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History of Homeopathic Training in South Africa


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The origins and development of Homeopathy and Education in South Africa

Homeopathy is said to have been introduced to South Africa in the late 1820s by missionaries from England and Europe, but chiefly the Germans, although many Dutch settlers are also said to have brought it with them. Lawrence G. Green says in his book "In the land of Afternoon", the following :(Chapter 3 - Old Dutch Medicines) "The first homeopath had set up in practice in Cape Town in 1857, a Mr. Hugh Eaton who announced that he was following the method originated at Leipzig by Samuel Hahnemann." "The first Afrikaner to qualify in medicine overseas was Dr. Johannes Smuts of Paarl. He was bom in 1819, took his degrees in Holland in 1843, and died in 1871. Twelve years before his death Dr. Smuts was converted to homeopathic medicine."

By 1931 there was only one doctor listed in Transvaal, yet there were 15 chemists carrying homeopathic remedies. Because there were so few doctors, most locals had to treat themselves and Homoeopathy was the most appropriate or practical form of self-medication. But for a few, most Homoeopaths were lay practitioners who had taught themselves through self-study or distance learning courses.

The first homeopathic pharmacy in the Transvaal was opened in 1941 by Wilhelm Last, while A.White pharmacy was the first in Cape Town. The Homeopathic Society of South Africa was started in 1949 by Barbara MacFarland who had studied homeopathy while in England. In 1951 Dr. William Henry (Bill) Lilley, who had imigrated from England for the specific purpose of establishing formal Homoeopathic training in South Africa, started a small learning group for lay people and by 1953 had produced the first crop of classical homoeopaths (practitioners not registered as medical practitioners). Dr.Bill Lilley also assisted with the formation of the South African Naturopathic and Homeopathic Association.

Way before Dr.Lilley, Noel Puddephatt is said to have trained a few people in Homoeopathy during an earlier stay in South Africa, which later led to his permanent residence here. Puddephatt, born in Madras India Dec 1899, offered a correspondence course in Homeopathy, which was later published in book form "Homoeopathic Correspondence Course by Noel Puddephatt, 1962, Health Science Press".

By the mid-1950s the few homeopathic physicians (medical Practitioners trained in Homoeopathy) joined forces with the lay homeopaths to keep homeopathy alive. In 1951 Lindlahr College was officially established by Dr. Bill Lilley and the first group of practitioners graduated in 1956 under Dr. Bill Lilley, assisted by Tom Watson and other co-teachers. Lindlahr College ran a 4-year part-time course and graduated students in Homeopathy(D.Hom.), Naturopathy(N.D.), and Osteopathy(D.O). As as matter of interest, Dr.J.P.Prinsloo (snr) and Dr.Michael Levien, the founder of Natura Laboratories were graduates of this very first class of Lindlahr College. Lindlahr College produced a number of World-renowned Homeopathic Practitioners.

Dr. Noel Puddephatt imigrated to South Africa in April 1963 and joined Lindlahr College as lecturer in 1964. According to Peter Morrell (and others), Puddephat trained renowed homeopaths like Phyllis Speight, Sheilagh Creasey and George Vithoulkas amongst many others (although, also according to Peter Morrell, Vithoulkas denied it - for some unknown reason).

During this period many South African Homeopaths, Naturopaths and Osteopaths studied and graduated from the Anglo-American Institute of Drugless Therapy (20 Talbot ave, Bounemouth, Hants, Great Britain), under Dr.J.Brown Neil ND(USA) PhD.

Also during this period appeared the first Afrikaans books on Homeopathy, "Selfgenesing Tuis aan Huis met die Biochemiese Middels" and "Selfgenesing deur Homeopatie Tuis aan Huis" written by A.J.Coerste (Oupa Boelie). Although these books were written as self-help guides for home use, to many Afrikaans speaking old-school Homeopaths, (and all Homeopathic training courses were available in English only) these were an invaluable reference.

In 1969, Dr.Lionell Mathews started the South African Institute of Naturopathy and the International College of Osteopathy. He later also established the South African Institute of Homoeopathy. The training material of all three these courses where in fact the same courses offered by the Anglo-American Institute of Drugless Therapy. Dr.Mathews developed the school further and during the early 1970's established the Natural Therapeutic College, that also trained Homoeopaths, Naturopaths, Osteopaths and Herbalists. From there developed the well-known SA Faculty of Homoeopathic Medicine that also operated from their premises in Bree street Johannesburg. While Lindlahr was probably the most renowned and most respected, the SA Faculty became the largest Homoeopathic School in South Africa where the majority of later Homoeopaths were trained during the 1970's. In the later years the SA Faculty moved from Bree street to Dr. Mathews's residence in Sandton from where many of the later students graduated. Many students will still remember the white pole fencing that lined the front of Dr. Mathews' home. Like most other schools at the time the South African Faculty of Homoeopathy offered a four year course in Homoeopathic Medicine.

The Homeopathic Medical College of South Africa (Johannesburg) was established soon after the SA Faculty. The three existing schools, Lindlahr, South African Faculty of Homoeopathy and Homeopathic Medical College of South Africa were fully accepted by the Ministry of Health in South and South West Africa for the practice of Homeopathic Medicine. The courses allowed successful students to register and practice in South Africa as homeopaths, and were primarily run as part-time courses over three to four years.

By 1974 there were several lesser known colleges running, including a number of correspondence courses. The Government, realising the need to formalise and standardise the training of Homoeopaths, stepped in to regulate the practice and training of Homoeopathy. The standards of training between the various schools varied considerably and the need to establish full-time residency courses was identified. This meant that the existing local schools had to be closed down. The schools were given some time to close and to allow enrolled students to complete their studies. By the end of 1982 all schools finally closed down.

As a matter of interest, by 1965 there were 49 Homeopaths in South Africa, yet by 1974, when the SA Government commenced with the registration process, there were more than 2,500 applying for the registration examinations. During 1974, the government established a registration procedure for those already in practice and following the compulsory National registration examination only about 350 homeopaths qualified for official registration. Those students registered with the recognised colleges were allowed to complete their studies and register, but the process allowed for no further entrance to new practitioners.

By having closed the registers it meant that any progress and further development of Homoeopathy had ceased. In 1982 a new Act, the Chiropractors, Homoeopaths and Allied Health Services Professions Act, 1982 (Act 63 of 1982) was passed, which established the Chiropractors, Homoeopaths and Allied Health Services Professions Council of South Africa as one of the five Statutory Health Professions Councils in SA. This council, under the said Act, provided statutory guidelines for education, allowing for new educational institutions to be established. The profession worked hard to convince Government, but the register was re-opened in 1985 in anticipation of the establishment of formal training at Technikon Natal.

Tremendous progress was made during the 1980's and in 1987 the Technikon Natal (later called the Durban University of Technology) Department of Homoeopathy opened it's doors to the first five year full-time Homoeopathic program in South Africa and paved the way for a dramatic rise in standards of Homoeopathic Training. Once again the profession came to the fore with assistance. A large amount of money was required for the establishment of the course. A special fund was established by the South African Homeopathic Association (SAHA). Many practitioners donated funds once off and others on a monthly basis. Dr.J.P.Prinsloo snr at the time donated a regular amount of R1000 per month. Companies like Natura donated up to R4000 per month. Another problem was obtaining teaching material. The medical schools refused to assist or provide any material and eventually Dr. Prinsloo donated a number of textbooks and eight bags of skeletons, bought from the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA), thanks to the help of the late Dr. C.J. du Preez

Five years later in 1992, Technikon Witwatersrand (now known as the University of Johannesburg) also started a course in Homoeopathy. Over the past thirty years Homoeopathic training in South Africa developed in gigantic leaps from adult-training of classical lay Homoeopaths to where these two schools now offer five-year full-time medico-scientific courses in homoeopathy, based upon the medical curriculum where practitioners graduate with the Masters Degree Technology-Homoeopathy M.Tech (Hom). With the establishment of these courses South Africa finally broke away from the classical lay-homoeopathy status and re-entered the realm of medico-clinical Homoeopathy as it had been before the 1930's. This set a new standard for the rest of the World. The new schools with their entrance requirements similar to the medical schools was a dramatic step-up from the previous Homoeopathic schools that closed in 1982.

During the early 1990's Dr. David Lilley David Lilley MBChB, FFHom, LLCO (Internationally renowned Homeopath and son of the late Dr. Bill Lilley), together with Dr.Barkley Digby, started a part-time course of training for Medical Practitioners leading to membership of the British Faculty of Homeopathy M.F.Hom(UK). In 1996 Dr.Lilley formed the South African Homeopathic Medical Association (SAHMA), along with medical doctors who had completed the British Faculty of Homeopathy. (Read also Dr. David Lilley's article The History and Development of Homeopathy in South Africa)

Dr.David Lilley MBChB, FFHom, LLCO

The South African Faculty of Homoeopathy was established towards the end of the 1990's and is fully endorsed and recognised by the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa. Graduates are awarded the M.F.Hom(SA) and only Medical Practitioners registered for private practice with the Health Professions Council may follow the course. The SA Faculty course is the only part-time course allowed and considered for purposes of registration in South Africa, owing to the fact that only registered Medical Practitioners with their entrenched knowledge of the basic sciences, are allowed to enter the course.

In 2000 the Chiropractors, Homoeopaths and Allied Health Services Professions Act was amended to become the Allied Health Professions Act. The amendments made it compulsory also for medical practitioners to register as Homoeopathic Practitioners under the Allied Health Professions Council. During the subsequent "Grandfathering" process, medical practitioners who held the CEDH from France and the M.F.Hom(UK), as a once-off opportunity, were also registered.

In 1995, through an Act of Parliament, all persons registered as Practitioners in the TBVC States were registered under the relevant South African Professional Health Councils.

In 1996 a once-off window of opportunity process was launched to address discrepancies with practitioners who could not register before, due to the closing of the registers in the 1970's and "Aggrieved Practitioners" who were discriminated against by the previous Government were afforded the opportunity to apply for registration. This also allowed Homoeopaths who had qualified during the later years from the "old private schools" to register. The process involved the Chiropractors, Homoeopaths and Allied Health Services Professions Council (which later became known as the Allied Health Professions Council of SA - AHPCSA), and all existing Homoeopathic Associations, e.g. HAPA, NAPASA, NTAHPA, SAHA, as well as smaller role-players. It was an inclusive process that required scrutiny of all applications by an accrediting committee consisting of representatives from council and all the associations. Because the process was based on the registration requirements of 1974, the opportunity was also used as a means to ensure that all these new applicants were up to standard and an intensive two year training program was implemented as a part-requirement for full registration of these practitioners. This most commendable, innovative process introduced by the council in 1996 to address some of the many wrongs of the past came to an end at the end of 1998. A range of Medical Specialists in various fields of expertise lectured at the highest level. Neurologists, Pathologists, Cardiologists, Dermatologists and many others. The select list of lecturers included Dr.J.P.Prinsloo(snr). Although it was officially a two year program from 1996 to 1998, a large number of practitioners requested Dr.Prinsloo to continue lecturing, which he did until shortly before passing away in June 2002.

The 1995, 1996 and 2000 processes led to a variety of qualifications to be included in the Homoeopathic register. By and large most Homoeopathic Practitioners registered today hold the D.Hom, M.Dip.(Hom), M.D.Hom., M.Tech(Hom), Dip.Hom., while a number of practitioners were registered with the R.S.Hom., M.F.Hom(UK), M.F.Hom(SA), CEDH. A few practitioners are also registered with the qualifications N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor). The reason for this is that a number of old Colleges offered only ND's with Homoeopathy as major. Qualifications from India include, M.D.H. and M.D.H.Sc. Russian qualifications include the C.H.N.

Much was done during the years to improve the standard and education of registered homeopaths, mostly by way of congresses, seminars, lectures and even council instituted training. Between 1996 and 1999 some 200 homeopaths were put through training of the highest level to ensure that they were equiped to meet the needs of the future. The training successfully upgraded these practitioners to the modern-day level of homeopathic training. Between 1998 and 1999 more than 150 homeopaths underwent the most up-to-date training in conventional pharmacology. The purpose with this training was not intended to convert or allow Homeopaths to prescribe conventional medical medicines, but rather for them to be fully educated about it so as to better deal with problems associated with these medicines and understand the treatment protocols of the modern-day medical profession.

As can be seen training in South Africa developed in great strides over the past thirty years and today Homoeopathic registration in South Africa allows practitioners privileges and rights similar to those of medical practitioners. Homoeopathic practitioners are recognised as a primary contact profession same as Medical Practitioners. Legally homeopaths may carry out any mental or physical examination and they are legally compelled to provide a medical diagnosis. This being the case, only the full-time training at the level of a Masters Degree in Homoeopathy or SA Qualifications Standards Authority (SAQA) and AHPCSA approved equivalent qualifications are allowed or recognised in SA. Graduates become eligible for registration once the internship has been completed successfully.

The five year M.Tech(Hom) is a full-time medico-scientific course in classical / clinical / modern / conventional Homoeopathy, general medicine, allopathic pharmacology as well as Homoeo-pharmaceutics, which is a legal requirement for registration. Medical Practitioners registered with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) may opt for the part-time course offered by the SA Faculty of Homoeopathy.

It should be noted that, whereas the vast majority of International Homoeopathic schools still offer non-medical skills-oriented (lay) Homoeopathic training, South Africa offers Professional Training at a level required for the practising of Homoeopathy as a Primary Contact Health Profession in accordance with the legislated Scope of Practice of such profession. This being the case Distance Education, Correspondence and Adult-training or Part-Time Courses, from whatever institution in the World, are not recognised for purposes of registration and such applicants will not be considered.

In terms of the Allied Health Professions Act 1982 (Act 63 of 1982) any person wishing to prescribe Homoeopathic Medicine or practice Homoeopathy in South Africa MUST be registered as a Homoeopathic Practitioner with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa. This includes Medical Practitioners and it is for this reason that dual registration is allowed for Medical Practitioners with both the Health Professions Council (HPCSA) and the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPCSA).

The most important names in the development of Homeopathic Education in South Africa must be:
Dr. Noel Puddephatt who pioneered Homeopathic training in South Africa
Dr. William Henry (Bill) Lilley who founded Lindlahr College and formalised Homeopathic Training in South Africa
Dr. Lionell Mathews has to be recognised for having trained the largest number of Homeopathic Practitioners during the early 1970's
Dr. Peter Frazer (1942 to 2009) who piloted the Department of Homeopathy at Technikon Natal from 1989
Dr. David Lilley who founded South African Faculty of Homoeopathy and formalised Homeopathic training for Medical Practitioners in South Africa

Internet Sources:

Practising Homoeopathy within the boarders of South Africa,
in any way whatsoever, without being legally registered
is a criminal offence.


Any Homeopath's registration status can be varified with either the
or the
Homoeopathic Association of South Africa (HSA)

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