Edendale Hospital celebrates

2014-01-22 00:00

THE build-up to Edendale Hospital’s 60th anniversary this year will begin on Wednesday, February 5, with a lecture in memory of the hospital’s first superintendent, Dr John Parker.

The lecture will be presented by the hospital’s first black chief matron, Maud Monaheng, who started her nursing career in 1955. Interviewed yesterday, Monaheng, now 81 years old, said she was a very junior nurse when she worked under Parker, who she recalled was a very hard- working man.

“I was very junior. He did not really talk to me, but I have a clear memory of him as a hard worker,” Monaheng said.

The former matron will talk on the early history of the hospital and how far it has come.

She will also talk about how the hospital influenced development in the surrounding area. She added that the hospital was the first building to be electrified and seeing the lights blazing influenced many young men and women from the surrounding area to become nurses there.

Monaheng said she was only appointed chief matron in the 1980s. Before that, there was job reservation and a ceiling on how high black nurses could rise in their careers.

She said she was looking forward to meeting many of her former colleagues at the lecture.

Pat Bhengu, one of the organisers of the hospital’s 60th anniversary celebrations, urged retired nurses who worked at the hospital to attend the first lecture on February 5 at 11 am at the Edendale Hospital Nursing College.

Bhengu said they were still looking for family members of other key personnel who were there when the hospital first opened.

These include the families of the first surgeon, Dr R.D. le Roux; the first full-time pathologist, Dr W. Laurie; the first orthopaedic surgeon, Dr David Biggs; the first full-time specialist in Radiology, Dr J. Collanbrander, and other specialists Dr W. Phillips, Dr Lithgow and Dr J.D. Woods.

Dr Parker’s family has been located, as his granddaughter, Bonnie Parker, is a newspaper designer at The Witness.

Families can contact the Edendale hospital public relations officer Samke Mncube on 033 395 4020 or e-mail

mzilankatha.samke@gmail.com or send e-mails to nalini@witness.co.za, which will be forwarded to Mncube.

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