S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Bekker, Dr Johan Godfried (wool research, veterinary nutrition)

Born: 31 July 1900, Aliwal North, South Africa.
Died: 13 October 1960, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Johan G. ("Boet") Bekker obtained a BSc (Agric) degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 1922 and his BVSc at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Pretoria at Onderstepoort in 1925. He saw service at Onderstepoort and at Armoedsvlakte where he developed a special interest in mineral metabolism and especially the role of phosphate in the nutrition and health of livestock, which was also the subject of his DVSc thesis, On the administration of phosphorus to animals through their water supply (1931). His thesis project was published in the 18th Report of the Director of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (1932).

After a spell in private practice in Pretoria Bekker went overseas in 1930 to study problems related to wool production under professor Barker of Leeds University and Dr Crew at Edinburgh. On his return to Onderstepoort he was appointed as head of the newly established wool research unit, where he served until his death in 1960. His work was published in about a dozen papers. He was married to Maria Catharina Smith, with whom he had two children.

List of sources:

Author and Subject Index to the Government Veterinary Reports of the Transvaal and Union of South Africa (1903-1932). Pretoria: Department of Agriculture, June 1937.

Author and Subject Index to the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Science and Animal Industry (1933-1950) and the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research (1951-1968). Pretoria: Department of Agriculture, June 1969.

National Archives Repository, Pretoria (TAB). Source MHG, Ref. 8481/60: Estate papers, Johan Godfried Bekker.

Posthumus, P.J. Past Veterinarians in South Africa, Vol. 1, 10th edition, [1992].

Compiled by: D.W. Verwoerd