grandmother. The analysis of her role in the South African War as well as in the First and Second World Wars is a means of understanding the way in which motherhood and nationalism were intertwined during a period when the concept of the nation in South Africa was itself in a state of flux. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]