Jameson Memorial Hall and the pillars of colonial society

The pillars of UCT's Jameson Memorial Hall

Jameson Memorial Hall on the University of Cape Town's (UCT) campus is an impressive structure that has as its backdrop the towering Devil's Peak and Table Mountain mountain range. When I first saw the building and that it was a memorial to one Leander Jameson I wondered to myself what he'd done to have his name etched into the fibre of one of South Africa's most prestigious universities.

The story basically goes that he was Scottish and practised as a doctor in South Africa. Jameson befriended Cecil John Rhodes and ran several missions for him to help establish Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Leander Jameson disobeyed the British High Commissioner and spear-headed the famous Jameson Raid on the Boer government. He was captured and forced to return to England where he was tried and spent over a year in jail.

On his release he returned to Cape Town where he was elected to Cape Parliament in 1900 and became Prime Minister in 1904!

Perhaps I don't fully understand the history and story of Leander Jameson, but to me it would seem as though the British Cape Colony started off on a bit of a wobbly foot around the turn of the 20th century! :)

Read more about Leander Jameson's story here.

2 thoughts on “Jameson Memorial Hall and the pillars of colonial society

  1. Tara

    For one perspective on early South African history and a bit about Leander (Starr) Jameson, try get hold of “Gold Diamond and War: The Making of South Africa” by Martin Meredith. It is available on Kalahari.net for about R150

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