Many of UKZN’s Medical School Class of ’69 who attended their 50th reunion function in Durban recently are still in active practice.
They include Dr Farouk Haffejee, Dr Ahmed Salejee, Dr Percy Naidoo, Dr Rajend Maharaj, Dr Titus Moghoro, Dr Bala Naidoo, Dr Les Ananth, Dr Steve Ramasuvha, Dr Thomas Rambau, Dr Simon Khoza, Dr Chandracant Manga, Dr Pilisa Shweni and Dr Krish Thangavelu.
The doctors were shown how the Medical School – now known as the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine – has changed over the years but also how many things remain the same!
They were studying at Medical School during the time of well-known struggle individuals such as Steve Biko, Dr Ben Ngubane and Dr Ronney Green-Thompson. It was a very difficult era in the history of South Africa – the Nationalist Party was in power and enforcing repressive laws that limited the movement of African, Indian and Coloured students at the school and also after graduation as they were only permitted to work in certain areas.
Many young doctors had their dreams of specialising shattered because of the limitation of movement and access to posts which were often in Whites-only hospitals. African, Indian and Coloured doctors were not allowed to work in Whites-only hospitals, as they were not allowed to treat White people or give orders to White nurses and junior doctors.
The reunion was a very emotional event as many of those in attendance had not seen each other for 50 years. They exchanged stories and shared experiences and watched a video message from the Dean of Clinical Studies at the Medical School, Professor Ncoza Dlova.
Words: Lihle Sosibo