The Veterinary History Society of South Africa (VHS) was registered as a Not-for-Profit Company in August 2019, and replaced the SAVA’s Veterinary History Committee (VHC). The VHC had been established in 1995 under the Chairmanship of Dr Basil Pappin, whose drive had led to its formation. Ill-health unfortunately saw him resign in 1996 and he was succeeded by Dr Rudolph Bigalke (1996-2008) and then Dr Daan Verwoerd (2008-2018). Under their able and enthusiastic leadership and impetus, the VHC was a very valued committee of SAVA for more than two decades.

Some of the highlights during their terms of office included:

  • Creation of a South African National Veterinary Museum at Onderstepoort
  • Establishment of a National Archive for Veterinary History
  • Organisation of a Centenary Celebration for the Veterinary Research Institute at Onderstepoort in 2008
  • Organisation of a Pan-African Veterinary Congress at Onderstepoort in 2008
  • Publication in 2008 of the book Onderstepoort 1908-2008 on the history of the Veterinary Research Institute at Onderstepoort and the establishment and history of the Onderstepoort  Veterinary Faculty
  • Expanding a database of brief biographies of deceased South African veterinarians and researchers
  • Compilation of an electronic book ( that contains a wide variety of veterinary history matters, including the book Onderstepoort 1908-2008, which is out of print
  • Organisation of a Veterinary History Session for the 2011 WVA Congress in Cape Town
  • Provision of regular reports to SAVA on the activities of the VHC
  • Publication of a large number of articles on southern African veterinary history
  • Establishment of a storeroom to preserve veterinary memorabilia

In 2013 the Veterinary History Committee received a SAVA Citation for excellent and consistent input to veterinary history matters.

The decision to transform the VHC to the VHS was based mainly on a need to extend full membership to non-veterinarians, but the VHS continues to maintain the closest of links with SAVA.

We welcome applications for membership from those interested in the investigation, analysis, compilation, collection and preservation of the history of South African veterinary matters in its broadest sense.

Chair:               Gareth Bath
Secretary:        Susan Marsh


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