Afrikaner heritage

Afrikaner angst: Cato Pedder goes in search of her ancestors

‘Let me tell you about Jan Smuts,’ my grandfather, a doctor born not far from Johannesburg, would begin. And we, as children, would mutter and glance sideways and sink into our chairs. The story would go something like this: ‘Smuts was a Boer War leader, later feted by the English political establishment and central to international moves towards a liberal world order, a segregationist back home and reviled by the Afrikaner nationalists, who instituted formal apartheid from 1948. He was many things to many people, and his influence in South Africa and internationally was unparalleled in his time.’ My grandfather’s eyes would mist over and we would grunt responses about