A SUBMISSION by the UCT Student Representative Council (SRC) to have the Smuts Hall men’s residence renamed has been forwarded to the university council to give it the nod.
Students made the proposal last month supported by residence stakeholders for a change to “a more suitable name be found”.
Founded on January 1, 1928, the men’s residence took Smuts’s name after his death in 1950.
Smuts, UCT's chancellor, was also the former prime minister of South Africa.
Buildings that have been recently changed include the JP Duminy residence, renamed to Philip Kgosana residence after the liberation Struggle stalwart; and the Health Sciences Library to Bongani Mayosi Health Sciences Library in honour of the scholar.
The SRC residences and housing officer Ukhanyo Mdakane said part of transformation was addressing the colonial, imperialist and racist legacy of Smuts that remained unchallenged.
“Much contention has been raised around the naming and character of Smuts Hall. One must note that in many ways, the title of a place contributes to the character of its inhabitants.This has seen itself made manifest in the sort of students that are usually found in Smuts Hall.”
Mdakane called on the council to take an “ethical position” to support the name changing of Smuts Hall to a representative name that is in line with the direction UCT aspires to.
SRC president Declan Dyer said they welcome the progress made to date since the submission was made.
“As it stands, the submission has been considered and endorsed by the naming of buildings committee (NOBC), who have recommended that the name be changed to council. In addition to the NOBC, the submission from the SRC has received support from several committees and forums including the university student affairs committee.”
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the institution would provide a formal update on the matter once the council has considered it.
“UCT has noted public statements on the possible renaming of a residence at the institution. As with all renaming proposals at UCT, the matter has to follow the existing process through the university’s naming of buildings committee.”
Moholola said under normal circumstances, there would have been renaming ceremonies for the buildings recently renamed but due to Covid-19, it has up to this point not been possible to have any ceremonies.
“We are still hopeful we will have the ceremonies when circumstances permit.”