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Famous South Africans

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Profiles

  • Elisabeth Francoise Eybers (1915 - 2007)
    Elisabeth Françoise Eybers (16 February 1915 – 1 December 2007), was a South African poet. Her poetry was mainly in Afrikaans, although she has translated some of her own work (and those ...
  • Peter Bekker SV/PROG (c.1673 - c.1747)
    Pieter BEKKER is in circa 1673 gebore. Hy was van Köningsberg en land aan die Kaap in 1695. Hy trou met Johanna DE KLERK/Jannetie DE CLERCQ, die weduwee van Andries Gous. Aangesien Johanna baie ...
  • Anna Maria Rabie (1810 - 1842)
    When she was 17 she was well known as the most beautiful girl the people of Graaff-Reinet had ever laid their eyes upon. She was a brunette with delicate features and a perfect figure. The trouble was,...
  • Maria Mouton, b5 (c.1690 - 1714)
    Judi Marais-Meyer register Geslagregister van vroeë Kaapse families C C de Villiers b7 Maria x Frans Joosten, v. Lippstad ----------------------------------------------------------------...

A project intended to record all the famous South Africans on our Geni tree: from writers, to statesmen & women, to sports heroes.

Hierdie Projek is bedoel om al die bekende Suid-Afrikaners aan te teken op ons Geni boom: van skrywers, tot staatshoofde en vroue, tot sport helde.

World Famous Notable Personalities

Special Mention: Geni's Founder: David Sacks

Nobel Prize Winners

Still not on our tree - Anyone related to:

  • J. M. Coetzee, Literature, 2003 "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"
  • Desmond Tutu, Peace, 1984*
  • Max Theiler, (1899-1972.) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for vaccine for Yellow Fever. "for his discoveries concerning yellow fever and how to combat it"
  • Allan McLeod Cormack (1924-1998.) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for x-ray tomography. Born and studied in SA. X-ray work started in Cape Town before emigration to USA. Co-inventor of the CT scanner."for the development of computer assisted tomography"
  • Aaron Klug (1926-). Nobel prize in Chemistry for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes. Born Lithuania, raised and educated in SA, moved to UK in 1950s to pursue research work.

Scientists, Environmentalists, Engineers & Inventors

  • Christiaan Barnard
  • Sydney Brenner (1927-) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 for work in RNA biology. Born and educated in SA, moved to England to pursue research work
  • Sir Herbert Baker (1862-1946) Architect commissioned by Cecil Rhodes to rebuild Groote Schuur hospital; designed the Union Buildings in Pretoria; South Africa House in London, new Bank of England in London. He wrote his reminiscences, 'Cecil Rhodes by His Architect'
  • Robert Broom (1866-1951). Medical doctor, paleontologist and paleoanthropologist. Studied mammal-like reptiles from the Karoo, then joined the Transvaal Museum and carried out excavations at Sterkfontein and other sites, finding 'Mrs Ples'. Proposer of the 'Australopithicine' family of early hominids.
  • Ferdinand Chauvier (-1985). Hydrualics engineer who emigrated to SA from the Belgian-Congo in 1951 and designed the pool Kreepy-Krauly.
  • Allan McLeod Cormack (1924-1998.) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for x-ray tomography. Born and studied in SA. X-ray work started in Cape Town before emigration to USA. Co-inventor of the CT scanner.
  • William Hofmeyr Craib (1895-1982) Professor of Medicine at Wits; developed the REAL theory behind the Electrocardiogram (for which Einthoven received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1924)
  • William Angus Hofmeyr Inventor, Stigter, WA Hofmeyr NASPERS award winner, Founder of businesses such as SANLAM, SANTAM, Senator, Writer, LLB
  • Aaron Klug (1926-). Nobel prize in Chemistry for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes. Born Lithuania, raised and educated in SA, moved to UK in 1950s to pursue research work.
  • Eugene Marais (1871-1936). Naturalist
  • Eric Mowbray Merrifield (-1982). East London Harbour Engineer, and Aubrey Kuger (dates unknown) - designers of the dolos concrete blocks used to protect harbours and breakwaters from damage by ocean waves.
  • George Pratley (-1983). Inventor and engineer. Designer of pratley putty glue, that amongst other things was used to hold parts of spacecraft together in 1969 on the Apollo 11 first moon-landing mission.
  • Sir Basil Schonland OMG CBE FRS (1896-1972) Schonland was a major contributor to twentieth-century British and Commonwealth science, both in peace and war. He was the first President of the CSIR. Brian Austin wrote his biography: Schonland: Scientist and Soldier: From lightning on the veld to nuclear power at Harwell: the life of Field Marshal Montgomery's scientific adviser
  • James Stevenson-Hamilton (1867-1957). Considered the father of the Kruger Park, through his efforts as administrator to establish and protect the initial park.
  • Sir Arnold Theiler (1867-1936). Swiss-born father of veterinary science in South Africa. Developed vaccines for smallpox amongst Witwatersrand gold miners, and for rinderpest in cattle.
  • Max Theiler, (1899-1972.) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for vaccine for Yellow Fever.
  • Phillip Tobias (1925-) Paleoanthropologist

Military Heroes

Still not on our tree - Anyone related to:

  • Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor 1894-1921. WW1 fighter pilot, VC recipient.
  • Roger Bushell (a.k.a. 'Big X') 1910-1944 He organised and led the famous escape from Stalag Luft III, later used as a basis for the film 'The Great Escape'
  • Edwin Harris Dunning 1892-1917 - Squadron Commander, Royal Naval Air Service, first person to land an aircraft on a moving ship (a prototype aircraft carrier).
  • John Dering Nettleton 1917-1943. WW2 VC recipient for daylight bombing raid on the Augsburg diesel engine factory in 1942.
  • Gerard Ross Norton. 1915-2004. One of four SA recipients of the VC during WW2. Captured enemy machine guns when his platoon was pinned down in Italy in 1944
  • Marmaduke Thomas St. John (Pat) Pattle. 1914-1941. WW2 fighter pilot, probably the highest scoring allied fighter pilot of the war, officially credited with 34 enemy aircraft, unofficially credited with over 50 however this is unconfirmed due to the loss of 80 (RAF) squadron's records during the chaotic retreat from Greece, Pattle's own death over Piraeus, and the loss of many other squadron members.
  • Quentin George Murray Smythe. 1916-1997. One of four SA recipients of the VC during WW2. Awarded for capture of german strong points in the Western Desert. Farmer from Richmond and grandson of penultimate Prime Minister of Natal
  • Edwin Essery Swales 1915-1945. WW2 VC recipient. Bomber pilot who lost his life when he held his crippled Lancaster aircraft steady, first to complete his role as master pathfinder on a raid, then for the other seven crew members to safely bail out.
  • General Sir Hesperus Andrias (Pierre) van Ryneveld 1891-1972, WW1 pilot, pioneer of the north-south air route from Britain to South Africa, then set up the South African airforce in 1920, and was Chief of the General Staff of the Union Defence Force, from 1933 to 1949, throughout WW2

Writers

Still not on our tree - Anyone related to:

  • Lionel Abrahams
  • Tatamkulu Afrika
  • Breyten Breytenbach, (1939– )
  • Andre Brink, (1935– )
  • John Maxwell Coetzee, awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, (1940– )
  • Bryce Courtenay, (1933– )
  • Jeremy Cronin
  • Ahmed Essop, born in India, grew up in Johannesburg (1931– )
  • Athol Fugard, (1932– )
  • Damon Galgut, (1963– )
  • Bessie Head, born in South Africa but usually seen as a Botswanan writer, (1937–1986)
  • Elsa Joubert (OIS), born as Elsabé Antoinette Murray on 19 October 1922 in Paarl, is an Afrikaans-speaking South African writer who rose to prominence with her novel ‘Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena’
  • Douglas Livingstone, born in Malaysia, (1932–1996)
  • Chris Mann, (1949– )
  • Dalene Matthee, (1938–2005)
  • Zakes Mda, (1948– )
  • Es'kia (Ezekiel) Mphahlele, (1919–2008 )
  • Oswald Mtshali, (1940– )
  • Alan Paton, (1903–1988)
  • Sol T. Plaatje, (1876–1932)
  • Laurens van der Post, (1906–1996)
  • Sipho Sepamla, (1932–2007 )
  • Mongane Wally Serote, (1944– )
  • Wilbur Smith, (1932– )
  • Christopher van Wyk, (1957– )

Artists

  • Thomas Baines, colonial painter and explorer (1820–1875)
  • David Goldblatt (1930 - ) Documentary Photographer
  • Peter Magubane (1932 - ) Photographer
  • Geerard Moerdijk (1890-1958) Architect, most famously, of the Voortrekker Monument
  • George Pemba, visual artist (1912–2001)
  • Frederick Timpson l'Ons (85), - SA painter of the early life in the Eastern Cape, died in Grahamstown. He was born in Islington, Middlesex, England on 15 November 1802. and, accompanied by his wife, moved to the Cape Colony in 1834. His works portrayed life on the frontier and included portraits of the Khoikhoi and Africans as well as landscapes.
  • Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef, artist (1886–1957)
  • Jan Gerard Sekoto, artist and musician (1913–1993)
  • Irma Stern, painter (1894–1966)
  • Vladimir Tretchikoff, painter (1913–2006)
  • Cecil Skotnes, painter (1926–2009)
  • Zapiro (Jonathan Shapiro) (1958 -)
  • Rufus Papenfus Spotprent Tekenaar/Caricature Artist

Entertainers

Still not on our tree - Anyone related to:

  • Brenda Nokuzola Fassie (1964 – 2004) Singer
  • Miriam Zenzile Makeba (1932 - 2008) Singer
  • Hugh Ramopolo Masekela (born April 4, 1939) Jazz Musician; Singer
  • Pieter Dirk Uys
  • Leon Schuster

Painters

Still not on our tree - Anyone related to:

Convicted Criminals

  • Peter Becker (1673-1747) Suspected murderer and convicted barbarian (cruelty). The last time (1717) he was convicted he was banished to Robben Island for life, and he probably died there in 1747.
  • Daisy de Melker
  • Maria Mouton 1690-1714 Probably the first woman executed at the Cape (for murder of her husband Frans Joosten)
  • Anna Rabie (born Knoetzen) 1810-1842 Publicly hanged for murder of her husband
  • Andre Stander 1946-1984. Audacious bank-robbing police officer from Kempton Park. Son of Frans Stander, a general in the department of correctional services.

Political Leaders

See also: Governors of the Cape Colony Project

Fighters for Freedom from Oppression / Peaceful Activists

  • Stephen Bantu Biko (1946 – 1997) Political Activist murdered in police custody
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Koos de la Rey Boer War General
  • Ahmed Mohamed "Kathy" Kathrada (1929 - ) Political Activist
  • Helen Joseph 1905 - 1992 Appalled by the plight of black women In South Africa, she was pivotal in the formation of the Federation of South African Women and with the organisation's leadership, spearheaded a march of 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against pass laws on August 9, 1956. This day is still celebrated as South Africa's Women's Day
  • Sailor Malan
  • Nelson Mandela (b. 1918); leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe 1961-90; President of South Africa 1994-99; Nobel Peace Prize Winner 1993
  • Fatima Meer (1928 – 2010) Political Activist
  • Rahima Moosa 1922-1933 Anti-apartheid activist in SA . Heavily pregnant, she was a key figure of the Women’s March against pass laws in SA on 9 Aug 1956 - now celebrated as Women's Day in SA
  • Beyers Naude
  • Lilian Masediba Ngoyi 1911-1980 Anti-apartheid activist. She led a march of 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against pass laws on August 9, 1956. This day is still celebrated as South Africa's Women's Day
  • Hector Pieterson (1964 - 16 June 1976) Schoolboy shot dead In Soweto riots for protesting Bantu Education
  • Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu (1918 – 2011) Political Activist called 'the mother of the nation', Nurse and wife of Walter Sisulu
  • Robert Sobukwe(1924-1978) former political activist and founder of PAC
  • Walter Ulyate Sisulu (1912 – 2003) Political Activist
  • Oliver Tambo (1917-1993) Political Activist, spent 30 years in exile
  • Archbishop Emeritus Mpilo Desmond Tutu (1931 -) Archbishop of CT; Humanitarian
  • Sheila Weinberg (1945 – 2004) Political Activist; Humanitarian
  • Sophia Williams 1938 – was 18 years old when she led 20 000 women in protest against the pass laws in SA on 9 Aug 1956 - today celebrated as Women's Day in SA.

Sports Men and Women

Rugby

Golf

  • Gary Player
  • Ernie Els
  • Retief Goosen

Cricket

  • Ali Bacher
  • Hansie Cronje
  • Fanie de Villiers
  • Basil D'Oliveira
  • Allan Donald
  • Tony Greig -South African born; England
  • Jacques Kallis
  • Gary Kirsten
  • Allan Lamb South African born; South Africa; England
  • Makhaya Ntini
  • Graeme Pollock
  • Jonty Rhodes
  • Clive Rice
  • Kepler Wessels - South African born. South Africa; Australia

Swimming

  • Natalie du Toit GOLD medal London 2012 Natalie du Toit Women's 100m Butterfly - her 11th gold medal overall.
  • Karen Muir
  • Ryk Neethling
  • Roland Mark Schoeman

Tennis

  • Cliff Drysdale
  • Bob Hewitt
  • Johan Kriek
  • Frew Macmillen
  • Raymond Moore
  • Brian Norton (1899)
  • Andrew Patterson
  • Sandra Reynolds Price
  • Eric Sturgess
  • Sheila Summers
  • Renee Schuurman
  • Russel Seymour
  • Pat Spence

Athletics

Wrestling

  • Johannes van der Walt (The Masked Wonder)

SA Olympic Team 2012:

  • Cameron van der Burgh. icn_favorite.gif Men's 100m Breaststroke Gold Medalist 58.46 WR
  • Chad le Clos. icn_favorite.gif Men's 400m Butterfly Gold Medalist 1;52.96
  • James Thompson icn_favorite.gif one of the Lightweight Four Rowing team

Conservationists

  • Ian Player (1927 – )
  • James Stevenson-Hamilton

Heroes and Heroines

  • Wolraad Woltemade
  • Emily Hobhouse

Mining Greats

  • Barney Barnato
  • Cecil John Rhodes
  • George Harrison - prospector (dates unknown) who discovered the gold bearing Main Reef on the farm Langlaagte in 1886, which lead to the gold rush on the Witwatersrand and the creation of Johannesburg.
  • Harry Oppenheimer (1908-2000). Businessman - De Beers, Anglo American
  • Hans Merensky 1871-1952 German South African geologist, prospector, scientist, conservationist and philanthropist. He discovered the rich deposit of alluvial diamonds at Alexander Bay in Namaqualand, vast platinum and chrome reefs at Lydenburg, Rustenburg and Potgietersrus, which led to some of the largest platinum mines in the world, phosphates and copper at Phalaborwa in the Transvaal lowveld, gold in the Free State and the world’s biggest chrome deposit at Jagdlust near Pietersburg.

Traders:

South African Famous and world known prophets

Chief Rabbis:

Titanic Survivors and Casualties with South African Connections

The following people who were on the Titanic when she sank on 15 April 1912 have connections to South Africa. Some are quite tenuous or distant!

Connect the People to the Places in 'Cuzzin Country'

Personal Stories

References

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