Prof. Ronnie Elsdon-Dew (1909-1984)
Prof. Richard Reinecke (1924-1993)
Photo credit: University of Pretoria
The society was founded in 1971 by Professor Ronnie Elsdon-Dew. He became the first president of PARSA and was assisted by Professor Richard Reinecke (vice-president) and Professor Peter Fripp (secretary and treasurer). By 1973, the number of members had grown to 28, mostly from the veterinary profession and to a lesser extent from medical fields. In 1974 there was a drive to obtain new members.
In 1975, when Prof. Reinecke assumed the position of president, the numbers had swelled to 48. Prof. Reinecke's presidency saw the society focus on improving the level of parasitological education at various institutions.
In 1979, Dr. Bigalke took over the reigns of the society. At the end of his term of office, the society had grown to 63 members and was holding at least one scientific meeting a year. There were no student members in the society however.
In 1981, Professor Fripp became President. His three year term was marked by PARSA hosting the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at a conference held during the 80th Anniversary celebrations of the University of the Witwatersrand, the introduction of a parasitology competition at school level administered through the Annual Science Expo and a large membership of 92. By 1989, the numbers of members had grown to 150.
At present the Society has approximately 180 members. Although most of the members are from South Africa, countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America are also represented. The past presidents of the society can also be seen here.
Recently, PARSA celebrated its 50th conference and Prof. Banie Penzhorn summarised the last 50 years in a special presentation at the 2022 PARSA conference (joint conference with the 4th International Congress on Parasites of Wildlife). The slides of that presentation are provided below: