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Con de Villiers 1944Photo by Lockley 1944

C. G. S. (Con) de Villiers

1894 - 1978

Con de Villiers

Author of short stories about the Overberg and an authority on Music and Genealogy
Professor of Zoology at Stellenbosch University for 36 years

Cornelius Gerhardus Stephanus de Villiers was born on 16 December 1894 in Dunghye Park, District Caledon, where he grew up and in his first years and attended a farm school. In 1911 he matricuated from school in Caledon.
He studied Zoology at the Victoria College in Stellenbosch (BA 1914, MA 1916). At 21 he started to lecture Zoology at the Transvaal University College in Pretoria and in 1918, he went to Zürich for further studies (PhD 1922. Thesis: Neue Beobachtungen über den Bau und die Entwicklung des Brustschulterapparates bei den Anuren, insbesondere bei Bombinator).
1923 -1959: Professor of Zoology at Stellenbosch University. Dr. Con as he was affectionally called by students and friends, was well known for his research on the origin and evolution of the vertebrates and presented his results at universities in Italy, Germany and the USA. In 1935 he was invited as a visiting professor in Rome, where he remained for 18 months and later also at different universities in German and the USA.
He was a very cultivated man and served on the executive board of the SABC for 12 years. His great love was music, especially singing (The Golden Age of singing), and he also gave lectures on music. He produced plays for Stellenbosch University and translated plays for them. He spoke six languages and translated literary works from German, Italian and Scandinavian. His short stories about the Overberg first appeared in Die Huisgenoot.
As a founding member of the Genealogical Society he contributed to a large extent to the revised version of Genealogies of old South African families (1966). See photo of the founding members
Con de Villiers died on 25 November 1978 at his nephew's house in Ceres.

To me Dr. Con was the perfect mentor. He gave a direction to my life by teaching me to look, listen and think.

(Hy) was a magtige gewer in my lewe. Nou eers verstaan ek wat hy bedoel het toe hy gesê het: "Die Afrikaner deug net in die woestyn ". Net woestynomstandighede, so lyk dit my vandag, kan die mens van sy hubris en opportunisme verlos.
Hennie Aucamp

Awards and Honours:

South African Medal of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science 1937
Havenga Prize for Biology 1948
Academy Prize for Translations 1952
Doctor honoris causa, Stellenbosch University, 1967
Honorary member of:
Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten (Belgium)
Academy of Ferrara (Italy)
SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns 1969

Publications:

Translations:
Knut Hamsun, Viktoria 1925 and Die Groeiende aarde 1965
Henrik Ibsen, Rosmersholm 1925
Short stories and plays by Pirandello, collections of short stories: Skandinawiese vertellings (co-author A.C. Bouman) 1927, Die kortverhaal in Skandinawië 193).
Grazia Deledda, Elias Pòrtulu 1950 and Die moeder
Finn Havrevold, Maren se uiltjie 1961

Overberg short stories:
Snel dan jare, 1954
Klein vaderland, 1956
Donkiespad, 1961
Overbergse eergister, 1961
Medereisigers, 1964
Goue fluit, goue fluit, 1968

Die sneeu van anderjare, collection of short stories, compiled by Hennie Aucamp, 1976
Soete inval, (posthumous edition), 1979

Musici en mense, (sketches) 1958
Geslagsregister van die familie Swart in Suid-Afrika, (genealogy), 1977


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