SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.81 issue1Vaccination against GnRH may suppress aggressive behaviour and musth in African elephant (Loxodonta africana) bulls: a pilot study author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.81 n.1 Pretoria Jan. 2010




Veterinary education in South Africa: the classes of 1936 & 1937



R D Bigalke1




Concise descriptions are given of the varied life histories of the students of the classes of 1936 and 1937. Consisting of 14 students, the class of 1936 was the largest of the pre-war classes of the Onderstepoort Faculty. Three of the 6 students in the 1937 class were actually repeating their final year, therefore the total number described below is 17 rather than 20. The detailed analysis of their careers reveals the presence of a remarkable degree of variation. Although all except Brookes, who apparently went directly into the newly established practice of Jack Boswell, initially joined the local government service, most of them became specialists in their disciplines. Four soon established very successful private practices. Five of the 6 who spent their entire careers in the South African Veterinary (Field) Services, finally occupied very senior positions in that division. One of them (Kluge) made a major contribution to the control of tsetse flies in this country and another (Belonje) became a specialist in equine infertility. Four of the graduates opted for a research career, 3 of them also teaching at the Faculty. Of all of these, only De Boom (Anatomy & Embryology), who was a consummate teacher, took on a fulltime position as Professor and Head of the Department when the Faculty became independent from the Onderstepoort Research Institute in 1973. De Lange (Surgery & Gynaecology), however, relinquished his professorship to become a deputy director of the Institute. Sutton became a household name to the many students who passed through his hands in Animal Management. Haig (Virology) became one of the most famous of the many researchers produced by Onderstepoort. Van der Walt showed much promise as a researcher but died at the age of only 45. Two more died before they were 35 years old. Two had sons who also became veterinarians while one's grandson followed in his grandfather's and father's footsteps.

Keywords: 1936 & 1937, equine infertility, graduates, private practice, research, state veterinarians, teaching, tsetse flies.




The class of 1936 was the largest of the pre-war classes of the Onderstepoort Faculty, consisting of the hitherto unheard of number of 14 students. The photograph on which they appear is the customary comprehensive one with the Dean of the Faculty, Dr (Prof.)PJduToit, presiding. It is noteworthy that 3 of the students who feature in the photograph only qualified at the end of the following year, their names also appearing on the composite photograph of the 1937 graduates. Apparently the photograph was taken before the results of the final examinations were known.

Jacobus Albertus Badenhorst

The information on Badenhorst is scanty. The dates of his birth and death, for example, could not be traced. Although he features in the photograph of the class of 1936, Badenhorst obviously failed his final year because he only qualified as a veterinarian at the end of the following year. He immediately joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services and saw duty as state veterinarian at Umtata and Flagstaff in the Transkei, and then in Keetmanshoop, South West Africa (now Namibia), De Aar and Standerton. He resigned in ~1960 and proceeded to Bulawayo, but apparently returned to South Africa shortly thereafter to practice as a private veterinarian in De Aar, from where he moved to the Western Cape and finally to Swaziland. After 1969 his name no longer appears in the list of registered veterinarians.

Charles Willem Albert Belonje

Charles was born on 4 October 1914 of Dutch parents who emigrated from Buitenzorg, Java, to South Africa. Charles matriculated from Grey High School, Port Elizabeth in 1931 and obtained his BVSc degree in 1936. He then joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian and was stationed at various localities in the Eastern Cape Veterinary Region from 1937 to 1966. From 1945 to 1963 he also taught the diploma students in sheep and wool at the Grootfontein Agricultural College the basic principles of prophylactic herd management. He was stationed in Pretoria from 1966 to 1973 and then transferred back to East London as regional director (title: Assistant-Director) of the Eastern Cape Veterinary Region from 1973 to 1979 when he retired at the age of 65.

The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Breeders Association of SA awarded Dr Belonje a scholarship in 1950. This enabled him to conduct research at the Equine Research Station of the Animal Health Trust at Newmarket and at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. After further research locally in the Karoo midlands, he completed a thesis on fertility in Thoroughbred mares for which he was awarded a DVSc degree by the Onderstepoort Faculty in 1958. He was also very knowledgeable in the meat hygiene (public health) discipline and was responsible for drafting the Animal Slaughter, Meat and Animal Products Hygiene Act (Act No. 87 of 1967). For these reasons he served for many years as external examiner in both Genesiology and Meat Hygiene at the Onderstepoort Faculty.

Charles married Audrey Holdridge in 1939. Their son, Professor Peter Belonje, qualified as a veterinarian in 1960 and their grandson, Grant Charles, in 1996, thereby establishing a fairly unique record (the same, for example, also applies to the Bisschop family) of 3 successive generations of veterinarians qualifying at the Onderstepoort Faculty. Charles died in East London on 23 November 1995 aged 81.

J W A (Tony/Joe) Brookes

Tony qualified in 1936 and, as far as can be determined, did not join the government service like the rest of his classmates but went directly into private practice in Johannesburg, joining the pioneering Jack Boswell and Arthur Thiel, 1st as an assistant and later as a partner. Like the latter, he was called up for duty in World War II and rejoined the firm when he was demobilised with the rank of captain. He later set up a practice in Germiston where he spent the rest of his career. He was unmarried and his sister was his house-keeper. He was awarded a military medal for his wartime services. The date of his death could not be determined but his registration with the SA Veterinary Board (now SA Veterinary Council) was terminated in 1983.


Click to enlarge


Henri Pieter Albert (Boompie) de Boom

Boompie was one of the most colourful personalities to be associated with Onderstepoort, particularly the Faculty. He was born on 16 October 1914, son of Hendricus Petrus who emigrated from the Netherlands to the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in 1896 as an accountant in the 'Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spooreweg-Maatschappij'. Boompie attended the Laer Oosteindschool and Hoër Oosteindschool in Meintjies Street, Pretoria, matriculating as head boy in 1931. He enrolled as 1st-year student at the University of Pretoria (its status had been changed from the Transvaal University College (TUC) to that of a full-blown University in 1930) in 1932 and graduated as top student at Onderstepoort in 1936. That was shortly before the days of the Theiler medal! Early the next year Boompie was appointed a veterinary research officer in Pathology at the Onderstepoort Institute and in 1940 also as part-time lecturer in Anatomy, a vocation and subject in which he excelled to an extent that few have managed to emulate.

Boompie initially taught Embryology and Comparative Pathology under Prof Cecil Jackson who was head of Anatomy. When Jackson resigned in 1955, De Boom succeeded him as Professor and Head of Anatomy which became a full-time department when the Faculty was restructured in 1957. Boompie was in his element because he could now devote himself entirely to his main vocation, which was teaching students. When the Faculty became completely independent from the Institute and Department of Agricultural Technical Services on 1 April 1973, and thereby a fully-fledged faculty of the University of Pretoria, he naturally opted to stay put. He retired from the Faculty as professor emeritus at the age of 60 at the end of the following year.

However, that was not the end of his teaching career. He served as guest professor at Cornell University in the USA for a year in 1975/76, having been there previously for more than a year in 1961/62. On request of the Portuguese government he had also served as Professor and Head of the Anatomy Department of the fledgling Veterinary Faculty of the University of Lourenço Marques from 1968-1970, i.e. before he retired from Onderstepoort. He also taught Anatomy and Embryology at the Medical Faculty of Medunsa during 1979 and 1980, as well Embryology to Zoology students at the University of Pretoria in the 2nd semester of 1980 and the 1st quarter of 1981. Back at Medunsa, this time at the Veterinary Faculty, he was appointed as temporary head of the Department of Anatomy in 1981, a position that he held until 1985.

De Boom was a man of many parts. In 1937, for example, he enrolled as trainee pilot in a course offered by the South African Air Force, obtaining his wings in 1939. Due to a manpower shortage at the Institute he was recalled to Onderstepoort and did not participate in World War II, but was placed on the Reserve for Flight Officers as a second lieutenant. He was an excellent linguist and was probably - there is some uncertainty whether it was for 10, 11 or 12 years - the longest serving editor of the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association. He served for 3 terms as editor of the journal. It was during his 2nd term, in 1972, that the Association changed its name from the South African Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) to that of the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA), the journal naturally following suit.

He received several awards for his services to the profession and veterinary science such as: Honorary Life Vice-President of the SAVA in 1977; Gold Medal of the SAVA in 1982; Life Honorary Member of the Anatomical Society of SA in 1978; Certificate of Merit of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1980; DVSc (honoris causa)of the University of Pretoria in 1986.

Boompie married Susara Alettha van Rooyen on 2 November 1940. They had a son (adopted) and 2 daughters who both married veterinarians. One of his granddaughters, Ilse van Staden, followed in his footsteps, qualifying from Onderstepoort in 1995. Boompie died on 3 August 1998 at the age of 83.

Michiel (Mike) de Lange

Mike de Lange was born in Pretoria on 26 December 1913. Like Boompie his parents were of Dutch origin. His schooling followed exactly the same path as Boompie's, as they were classmates from beginning to end. Another school classmate was Mike's future wife Anna Ruysenaars. After qualifying as a veterinarian in 1936, Mike joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian Dundee where he was involved in the control of East Coast Fever (ECF), inter alia examining ca 6800 spleen and blood smears during the 7 months that he spent there. His next post was in Potgietersrus where the control of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the Lowveld became his most important task.

Late in 1938 Mike was transferred to the experimental farm Nooitgedacht at Ermelo, serving as research officer in control of the laboratory. ECF was still rife in the Badplaas valley - there were still 18 infected farms - and he had to deal with some very hostile farmers who had had more than enough of the quarantine measures they had been subjected to by veterinarians for many years. However, when he left Nooitgedacht in 1944, ECF had been successfully controlled in that area. It was at Nooitgedacht where Mike conducted the research on delayed breeding in beef heifers for which he was awarded a DVSc degree cum laude in 1947.

It came as no surprise when Dr De Lange was transferred to the Onderstepoort institute as research officer in the Pathology section in 1944. In 1947 he also became part-time senior lecturer at the Faculty responsible for teaching Pharmacology and for handling the Ambulatory Clinic that served the farms in the vicinity of Onderstepoort. In 1952 he was transferred to the Department of Surgery and Gynaecology and in 1956 he was promoted to Professor and Head of the Department. With the radical restructuring of the Faculty in 1957, when the clinical and basic sciences departments of the Faculty became full-time, Mike moved back to the Research Institute as Assistant-Director, becoming a Deputy-Director in 1961. He retired in December 1973 at 60 and died on 3 October 2000 at the age of almost 87 years.

Dr De Lange served the SAVMA as Honorary Secretary for 5 years and as elected member of its Federal Council for 14 years. The SAVMA bestowed an Honorary Life Vice-Presidency on him in 1968. He was a great lover of nature and served ex officio on, for example, the Advisory Board for Nature Conservation of Transvaal for 17 years.

Mike and Anna Ruysenaars were married in 1939. The couple had 3 children, their only daughter, Ina, in turn marrying the well-known poultry specialist veterinarian, Louis Coetzee.

W J B (Potch) de Villiers

Potch de Villiers was born at Hartebees-fontein in the Klerksdorp district on 30 March 1915. He first attended the Klerksdorp High School for 2 years and then proceeded to Gymnasium High in Potchefstroom where he matriculated at the age of 16 in 1931. He decided to become a veterinarian and qualified at Onderstepoort in 1936. Potch immediately joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services and served as state veterinarian inter alia at the Allerton Laboratory, where he had to examine the customary ECF smears, and Nongoma in Natal. From there he was transferred to Umtata in the Transkei where he married Isme Hemming in 1940. De Villiers was therefore a member of the informal 'Umtata Club' consisting of veterinarians who had married Umtata girls. Shortly after their marriage they were transferred to King William's Town. The couple had 2 daughters.

In May 1946 Dr De Villiers resigned from the government service to open a private practice in Klerksdorp, the 1st to be established in that area. Potch was also active in matters affecting the veterinary profession, launching the Western Transvaal Branch of the SAVMA, of which he was the 1st chairman, in Klerksdorp in 1964. He served the Klerksdorp community with equal dedication. He was a founder member of the Lions Club in Klerksdorp, chairman of SANTA for 20 years and a member of Milner High School's governing body for 23 years.

Dr De Villiers retired from private practice due to ill health after 38 years in 1984 and passed away on 27 April 1991 at the age of 76.

Johannes Marthinus (Jimmie) de Wet

Jimmie de Wet was born on 15 October 1908 and matriculated at Grey College.

He obtained a BSc (Agric) degree before proceeding to Onderstepoort to study veterinary science. Like Badenhorst, he failed his final year only to qualify a year later in 1937. He joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian in 1938 and spent his entire career in the government service. Dr De Wet served as state veterinarian in Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), Pretoria, Kokstad and East London and was eventually promoted to regional director (title: Assistant-Director) of the Eastern Cape Region, where he retired. While in the Eastern Cape, where ECF had been so rife, he became very knowledgeable in, and published on, the control of ticks of cattle by dipping. He retired in 1973.

He married Magdalena Johanna (Joey) Eloff and the couple had 3 children. Joey died in 1971 and Jimmie married Vesta Helena Truter in 1972. He died on 24 May 2004 at the ripe old age of almost 96 years and is survived by his 2nd wife.

David (Dave) Arthur Haig was born in Johannesburg on 20 March 1913. He contracted poliomyelitis, which was complicated by osteomyelitis, as a child and therefore had a permanent limp. He obtained his BVSc degree in December 1936, joined the government service and was posted to the Allerton Laboratory where he worked particularly on bacterial diseases of cattle and poultry. 1n 1945 he was transferred to the Onderstepoort Laboratory where he conducted virological research, in the then Section of Protozoology and Virus Diseases, to become one of Onderstepoort's finest virologists. He was awarded a DVSc degree by the Onderstepoort Faculty in 1953.

Haig's 1st major achievement was in 1953 when he developed an excellent vaccine against canine distemper by adapting the ferret-adapted virus to growth in embryonated eggs, selecting the 200th serial passage level as candidate. This completely safe and very effective vaccine, which became the gold standard throughout the world, is still being manufactured by all major vaccine factories today. Haig was also the 1st Onderstepoort scientist to use cell culture technology for the cultivation of viruses when he and his coworkers grew blue-tongue virus in lamb kidney cell cultures in 1956, which soon led to the development of a sophisticated quantitative neutralisation test for bluetongue. Another milestone was added to his impressive career when he succeeded in growing the virus responsible for causing lumpy skin disease in embryonated eggs in 1957. The route to vaccine development had been breached.

Unhappy about his unsuccessful 1957 application for the newly advertised post of lecturer in Virology in the reorganised Onderstepoort Faculty, Haig asked to be transferred back to Allerton where he worked for a short spell. However, he left South Africa in 1959 for the Kabete Veterinary Laboratory in Kenya where he stayed until 1961 before moving to the Agricultural Research Council 's Compton Field Station in the United Kingdom. He became the 1st head of its Virology Department, conducting some innovative research on scrapie, a sheep disease of which the aetiological agent is related to, and therefore serves a model for, the human kuru and Creutzfeld-Jacob diseases. He was 1st to suggest that the agent does not contain nucleic acid, which later led to the current prion hypothesis. He also published widely on other viruses, mycoplasmas and rickettsias. In 1967 he was appointed head of Compton's bacteriology laboratory as well. Although he officially retired in 1977, Dave continued with his research in a part-time capacity for several years.

Dr Haig died at Whitechurch, Reading, Berkshire, in England on 21 February 1987 at the age of almost 74, a few days after returning from a short visit to South Africa. He was survived by his wife, Patricia, and a son and a daughter. He was honoured by being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

H F T (Papa) Hellberg was born on 3 March 1913 in the Glencoe district and matriculated at the Dundee High School. He qualified as a veterinarian early in 1937, rather than 1936, clearly on account of a supplementary examination, which he passed, because he does not feature in the composite photograph of the class of 1937 (see below). He joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services and spent the rest of his career in the government service, amongst others serving as state veterinarian in Pietermaritzburg (Allerton Laboratory), Upington, Vryburg, Aliwal North, Potchefstroom, Gobabis in South West Africa (now Namibia) and Ladysmith in Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), where he retired in 1973 as a senior state veterinarian. He was involved in the control of the 1957/58 outbreak of FMD at Standerton in which dairy cows as well as pigs contracted the disease.

Dr Hellberg married Johanna Catherina Bester on 20 July 1940 and the couple had 2 sons, losing the youngest in a motorcar accident in 1958 when he was only 13 years old. Dr Hellberg died in Pretoria on 5 May 2006 at the age of 93.

John Leonard Mainprize

John Mainprize was born on 1 June 1914 and obtained his BVSc degree in December 1936. He initially served as state veterinarian in the South African Division of Veterinary (Field) Services for 18 months, but in June 1938 he proceeded to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where he was appointed as veterinary research officer in Salisbury (now Harare). On 1 May 1940 at the age of not quite 26, whilst on a shooting trip at Sinoia, he was fatally injured when a loaded gun placed against a tree next to him fell over and went off accidentally. He was buried in Johannesburg on 17 May 1940.

Johannes Nicolaas Meeser was born in Roodepoort on 16 October 1912 and qualified in 1936. He immediately joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian and was successively stationed at Eshowe, Worcester, Upington, Oudstshoorn, Calvinia(1944), Lydenburg (1949) and Pietersburg. He married Miss Johanna Badenhorst, a primary school teacher at the Worcester Boys Junior School, in 1939. Dr Meeser was promoted to senior state veterinarian in 1954 and to regional director (title: Assistant-Director) of the Northern and Eastern Transvaal Veterinary Region, station Pietersburg (now Polokwane), in 1961. He died from a heart attack on 30 January 1971 at the age of 58 years while attending a church function.

Theodor Heinrich Sandrock was born in Sumatra on 9 October 1908, went to school in the Netherlands and initially studied medicine in that country. However, in 1933 he switched to studying veterinary science at Onderstepoort. It is not clear why or how the transition from the Netherlands to South Africa took place. He was clearly in his final year in 1936 because he appears on the class photograph, but failed and had to repeat the year, graduating at the end of 1937. He immediately joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian and his 1st station was Dundee. From there he was transferred to Vryburg, marrying in 1938. He developed appendicitis in 1939 and underwent an appendectomy, but complications developed that led to his death the following year on 27 September 1940 when he was only 32 years of age.

Gerard (Jerry) Duncan Sutton

Jerry Sutton was born on 14 December 1910 in Wynberg, Cape Town, where his father was Judge President of the Cape provincial branch of the judiciary. He matriculated at the Rondebosch Boys High School in 1927. After working on a Karoo sheep farm for 2 years he proceeded to a farm in England to also gain experience in cattle husbandry. He then went to Grootfontein Agricultural College (near Middelburg, Cape) where he completed a diploma course in 'sheep and wool' in 1931. Only then did he enrol at the Pretoria University and Onderstepoort, where he graduated in 1936. He joined the government service as state veterinarian and was posted to Allerton Laboratory in Pietermaritzburg. In 1938 he was transferred to Middelburg, the health of Grootfontein College's animals now being one of his responsibilities. While at Grootfontein, World War II erupted and he volunteered for military service but was retained because of the paucity of state veterinarians.

Gerard married 'Sally' (Eleanor) Rhodes in 1941, whilst he was at Middelburg, and the couple had 2 daughters and a son.

In 1944 Jerry was transferred to the Onderstepoort Institute where he spent the rest of his career, a period spanning an incredible 43 years. Initially he was mainly involved in bacteriological research. His part-time Faculty appointment as senior lecturer in Animal Management resulted in a change in his career path because he became increasingly involved in the management of the Institute's very large number of livestock and laboratory animals. This included the Institute's 2500 ha research farm Kaalplaas with its livestock and fodder-producing lands.

Dr Sutton filled his faculty post with great dedication for 25 years. Thus the name 'Jerry Sutton' became a household word in the vocabulary of the many students who passed through his hands in their 2nd and 3rd years at Onderstepoort. His teaching career ended in 1973 when the faculty became completely independent from the research institute and he opted to stay with the latter.

In 1968 he was appointed as liaison officer of the Institute. This task and the centralised management of laboratory specimens sent in from the field for diagnostic purposes occupied most of his time during the latter years of his career. His sojourn as liaison officer eventually lasted for almost 20 years, as he was reappointed after being pensioned in 1978, finally retiring from Onderstepoort in 1987 at the age of 77, a truly unprecedented 50 years in the civil service!

He also served the veterinary profession voluntarily as, for example, honorary treasurer of the South African Veterinary Medical Association for more than 10 years. For this and other services rendered to the profession he was honoured by being elected an Honorary Life Vice-President of the South African Veterinary Association.

Dr Sutton died on 2 June 2001 at the age of more than 90 years after a short illness.

Sarel Jacobus van der Walt

Sarel was born on 24 January 1914 and qualified as a veterinarian in December 1936. He immediately took on a job as research veterinarian in the Toxicology section at the Onderstepoort institute. He was awarded a DVSc degree by the Faculty on 9 October 1943. From 1939 to 1946 he published a series of 3 papers under the title of 'Recent investigations into the known and unknown poisonous plants of South Africa' in the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Science and Animal Industry. He also authored or co-authored some papers dealing with anatomy.

For reasons unknown, since he was clearly opting for a career in toxicology research, he transferred to the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian in 1945 with locality Lydenburg. He was transferred to Pretoria the following year, but died prematurely on 12 March 1949 at the age of only 45.

Dr Van der Walt's son Sarel, who adopted his stepfather's surname of Van Amstel, qualified at the Onderstepoort Faculty in 1966 and was Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department at the Faculty from 1989-1996 when he moved to the University of Tennessee in the USA. He is now Professor of Farm Animal Medicine and Surgery at the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Tennessee.


Although the class of 1937 consisted of 6 students - according to the photograph - 3 (J A Badenhorst, J M De Wet and T H Sandrock) also featured in the photograph of the class of 1936 and were therefore clearly 'supers' who were repeating the final year. Their careers have already been dealt with. The available photograph is once again of the composite type rather than the customary, comprehensive class photograph and actually contains only 1 picture, i.e. that of E B Kluge. The positions of all the other graduates on the original photograph are indicated by neatly tied scrolls. This means that it was not possible to obtain suitable photographs at the time when the compound picture was compiled. We already know what Badenhorst, De Wet and Sandrock looked like in those days, but J L Doré's andLJF von Maltitz's photographs had to be traced and were taken much later at a meeting of the South African Veterinary Medical Association in 1955.

James Lewis (Jim) Doré

James Doré was born on 25 June 1913 in Koffiefontein. From there his family moved to Robertson where he received his early education. He matriculated at Bishops, Cape Town, in 1931 and then went to the University of Cape Town to study industrial chemistry.



Switching to a veterinary career in 1934, he graduated at the end of 1937. Doré joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services in January 1938 as state veterinarian and saw service as follows: Allerton Laboratory; Tanganyika (now Tanzania) from May to October 1938 on secondment for rinderpest control purposes; Nongoma and Dundee from 1939 to 1944. Resigning from the government service, he entered private practice in Durban in January 1945 for a career lasting 33 years. He retired in 1978 and settled down in Margate to grow anthiriums. Dr Doré died there from a heart attack on 26 May 1989 at the age of almost 76.

Ernest Bruno Kluge

Ernest, the son of German immigrant parents, was born in Uitenhage on 9 October 1912. He received his high school education at Grey College, Bloemfontein where he matriculated in 1930. His sisters were the main financiers of his studies and money was not easy to come by. He was an excellent athlete and was a member of the team representing the University of Pretoria in 1936. He qualified as veterinarian at the end of 1937, was appointed a state veterinarian and immediately sent to Zululand (now KwaZulu-Natal) where he ran the Nagana Research Station at Msimba in the Umfolozi Game Reserve for many years, doing research on the bionomics of the tsetse flies occurring in the area. When it dawned on the Directorate of Veterinary Services in 1941 that the eradication of game and the use of R H T P Harris' flytraps were not going to solve the nagana problem, Kluge took over Harris' research. By 1949 he had mapped the breeding sites of the tsetse flies which led to the successful aerial spraying campaign with DDT and BHC resulting in the complete elimination of Glossina pallidipes, the most important vector of nagana in Zululand.



He was subsequently stationed at Nongoma with much wider responsibilities that included the control of ECF and Corridor (or buffalo) disease. In later years he also organised South Africa's involvement in the control of tsetse flies in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1961 he was appointed a Sub-director of the Division of Veterinary Services, and in 1966 he was transferred to Pretoria. His title was changed to Assistant-Director in 1970. Dr Kluge served as external examiner for the subject Protozoan Diseases at the Faculty for several years in the late 1960s.

Ernest married Jaqueline Susanna Nel at Nongoma and the couple had 2 sons and a daughter. He died in Pretoria on 7 September 1986 at the age of almost 74.

Ludwig Johann Frederick von Maltitz was born on 18 December 1913 and matriculated at Grey College Bloemfontein. He joined the Division of Veterinary (Field) Services as state veterinarian after qualifying at the end of 1937 and was immediately sent to South West Africa (now Namibia). Here he was 1st stationed in Windhoek and then successively in Keetmanshoop, Otjiwarongo, Okahandja, and Mariental. He finally served as Assistant-Director of Veterinary Services of the South West Africa Administration, Windhoek. After retiring in 1976, he was appointed by the Division of Veterinary Services as meat hygiene officer in the Western Cape Veterinary Region.



Dr Von Maltitz also served the veterinary profession with dedication, inter alia as chairman of the South West Africa branch of the SAVA for several years. He furthermore owned the farm Schlettwein in the Otjiwarongo district where he farmed with beef cattle. He died on 7 December 1987 aged 74 years.



Dr R van der Veen went to great lengths to provide information on the relatives of Drs De Wet, De Villiers and Hellberg, More specifically, Mr James de Wet kindly supplied much of the information on his father. The same applies to Dr De Villiers' niece, Margaret Hair, and Dr Hellberg's son Bernard. Permission by the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, to publish this article, which appeared in their newsletters OPNews, Volume 9, Nos 1 & 2, 2009, is gratefully acknowledged.



1. Bigalke R D 2009 The class of 1936. OPNews 9(1):10-12        [ Links ]

2. Bigalke R D 2009 The class of 1937. OPNews 9(2):8        [ Links ]

3. Boswell J G No date Timbadola - Adventures of a veterinary surgeon in Africa. Privately published        [ Links ]

4. Boswell J G 1999 A vet in Africa. Advisory Bureau for Development of The South African Veterinary Foundation, Pretoria        [ Links ]

5. Obituaries of some deceased veterinarians published in the Journal of the South African Veterinary Medical Association/South African Veterinary Association and VetNews        [ Links ]

6. Posthumus P J Past veterinarians in South Africa. Undated and unpublished collection of summarised curricula vitae of deceased veterinarians. Archives of the South African National Veterinary Museum, Onderstepoort        [ Links ]



1 231 Charles Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria, 0181 South Africa. E-mail:

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License