The University of Cape Town (UCT) says it will start the process of renaming the Smuts Hall residence.
Smuts Hall residence was named after General Jan Smuts, a South African lawyer and statesman who ultimately became deputy prime minister of the Union of South Africa.
During the war, Smuts was Minister of Defence, Finance and Mines. He served for a time in German South West Africa before commanding the Imperial forces in East Africa for ten months in 1916.
UCT management met at the weekend where they deliberated on changing the name of the student residence on the upper campus.
There are many creative possibilities for reimagining the UCT campus in ways that will build inclusivity and look to the future, they said.
“Over the coming months, UCT will be holding discussions across the campus community about the new name for the Upper Campus Residence, as well as for other buildings,” said the university in a statement.
On Monday, a group of Student Representative Council (SRC) members demonstrated outside the institution calling for the name to be changed. They had been campaigning for the name change for three months.
UCT council chairperson Babalwa Ngonyama said this indicated how far the institution had come under the current executive leadership since the time of #RhodesMustFall.
“Council’s decision will take immediate effect and the name Smuts Hall will be removed from the residence and in the interim the name Upper Campus Residence will be used until the process of determining a new name was formally concluded,” said Ngonyama.
Adding that the changing of names should not be seen as merely replacing what we do not like with what we feel resonates well with us or what we feel we relate better to.
“It should go beyond the view that the names we are changing is a source of discomfort or pain for those advocating for change,” she said.