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DBL: Exhibition Histories

"a simple, dignified and deeply moving ceremony"



"a simple, dignified and deeply moving ceremony"


Joanne Bloch

Date Created





“In 1947, on the brink of the fateful election that saw the coming to power of D.F. Malan and the imposition of the apartheid system, the British Royal family spent just over two months touring the Union of South Africa. On 22 April 1947, two days before the end of the tour and the Royal departure, UCT conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws on the then Queen Elizabeth.

The Argus describes the event as:
... 'a simple, dignified and deeply moving ceremony ... in which Her Majesty occupied the centre of the stage as the Chancellor of the University, General Smuts, conferred the degree upon her' (The Argus, 22 April 1947).

The report noted that,
'Long before the doors of the Jameson Hall were opened, professors, lecturers and students thronged the steps leading to the Hall. The brilliant gowns of the professors, mingled with the black undergraduate gowns of the students, formed a spectacle, which must have been one of the most colourful of the whole royal tour' (The Argus, 22 April 1947)” (Bloch 2016: 172).

Is Part Of

The Centre for Curating the Archive
Archive and Public Culture
Geological Sciences


Bloch, J. 2016. Letting Things Speak: A case study in the reconfiguring of a South African institutional object collection. University of Cape Town. Doctoral dissertation.
Liebenberg, N. 2021. Stow: A Geological Fieldguide of UCT. Digital Bleek and Lloyd. Centre for Curating the Archive. University of Cape Town.
Williams, G. 1902. The Diamond Mines of South Africa: Some Account of their Rise and Development. New York, London: Macmillan.