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Nel Van Heerden

Petronella van Heerden (1887-1975) was the first Afrikaner woman to qualify as a medical doctor. During the 1960s she published two short autobiographical texts, Kerssnuitsels (‘Candle Snuffings’) and Die Sestiende Koppie (‘The Sixteenth Cup’). Van Heerden was involved for some years in a relationship with Gladys Steyn, daughter of former Orange Free State president Martinus Theunis Steyn and his wife Rachel Isabella (Tibbie) Steyn. Nel Van Heerden was one of the younger South African women in whom Schreiner took great interest, and they met for social occasions in London during the First World War, with Schreiner endeavouring to keep the republican and anti-war Van Heerden and her British supporting niece Lyndall (‘Dot’) away from each other.
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