oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Johann Friedrich Haszner (1764-1820): Duitse sjirurgyn aan die Kaap

Volume 6, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



Johann Friedrich Hszner was one of many Germans who emigrated to the Cape Colony during the 18th century. He was employed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as surgeon ('chirurgyn') and played a significant role in medicine at the Cape. Born in Breslau (Germany) in 1764, he arrived in the Cape Colony in 1785, where het practised as district surgeon (,colonies chirurgijn') at Paarl and subsequently at Graaff-Reinet from 1791 till 1795. The circumstances under which the white colonists lived in that isolated part of the Cape Colony, as well as their medical and health problems, urged him to write a medical handbook for them. Although the book was never published, it contains valuable information of a cultural historical nature and casts light on possible reasons for the heart diseases which are common amongst the descendants of those pioneers. Hszner attached great value to the healing powers of hot mineral waters. From 1804 till his death in 1820 he managed the warm baths at the foot of the Swartberg near the present Caledon. The baths were visited by many people who sought relief from ailments such as gout and rheumatism.

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