Who was Schalk Willem Theron?
Schalk Willem Theron was born on 2 September 1912, the second child of the headmaster of Mooirivier Primary School in Potchefstroom, and passed away at the ripe old age of 103 in 2015.
He matriculated during the depression years and due to the bad economic situation was unemployed for three years. During this time he wrote plays and together with Dirk de Villiers and other young unemployed friends formed the Jaats (Johannesburg Afrikaanse Amateur Spelers) theatrical company.
In 1935 he joined the civil service and subsequently worked in the departments of Native Affairs, Education and Bantu Affairs in various cities in the Union of South Africa, including Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
He was appointed by the then administrator of the Orange Free State, Sand du Plessis, as head of drama of
Pacofs (Performing Arts Council of the Orange Free State) in 1964 and later become chief executive officer.
He also acted in a couple of films and did some TV and radio work.
Theron retired in 1978 and moved to Oubos in the Eastern Cape, keeping himself busy with nature conservation matters.
The park warden granted him permission to patrol the northern section of the Tsitsikamma National Park on a regular basis and thus he became the first unofficial honorary ranger of SANParks. He never married.
At the age of 99 he changed his will on the advice of close family members Mechiel and Rinette Boshoff, stipulating that a trust had to be formed and all proceeds were to be used to benefit students in nature conservation through bursaries.