The life and times of Africa’s First Lady of Arachnology, Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman
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Anna Sophia Dippenaar-Schoeman (Ansie) was born in 1948 in Roodepoort, Gauteng, where her parents were shop owners. She is the middle child of three, the siblings being an older sister and a younger brother. Her parents moved to Bronkhorstspruit at the start of her secondary education, where they bought the farm Onverwacht. Much of Ansie’s time here was spent outdoors, helping her father on the farm. Biology was also her best subject when she matriculated at Erasmus High School in 1965. Her aptitude for biology and love of the outdoors set the stage for a remarkable and productive career in science. She started work at the then Department of Agriculture [this department subsequently became the ARC (Agricultural Research Council) in 1994] as a technical assistant in 1967. She was appointed as a team member of a 5-year Dieldrin termite project, where fieldwork was undertaken near Dendron in the Limpopo Province, Pongola in KwaZulu-Natal and Edenville in the Free State, and spent two-thirds of the year sampling spiders as part of the project. She realised that she needed to obtain a degree if she wanted to advance her career and she enrolled at UNISA for a BSc degree with Zoology and Psychology as her main subjects (Zoology was for her work and Psychology for her colleagues) and completed it in 1971.
- RESEARCH: Foord, S