My mother, the MP and legislator Dene Smuts, passed away unexpectedly on April 21st 2016. In her memory, we have created the Dene Smuts Memorial Scholarship Fund, an award for postgraduate study in constitutional law at Stellenbosch University.
A portion of the proceeds of her forthcoming memoir will be directed towards this fund.
Please donate to:
In 1987, journalist Dene Smuts – at that time best-known for leaving that field in one of the most public editorial battles ever fought – won the Groote Schuur seat for the Democratic Party and began a political career that was to span 27 years. Smuts remains South Africa’s longest-serving female parliamentarian to date, our first female chief whip, and above all, a renowned legislator whose clear sight and rigour left a profound imprint on South Africa’s Bill of Rights and constitution.
In a speech made at her retirement farewell in 2014, former DA leader Tony Leon noted that “Smuts brought that rare trifecta of attributes to the fore: a keen intelligence, a fierce commitment to, and understanding of, the cardinal issues, and what Malcolm Gladwell calls the “10,000 hour rule”: the backbreaking, line-by-line hard work needed to move beyond rhetoric and aspiration toward concrete achievement and credible result.”
These qualities shone through in Smuts’s work on the constitution, and her tireless quest to entrench the human rights there defined in her further work as DA spokesperson at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and as Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Telecommunications and finally, Justice.
Born and bred in Bloemfontein, Smuts died in Cape Town, where she lived most of her life. She will be sorely missed by her two children, her extended family and her friends.