Historical Article

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

R. D. Bigalke
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 81, No 1 | a87 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v81i1.87 | © 2010 R. D. Bigalke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2010 | Published: 03 May 2010

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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.


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