Groote Schuur celebrates 85th anniversary in style

Groote Schuur nursing staff enjoying the 85th anniversary concert.

Singers Nhoza Sitsholwana, Keanu Harker and Karin Kortje performed for hundreds of Groote Schuur Hospital staff on Tuesday at a concert held to celebrate the institution’s 85th anniversary.

The performers were supported by the Winston Siljeur Band.

Groote Schuur’s COO, Dr Bernadette Eick, said the hospital had always been her “home”.

“It’s a privilege to celebrate this occasion, from working in the old hospital to the new hospital, it’s special to be part of this history.”

Building of the hospital started in 1927 and it opened in 1938. At the time, there was only enough nursing staff for 450 of the 850 planned beds. It was only after World War II that the hospital became fully functional.

The hospital has been a leading innovator in health care in the country.

In 1967, Professor Christiaan Barnard lead a surgical team at Groote Schuur to perform the world’s first heart transplant, and the country’s first bone-marrow transplant was performed there in 1974.

In 2008, the Groote Schuur Hospital surgical team was the first in the world to transplant a kidney from an HIV-positive donor to an HIV-positive recipient, a procedure that still continues today.

A neuroscience centre opened at the hospital in 2020, and, in November last year, the hospital opened a wellness centre for its staff.

Nurse Ghalieb Adams, 56, of Strandfontein, who has worked at the hospital for 34 years, said he was glad to be part of its history.

“I am always happy to see the patients heal, and the hospital has always given me support. I am happy here, and that’s why I stayed so long here.”

Clerk Thamnesia Karating, 36, of Mitchell’s Plain, has been at the hospital for eight years and said, “It’s been an amazing experience. I don’t regret a single year that I have worked here. Not only do they treat us right, they give us concerts like this that we are enjoying.”

Groote Schuur nursing staff from left, Myrtle Basliaanse, Ghalieb Adams and Hailey Roberts at the hospital’s 85th anniversary celebration.
Keanu Harker performs for the hospital staff.
Karin Kortje shows her vocal range.
Many of the staff sat under the tree in the courtyard to avoid the heat.