Raising the Yellow Flag: Legal Regulation to Contain the Spread of Smallpox and Other Contagious Diseases in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek

Author Liezl Wildenboer

ISSN: 2411-7870
Affiliations: Senior lecturer, Department of Jurisprudence, College of Law, University of South Africa
Source: Fundamina, Volume 27 Issue 2, p. 87-124


Although the Cape had experienced frequent outbreaks of smallpox and other epidemics since the early eighteenth century, the first smallpox epidemic only started in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) much later, in the 1890s. This contribution takes a closer look, first, at the regulation of the medical profession in the ZAR, and, secondly, at the government’s attempts to prevent the spread of the disease with the promulgation of the Contagious Diseases Law 12 of 1895. That law also attempted to prevent the spread of other diseases, such as syphilis and leprosy, although the latter would eventually be regulated in terms of the Leprosy Law 15 of 1897.