C.G.S. de Villiers

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Dr C.G.S. de Villiers, (better known locally as Dr Con de Villiers) (1894-1978) was an author, translator, director and immensely popular professor of zoology at the University of Stellenbosch.


Born Cornelius Gerhardus Stephanus de Villiers 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 matriculated from school in Caledon.

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.

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). Con de Villiers died on 25 November 1978 at his nephew's house in Ceres.


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). From 1923 to 1959 he was Professor of Zoology at Stellenbosch University.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

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, and he also gave lectures on music. He produced/directed and translated plays for Stellenbosch University, notably the works of Ibsen.

He spoke six languages and translated literary works from German, Italian and Scandinavian.

Short stories

His short stories about the Overberg first appeared in Die Huisgenoot.

In 1981, the SABC broadcast Dokter Con Viljee se Overberg, a popular TV series based on his Overberg-stories and directed by Manie van Rensburg.

Translations into Afrikaans

Works translated into Afrikaans by de Villiers, and subsequently performed, include:


He directed A Doll's House in English (with Helene Botha as "Nora") in 1925 and Pirandello's comedy Liolà as The Idler at about the same time, also featuring Botha.

He directed Ibsen's The Master Builder for the Unie-debatsvereniging (starring inter alia Anna Pohl and Neep van der Merwe, on 12 August, 1926).





Ludwig Binge, 1969

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