Alphen Hill Road, Wynberg,
Western Cape, South Africa
(021) 799 1000
In August each year we take the opportunity to appreciate women in our lives and in our society. I think it is safe to say that the formidable, caring, compassionate, determined, visionary, faithful and fearless nature we see in so many of our women, makes South Africa and the world a better place.
I have been privileged to have women of this nature in my life: my mother and mother-in-law have inspired me to be better man. My wife, Miriam, has shown me how to love and live each day pursuing the passions in my life. I have experienced personal growth through the mentorship of women who have modelled what it is to be a person of character and integrity and, while I too often fail in these areas, they inspire me to be better than I was before.
Whilst we celebrate the wonders of the women in our lives, we also remember the devastation that gender-based violence has on the foundations of our society. The way in which some women in our society are treated is unconscionable. The vulnerable girls and women who access our Clinical Forensics Unit is a reminder of how far we have to go to see all people truly recognised and respected as equal partners in this life.
As a male I need to reflect on how I contribute to the toxic masculinity so pervasive in society. It would be hypocritical of me to criticize the perpetrators of GBV without taking a hard look at how I contribute to the attitudes and behaviours that lead to misguided beliefs about the value of women. If I want to see a true change in society I need to readjust my beliefs and my actions so that I don’t just act in non-harmful ways, but that I call out those who intend to do harm. The harm we see in places like the CFU starts with sexist attitudes and comments, the seemingly ‘harmless’ cat-calling, the jokes amongst men about harmful stereotypes of women. It starts with what we say, how we say it and whether we stand by and do nothing whilst our sisters suffer.
This month I commit once again to becoming a better man, husband, father, brother and colleague. For all the men reading this, I call on you to show true courage and to stand against those in our hospital and in our community who spread the attitudes and actions that, if unstopped, will destroy our society.
I commit to being a role model for my three sons; to show them what it means to be men who love, respect and value women as partners in this world.
To the special women I live and work with – thank you for inspiring me to be better in everything I do. I commend you for your courage and for your perseverance as we strive for a better world and for being the example we so desperately need.
Congratulations to Mkhuli Blaweni and
wife Namhla Blaweni on the birth
of their baby, Alunamida Blaweni.
We congratulate Yvonne Nelukalo on achieving her LLB degree
We say goodbye to Dr Nasief Van Der Schyff.
See our interview in this month’s publication for more information about Dr Van Der Schyff’s future plans.
Please tell me more about your department
We are 17 permanent porters and located in different departments. Our workstation is located by the old casualty department. We have a day shift team and a night shift team and porters that work Monday to Friday.
Daily we have six porters on duty, two in the x ray department, one in the theatre department and three porters working in the other departments in the hospital.
What is the Staffing Structure of your unit?
I’m the only supervisor in the department. In total we have 17 permanent porters.
What service do you offer at Victoria Hospital?
We transport patients to different departments in the hospital and to their private vehicles. Some of our duties include:
What are your operating hours?
Where can we find the Porters Unit? Where in Victoria Hospital are you situated?
Please describe what a typical day is like in the Porters unit at VHW
We are very busy every day, as there are clinics running daily. EC patients need to be transported to different departments and the wards have discharge patients. Patients that need lifting out beds and need to be returned to bed.
Three porters do these departments everyday – EC, SSU, GIT, ECHO, SMF, SMM, ICU, C3, C2, C1, WW, day ward, A&B, F&G, these three porters running this departments and there are days that it becomes so busy but we try to keep every department happy. The X ray porters are busy daily with three clinics: CT, ultrasound x ray clinic. We fetch patients from their wards and return the patients to their wards when they are done.
What are the challenges that you face?
What are your short- term and long-term goals for your unit?
Our short-term goal is to obtain a better workstation and more staff. Our long-term goal is to obtain more staff and to deliver a faster and better service.
Any other interesting facts that you think is relevant to your department?
As we bid farewell to Dr Van Der Schyff, we take a moment to pause with him before he leaves.
Can you tell us who Nasief van der Schyff is?
I am a child of the Cape Flats, who grew up in Strandfontein. I am a husband, a father, a soccer coach and I’ve been a consultant physician at Victoria Hospital since 2010 and head of the Medicine Department since November 2013. I love teaching – my passion is educating, uplifting and mentoring. I get a great sense of joy seeing others develop whether on the soccer field or in the hospital.
You’re on to your next adventure, can you share more about it and what made you decide to take this path?
I will be undertaking a fellowship program in gastroenterology. It is a 3-year training program and I hope to be a Gastroenterologist when I am done. I’ve been at Vic for 12 years and I want to grow and develop in a field I haven’t had much exposure to. I know I’ll bring that skills back when I have completed the program.
What will you miss most about Vic?
I will miss the people. I think I’ve gotten to know most of the staff – admin, porters, cleaners and clinical staff. I will also miss the sense of family and community within the hospital. I’ve worked at many hospitals and Victoria Hospital is unique in this regard.
A message to the staff
I will miss you all dearly. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work here for so long. I thank the team for assisting me and working with me. We have been through many highs and lows, especially during COVID-19 and we came out on the other side. A key focus was looking out for each other.
The medicine department has gone through many changes – from the way we function in the various wards, implementing a team-based system, adapting the out-patient department and it was all done in an effort to improve patient care. The medicine department is a department of teaching and clinical excellence. It is one of the most respected departments in the country. This would not be possible without the support we had.
Mothers, daughters, gogo’s and girls: all dreamy eyed once, some teary eyed and sometimes fear filled eyes, some glaring and daring.
With womanhood comes many things that fill us with joy, wonder, excitement and laughter. The pure pleasure of an unborn kicking in your own belly, a wet kiss from your toddler and the joy seeing your children developing into their own beings.
Yet, it also brings with the vulnerability the threat of intimidation and abuse. Few are spared this. With a lifetime chance of 1 in 3 women to be victims of Gender Based Violence, it affects us all.
Gender Based Violence refers to physical, emotional and financial abuse in a relationship where there is a power discrepancy. Generally, this refers to men as being in the stronger position and women more in the weaker position. There are many more variants. Intimate partner violence is rife in our society, sadly even normalised. Rape and sexual abuse are hidden, and the victim often ostracized.
One might wonder whether there is hope in this country where things appear to be getting worse by the day. I however firmly believe that Gender Based Violence can be stopped, turned around and that the community, as a whole, can heal, nurture itself and function on a level never seen before. I believe that the secret lies with the family. A healthy family where parents assist each other and unconditionally love their children. We should really examine our ways and consider whether we as parents are not establishing violence, dominance and paternalism whilst intending order and structure.
Early conversations with your children about sex and how to safeguard themselves can truly save their lives. Start talking with your children about sex when you see two insects paring using language that is non offensive, but terminology that you can build on. If you start early enough, they will accept the topic as normal, like eating and drinking. It is only after the age of seven that they might start to feel shy discussing sex. Teach them the golden rule that nobody should touch the parts of their body that their swimming costume covers and ensure a mutual trust with them.
Gender Based Violence requires a whole of society approach and I suspect that we have been missing the real problem thus far. With the Optimus study in 2016 amongst almost 10 000 children in South Africa, more boys (36.8%) reported sexual abuse than girls (33.9%). A pandemic of silently hurting boys growing into hurting men who in turn hurt women and girls.
The women of 9 August 1956 showed tremendous strength by taking a non-violent stand against oppression. They stood silent for 30 minutes whilst handing over their petitions. Silence can indeed be golden.
We celebrate our Women this month, fulfilling our roles peacefully, in strength and with dignity whilst facing the GBV enemy straight in the eyes. We can and will change the world into a better place, looking after our boys and girls. We can dream!
Speaking to our children about sex and body safety is often a fear-filled event for parents. The mere thought of introducing your child to such a difficult topic, leads to parents procrastinating this conversation. For ages, “The Talk” was done during early adolescence, sometimes by parents, often by teachers in an awkward class at school. Research is now showing us the importance of replacing “The Talk” with a life-long conversation. This conversation can already start during toddlerhood. The simple act of naming your child’s genitalia by their medically appropriate names, can begin the lifelong conversation that can help your child to develop body-confidence, which in turn can assist them when pressured into sexual acts that they do not wish to participate in.
Think about this: Knowledge is power. As your child’s parent, you can be the gatekeeper to the knowledge your child has access to. Using the tips I will be sharing below, you can focus on becoming your child’s source of knowledge about sex, which will empower them tremendously, as they navigate the tricky world of sexual knowledge.
The average age at which children are exposed to sexual content online is currently estimated to be 10 years old. Some are exposed later, some are exposed earlier. The golden rule here is that to initiate the conversation about sex with your child, eight is to late. Starting in toddlerhood, you can name their genitalia anatomically correct. If this is done matter of fact, and with no shame, children do not have discomfort using the words penis or vagina! (The discomfort is entirely our own!) Before they enter primary school, you can start talking to them about the basics of sex, i.e. To make a baby inside a mommy’s tummy, the mommy and daddy get together in a loving way, and then a baby is created in her tummy from a little egg that the mommy has, and a small seed that the daddy puts inside her.
As your child gets older, you can become more detailed, and by the time your child is in his or her teens, sex should be a comfortable topic of conversation, so that your children see you as the authority on the matter, and they will ask you for advice.
Stay medically factual
Take all emotion out of the conversation. Explain the biological mechanics and use a neutral tone of voice when explaining what is what. If your children ask questions, answer them medically correct and factual. Do not dismiss your child’s questions. If they ask something which is not at that moment possible to answer (i.e. your teen is asking about oral sex in the presence of your toddler), the golden rule is to tell them that you will answer their question when you and your oldest is alone, and then be consistent: when you get the chance: answer their question!
Focus on the connection
The connection between you and your child will be the vehicle which makes this conversation possible. Build a strong bond, make sure you are honest and transparent (age-appropriately) about most topics. This allows your child to trust you, and see you as the authority that you are in their lives.
A great tip I saw somewhere is that we must explain to our children that sex isn’t meek acquiescence, it must be a vibrant enthusiasm! If your daughter is not excited to have sex, it is a NO! And if a boy is trying to have sex and a girl meekly says yes, that should be interpreted as a no. Too many teens end up having sex out of guilt and are consequently traumatized by their experience. Consent means having all the knowledge, and making the decision on your own.
Practice consent in your home by respecting all physical boundaries your child may have. Even if your are just tickling them in a playful manner, when they say stop or No, respect them and Stop. This teaches them that their “No” has power.
Having knowledge about sex can be empowering, and it is time we empower our children. If they don’t hear about sex from us, they will learn about it from their peers, and I don’t know about you, but I would rather my child get correct sexual education from me, as opposed to a warped perspective from their peers.
You, dear parent, are your child’s greatest ally when it comes to their sexual knowledge. May you carry that responsibility with enthusiasm and grace.
On behalf of the pharmacy team, I would like to extend our gratitude to all the attendees this morning who has made the time to honor, celebrate and pay tribute to a legendary pharmacist and exemplary human being, Mr. Mark Paterson, who we tragically lost a few days ago.
There has also been a flood of condolence messages via email, texts, flowers, visits, thoughts and prayers which shows the impact that Mark had on people, so a heartfelt thank you for that.They are appreciated. While preparing this tribute, I came across an interesting quote by Maya Angelou, and I quote:
“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased” (unquote)
Reflecting on the events of this week I couldn’t help but think of Mark and the indelible footprint
he has left on the lives and hearts of all that he knew, both in his professional and personal
He was a free spirited, honest, and kind soul whose easy-going personality and humility came across in everything he did from simple things like smiling and greeting or a hand wave or just randomly checking up on you. Mark started at Victoria Hospital in 2013 where he took up the post as pharmacy manager. He was a visionary, a strategic thinker, and with great enthusiasm revolutionized the practice of pharmacy at this facility.
As a team leader, he generously gave of his knowledge in whatever way, mostly by simplifying life, be it by sharing relevant journal articles, assisting with problem solving, promoting continuous professional development and even introducing the concept of Dropbox, Evernote and Twist digital applications. He was always open to fresh, innovative ideas and thinking. Mark as the energetic and inspirational leader …committed himself to his staff and other professionals by being hands on when it came to efficient flow of work and on most days when there would be piles of prescriptions to get through, he would logically and systematically find his place on the floor and in the true spirit of teamwork help clear the waiting room and steer us back on course.
His expertise in pharmacy related issues and immaculate mentorship skills were filtered down to doctors, medical interns, and dozens of pharmacy students from the University of the Western Cape that come across to Victoria Hospital as part of their externship program every year. Mark has also been an efficient tutor to pharmacist interns and pharmacy assistants over the years, polishing and imparting necessary confidence and skills so that they are ready to face the challenges of being a pharmacist unsupervised in their new place of work.
On a more personal level, Mark was a very accommodating and sympathetic supervisor. He was never too busy for a query or a request and in fact would patiently listen, understand and offer fair advice. Over the years, Mark touched the lives of everyone he met in some way or the other…during those interactions we also got to know about him and his family, his hobbies, and interests…
He was a devoted husband to Jacquelyn and loving father to his two precious little girls Hannah and Olivia. He would often narrate frank, funny, and wholesome stories of the moments he shared with his daughters: be it plaiting their hair or getting them ready for school…in fact he was a real ‘girl dad’ kind of person. He had a lovely sense of humor and would share his “being a dad” experiences with Mkhululi who was still to be a dad. Encouraging him and warning him of “parenting pitfalls”. And even suggested that he name the baby “Baby Mark”.
He loved cooking, quite the chef I would think, prepping his ingredient list in advance and would often share ideas and tips – in fact he was so organized with all his recipes on Evernote that he would put us ladies to shame.
Mark also loved his sport, be it spending a day on the golf course, surfing, or swimming during lunch breaks…he was always motivating and cheering Nusrit to go for gold in swimming and running and counting those steps to qualify for a smoothie at the Gym.
We shall miss the sound of the spoon tinkling against the jar of overnight oats that Mark would have every day at 10am …a sound that we have all become accustomed to as Riyana pointed out …it’s just part of our day…
And of course, him trying to convince Nurahn to join the “overnight oats revolution”.
We shall miss those random conversations between Wardah and Mark about the latest movies on Netflix and all things tech related. We shall miss him chatting to Mkhululi and Nurahn about last night’s soccer match and debating as to which team won or which team is the best…is it Manchester United or Liverpool? He would have been pleased to know that Liverpool won the FA cup and continue to support them until they lose.
We shall miss those “where are the bathroom keys?” debates … is it Tammy or is it maybe …? Mark.?
We shall miss those conversations between Nurahn, Riyana and Mark about kids pick up runs and weekend family getaways. We shall miss our Superman Mark who would carry heavy boxes for Carmelita. We shall miss Mark and Madeleine’s banter about stock and his gentlemanly interactions with Herbert. We shall miss Mark checking up on the progress of our 2022 babies, Sarah our intern and Kelly our pharmacist assistant.
We shall miss having Mark at our tea table eagerly waiting for a slice of cake or two, especially Fatimas cupcakes or even a Bar one chocolate which he loved. And then, just as things get busy and exciting and the pace quickens …things also get quiet and calm…Mark valued the silence, the stillness, and the peace ….
almost as if a need for balance… looking forward to just reading a book or having a glass of wine …
This week has been incredibly difficult for all of us and all of you, I know. Our lives are suddenly empty of this intelligent, vibrant, and friendly individual who will be immensely missed. Our sorrow might only slightly be lessened with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know him, share a space with him and to have worked with him.
Our prayer for you Mark:
May your soul rest in eternal peace.
May you always be illuminated by divine light.
May your legacy live on in all the people’s lives that you have touched and taught.
I was fortunate enough to work one on one with Tabisa. She was a delight to have around and to share an office with. She was always singing, always dancing (even with no music) and always full of joy. I can’t remember a time when she was unhappy, angry, sad or overwhelmed. She was a blessing and a huge encouragement to me as I transitioned with difficulty into my new role here at Victoria Hospital. I remember her often telling me to not allow the devil to steal my joy and that I should refuse to be frustrated because I am victorious in the Lord.
Tabs was brave, incredibly accomplished and perfectly suited to her job. She was so intuitive and could easily suss people out. She always knew when her patients were being dishonest. With her abilities and years of experience she was such an asset to our Social Work Department and the Paeds Department.
Madiegah and I had the privilege of spending much of the last week of her life with her. We were able to sit with her, speak to her, pray for her and ensure she knew how loved she was. The void she has left in our hearts and in our office is difficult to bear. Losing her was so unexpected and difficult to process. We still expect to hear her voice as she comes down the passage. We pray that the good work she did here at Victoria Hospital will remain as her legacy.
Tabsi, we know you are safe with our Jesus.
Until we meet again.
During this month we celebrate women, thus in this article,
I explore the wisdom of a few influential women in the world,
drawing out three key messages from some memorable quotations
that can help all of us to grow as individuals and as a society.
Love and kindness
20th Century humanitarian Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who became famous for devoting her life to the impoverished and the dying in India. In the context of her reputation for exercising self-less compassion, she taught us something about unconditional love and kindness. In her words, she said, “Intense love does not measure, it just gives,” and, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”, and with regard to kindness, she wisely argued that, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless”. Amelia Earhart, first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, echoed this statement, highlighting how kindness can create a positive ripple effect. She said “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
Wisdom from wounds
Loving kindness, and compassion in particular, is often a response to suffering. While suffering is generally viewed negatively, many thought-leaders have highlighted that the seeds of wisdom are embedded in our pain. As the American philanthropist Oprah Winfrey says, “Turn your wounds into wisdom”. Wisdom can be obtained not only from schooled knowledge, good experiences and good judgment, but also results from the knowledge we develop from being aware of what is happening in the world, from our own and other’s painful experiences, and through learning from our own and other’s mistakes. Pema Chödrön, an internationally renowned Buddhist nun, also underlines this message, arguing that, “Instead of failure and regret being the seed of self-loathing, it can become the seed of compassion.”
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist, speaking particularly to and for those who have experienced oppression in South Africa, argued that we need to start with ourselves in our quest to be freed from our chains. “If you are to free yourselves you must break the chains of oppression yourselves. Only then can we express our dignity, only when we have liberated ourselves can we co-operate with other groups.” Graca Machel, international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and key member of the global group of Elders, also emphasizes women’s empowerment, saying, “Whether economically, politically, or socially, women are not passive victims of abuse, but agents of change whose empowerment and liberation will free our societies from the psychological shackles of oppression”. Megan Markle, actress and now Duchess of Sussex, who is involved in an United Nations Programme focusing on women’s empowerment, also speaks to women empowerment by saying “Women don’t need to find their voice, they have a voice, and they need to feel empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
In summary, what we can learn from these women, whatever our gender, includes: the importance of developing loving kindness; the knowledge that our wounds can provide us with wise guidance in our lives; and a commitment to freeing ourselves from any chains of oppression, embracing our voice, and becoming a change agent instead of a victim, contributing to a caring and just society for all.
1-Sep ISAKS JB
2-Sep RAE MN
2-Sep MAFENUKA NB
2-Sep KAMTENI BM
5-Sep EDWARDS PC
6-Sep STEAD DMS
6-Sep SITSHONGO Z
6-Sep GWEGWE T
8-Sep TSHAYINCA B
8-Sep KETTLES MR
9-Sep CARELSE F
9-Sep ABRAHAMS N
10-Sep MTOLO PM
10-Sep HIRSCHOWITZ GI
11-Sep BEDJA A
11-Sep SISUSA NS
11-Sep GQIBA N
11-Sep MATIWANE AZ
12-Sep ENGELBRECHT M
13-Sep MENTOOR N
13-Sep KOSE MP
13-Sep MYENDE PZ
14-Sep FOURIE TS
14-Sep PETER ZN
14-Sep MKIVA N
14-Sep JITA BM
17-Sep SITTMANN JC
17-Sep KHAN FZ
18-Sep KHANYILE AR
19-Sep NDUDE NE
19-Sep JONES S
20-Sep DLOMO S
21-Sep SOBAMBELA M
21-Sep NOLLY MK
21-Sep MABASO CS
22-Sep KOK NP
23-Sep JOHANNES JD
23-Sep KNOETZE C
24-Sep MEETS J
26-Sep COLLISON JS
26-Sep QEKELESHE-NGUBENYATHI NP
26-Sep AFRIKA RW
27-Sep SPIES T
27-Sep MILFORD S
28-Sep FUNDA BM
30-Sep ZOKHELA-SOKO N
3-Oct NZAMA SM
4-Oct MAKELENI LN
4-Oct CETYWAYO M
6-Oct MANANA MP
6-Oct HERMAN KD
7-Oct KHATHI TP
8-Oct ARMSTRONG CB
8-Oct BRITZ DJA
10-Oct MAGADLA N
12-Oct RASMUS JL
13-Oct MASTERMAN CL
14-Oct STINSON KL
14-Oct MOTALE MA
14-Oct DLAKANA ND-LONDLOY Y
14-Oct COETZEE K
15-Oct LONGHURST SM
15-Oct MARS BB
15-Oct SOLA L
18-Oct WALKER DC
18-Oct MENTOR A
19-Oct ABSOLON S
20-Oct RASMENI ZF
20-Oct ROSSOUW JG
21-Oct MUTZECK AS
21-Oct MATSHANGA N
22-Oct NGUBO N
23-Oct SWANEPOEL EA
23-Oct MAGADLA N
23-Oct KHAN F
23-Oct NTSHINTSHI B
24-Oct MAPONYA NM
24-Oct DAVIDS VV
25-Oct DE VILLIERS CS
26-Oct NCINANE K
26-Oct MPANDENI N
27-Oct NTOMBELA TP
28-Oct MARAIS J
28-Oct FANI T
29-Oct JANSEN PA
29-Oct SLATER JE
29-Oct MBHELE SP
31-Oct ESSA Q
31-Oct NODIPHA N
1-Nov ESTERHUIZEN AD
1-Nov DAVIDS M
1-Nov DREYER G
1-Nov KHWATSHITSHI L
1-Nov ZUMA NC
2-Nov KEET AJ
2-Nov BINJANA ZR
6-Nov MNTWANA NG
7-Nov KOSE NT
9-Nov PETERSEN JD
9-Nov SHEZI NP
10-Nov JACOBS JC
11-Nov HASSAN MY
13-Nov ASSEGAI L
14-Nov MARTINS G
14-Nov KOMO PM
15-Nov MAJOLA NP
17-Nov MAKEPEACE CA
19-Nov QINGATHA N
20-Nov ORTMAN NE
20-Nov ONVERWACHT M
20-Nov SOLO BF
23-Nov BAINS L
24-Nov STEVENS W
24-Nov LUFUTHA ZY
25-Nov PRYCE CJF
25-Nov ESAT H
27-Nov JACOBS GC
28-Nov PAGEL LV
28-Nov GRACE KJ
28-Nov HANSEN JL