kids encyclopedia robot

Anna Petronella van Heerden facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Anna Petronella van Heerden
Born (1887-04-26)26 April 1887
Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa
Died 10 January 1975(1975-01-10) (aged 87)
Cape Town, South Africa
Alma mater University of Amsterdam
Known for first Afrikaner woman to qualify as a medical doctor
Scientific career
Fields Gynecology
Institutions Private practice
South African medical corps (WWII)
Thesis 'Die sogenamde adenioma van die ovarium' (1923)

Anna Petronella van Heerden (1887–1975), was the first Afrikaner woman to qualify as a medical doctor. Her thesis, for which she obtained a doctorate in 1923, was the first medical thesis written in Afrikaans. She practiced as a gynecologist, retiring in 1942. She also served in the South African medical corps during World War II.

Education and career

Van Heerden was born on 26 April 1887 in Bethlehem, South Africa. Her parents were Francois Willem van Heerden and Josephine Ryneva Beck Horak. She was the middle child with an older brother Alexander Charles and a younger brother Frankie.

She was educated at the Huguenot Seminary in Wellington and Victoria College in Stellenbosch. She studied at the University of Amsterdam from 1908 to 1915 where she completed her medical degree. Van Heerden served as an intern at the Volkshuishospitaal in Bloemfontein in 1916 and had her own practice in Harrismith from 1917. She specialised in gynaecology in London from 1921 before returning to Amsterdam to complete her PhD. After obtaining her doctorate in 1923 with a thesis entitled, Die sogenamde adenioma van die ovarium (in English: The so-called adenoma of the ovary), she moved to Cape Town where she practiced as a gynaecologist. Van Heerden served in the South African medical corps during World War II and in 1942 she retired from her practice.

Other interests


She served on the main committee of the Cape National Party in 1924 and took an active role in the dispute over the national flag. She also campaigned for women's suffrage.


In 1931 Van Heerden took part in the excavations at Wadi el Maghara at Mount Carmel in Palestine that were led by Dorothy Garrod.

Later life

Van Heerden spent some of her later life after retirement working on a farm where she raised cattle. She was often seen at cattle auctions, actively participating, which was unheard of for a woman at that time in South Africa. Van Heerden never married and she died in Cape Town on 10 January 1975.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anna Petronella van Heerden para niños

kids search engine
Anna Petronella van Heerden Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.