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Shining a light on the Unsung Heroes of SA’s natural history

The Coleoptera Department

Mathews Kekole Mathabathe was born on 17 January 1934. In 1959 he started to work as a preparator at the Transvaal Museum. He worked at the Museum until he retired at the age of 65 in 1999. He was the first preparator in the Beetle Department.
     Under the leadership of Dr Charles Koch, Mathabathe helped to grow the department with his impeccable preparation and mounting of beetles.
     Mathabathe not only mounted beetles but also joined Koch on most of the field trips and spent many months at the Namib Desert Research Station, in Namibia.

  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators
  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators
  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators
  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators

     Dr Endrödy-Younga succeeded Koch in 1975, and Mathabathe continued to mount beetles with great enthusiasm and perfection.
     On average, he mounted 10 000 beetles per year. His contribution is a valuable asset to the beetle fauna of Southern Africa.
     After his retirement in 1999, he went to the Plant Protection Research Institute and worked for ten more years, preparing beetles for research purposes, because, as he said, ‘I miss the beetles.’

Suzan Mametse joined the Museum in June 1984 and retired in 2016 after 32 years of service.

Jan Legwai started working in the Coleoptera Department in June 1986. He resigned after about 25 years to start his own business.

Through the contributions of all three collection attendants, the beetle collection in this museum is a world-class centre for Southern African Coleoptera, which attracts the interest of many researchers, both nationally and internationally.

  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators
  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators
  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators
  • DITSONG National Museum of Natural History unsung heroes curators

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