S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Scholtz, Dr William Christiaan (medical sciences)

Born: 11 December 1858, South Africa.
Died: 1902, Place not known.

William C. Scholtz studied at the South African College, Cape Town, from 1875 to 1877 and passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1876. Subsequently he qualified as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master of Surgery (CM) at the University of Edinburgh in 1881 and as Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the same University in 1884, though some of his study time had been spent in Berlin and Dublin. Meanwhile he had been licensed to practice in the Cape Colony on 12 December 1881. That same year the University of the Cape of Good Hope admitted him to the MB degree on the basis of his qualifications from the University of Edinburgh. After practising in the Paarl Division for ten months he settled in Cape Town as a general practitioner from about 1886 to at least 1899. In 1888 he requested (unsuccessfully it seems) for an appointment as visiting surgeon to the New Somerset Hospital; however, for some time he was a consulting surgeon at Woodstock Hospital and vaccination officer of Woodstock municipality. In later years he began to specialise in diseases of the ear, nose and throat. In 1888 he was elected on the council of the first South African Medical Association (founded in 1883), but the association ceased to exist that year and was replaced by the Cape of Good Hope branch of the British Medical Association. Scholtz became a member of this branch and was also a Fellow of the British Laryngological and Rhinological Society. In 1891 he was elected an inaugural member of the Colonial Medical Council and remained a member until at least 1896. In 1897 he attended the International Medical Conference in Moscow as the sole South African representative. At that time he was a director of the South African Industrial Life Assurance Society.

Scholz published papers on "The influenza epidemic at the Cape" (British Medical Journal, 1890), "Medical charges and payments" (South African Medical Journal [Series II], 1895), and "Laryngology and otology" (Transactions of the South African Medical Congress, 1894). However, he was mainly an authority on the South African climate and its relation to health - a popular topic during the late nineteenth century. Scholtz's interest led to the publication of a book with the descriptive title The South African climate; including climatology and balneology and discussing the advantages, peculiarities and capabilities of the country as a health resort - more particularly with reference to affections of the chest (London, 1897, 200p). In the first part of the book (pp. 1-77) Scholtz described the influence of the South African climate on health. The rest of the book contained eleven articles by various authors, dealing with the climate of different regions of the country and the virtues of its natural mineral springs. The participating authors included Doctors G.A. Casalis*, G.W.B. Daniell*, G.G. Eyre*, H.L. Gordon*, and C.F.K. Murray*.

In January 1900, during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), Scholtz acted as an envoy of Lord Roberts in negotiations with General Louis Botha near Kimberley. After Roberts had occupied Bloemfontein on 13 March 1900 Scholtz joined the British forces there in a medical capacity. He died two years later and was survived by his wife, Agnes Judith, born Ellis.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette, 9 January 1885, pp. 41-45: List of licensed medical practitioners in the Cape Colony.

Laidler, P.W. & Gelfand, M. South Africa: Its medical history, 1652-1898. Cape Town: Struik, 1971.

Medical and pharmacy register for the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, 1893. Cape Town: W.A. Richards & Sons, 1893.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Scholtz, William Christiaan / Scholtz, William C.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1829-1918. Cape Town: T. Maskew Miller, 1918.

South African medical directory for 1897. Cape Town: Cape Times, 1897.

South African Medical Journal [Series I], 28 July 1888, Vol. 4, pp. 26-27: South African Medical Association.

South African Medical Journal [Series II], December 1895, Vol. 3, p. 235: List of members of the CGH branch of the BMA; May 1896, Vol. 4, p. 27: Colonial Medical Council.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1884/5.

Venter, R.J. Bibliography of regional meteorological literature. Vol. 1. Southern Africa, 1486-1948. Pretoria: Weather Bureau, 1949.

Compiled by: C. Plug