Lucy Lloyd

Lucy Catherine Lloyd was the first woman in South Africa to be awarded an honorary doctorate, conferred in 1913 by the University of the Cape of Good Hope (which later became Unisa).

Lucy Lloyd, with her brother-in-law Wilhelm Bleek, recorded for posterity an ethnographic account of a nearly extinct culture. Across more than 12,000 pages, Lloyd and Bleek documented the language, rituals and folklore of the /Xam and !Kung San (the indigenous inhabitants of southern Africa), who evoke a universe without firm boundaries between people, nature and the spirit world. Lloyd was born in England and raised in Durban, where her father was posted as ‘Colonial Chaplin’. She later followed her sister Jemima (Bleek’s fiancé and then wife) to Cape Town. Bleek was already an established linguist and enlisted Lloyd’s help in interviewing /Xam captives held — following conflicts with white settlers — at Cape Town’s Breakwater Prison. Lloyd proved “very able”; she became an acclaimed anthropological researcher in her own right and a leading figure among South African folklorists.