Erika Theron 1976


Due to the fact that the citation for Ms Theron is no longer available, this biography was taken from the Stellenbosch Writers website at

Erika Theron was born on 17 June 1907 in Tulbagh, where she grew up and matriculated in 1925. She studied at the University of Stellenbosch (BA, MA and Dphil). Title of Doctoral thesis: Fabriekswerksters in Kaapstad, (Published by Naspers 1944). Three years after her MA she left for Germany to study at the University of Berlin.

1937: Lecturer for Social Welfare, University of Stellenbosch. She remained with the university for 36 years.
1956: Professor of Social Welfare, founder and first editor of a technical journal
In 1958 she left for a study tour of the USA, made possible by a Carnegie bursary.
Retirement from the University of Stellenbosch in 1973.

Professional activities and memberships:
Erica Theron served on several public organisations. She was Chairwoman of the Theron Commission to study and improve the affairs of the coloured population. For many years she represented SA Universities at the International Association of Schools of Social Work. From 1947 she served on the National Welfare council and was voted deputy president in 1969. Member of the National Housing Committee, Council Member of the Universities of Stellenbosch and Western Cape. Member of the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns. She was also a town councillor of Stellenbosch.

Medal of honour of the Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns for contributions to welfare 1972.
Doctor honoris causa, University of Port Elizabeth 1976
Reporter of the Year, Society of Journalists, 1977

"My vader en moeder was wonderlike mense. In ons huis is ons geleer dat alle ander kindermaatjies gerespekteer moet word, ongeag kleur. My vader het 'n groot belangstelling in bruin onderwys gehad en my moeder was een van die stigterslede van die ACVV. My susters het 'n lewendige belangstelling in die maatskaplike werk gehad, met die gevolg dat my paadjie in die lewe hom self uitgetrap het". Quote found in Matieland, nr 2 1979, Erika Theron - enig in haar soort by Heloise Davis.

A woman of many firsts:

First professor of Social Welfare in South Africa.
First Head of the Department of Sociology, University of Stellenbosch
First female council member of the University of Stellenbosch
First female chancellor of a South African university: University of Western Cape (1978)
First female mayor of a South African town: Stellenbosch