Reunion roundup

Reunions held in 2003: Class of 1973


A summary by Rob Waspe


Margie Stanford, Brian Berelowitz, Louise Berkowicz, Peter Berning, Adrian Bosenberg, Charles Croft, Thakor Dayaram, Mike du Toit, Andrew Floyd, Saville Furman, Vic Gardiner, Ann Moore, Craig Househam, Jenny Hurley, Ismail Jakoet, Trevor Kaye, Mike Madden, Anthony Maister, Ian McCallum, Madeleine Mercer, Lance Michell, Indiran Naiker, John Odell, Colin Sparg, Dave Stern, Charles Swanepoel, Brent van der Westhuysen, Rob Waspe

(Click on the image to see a large version.)

A small but enthusiastic group from the Class of '73 took part in the 30 Year Reunion recently and those who attended experienced an event of superior quality and fellowship.

After the registration procedures, we were introduced to the new Student Learning Centre and Library, housed in the same buildings we used all those years ago, although modifications have transformed the interior spaces. However, the Library remained reassuringly familiar to us and brought back many memories.

We were all a little surprised and, I must say, rather concerned by the dramatic changes that have occurred to the format of medical training. We all felt that our disciplined "lecture-oriented" training had stood us in good stead and had enabled many of us to successfully carve out careers in many other countries and we questioned the need for such big changes! However, we understand that the shift to problem-based learning is happening in medical curricula worldwide so perhaps we are just showing our age!

The tour of the Groote Schuur Hospital Transplant Museum was very nostalgic for our class and we found it informative to tour the new UCT Academic Hospital as well.

It was at the Cocktail Party on the Friday evening that the Reunion was transformed from an interesting event into an experience of relaxed fellowship and emotional bonding that spontaneously occurs relatively infrequently over a lifetime.

The scene was thus set for the Academic Meeting in the old E Floor Lecture Theatre on the Saturday. The choice of this venue was brilliant as it obviously inspired the speakers to deliver an academic meeting of such superior quality and intensity that it could be described as an emotional sharing between the speakers and the captivated audience.

All the lectures were excellent and the audience very attentive. The climax was the lyrical and moving speech delivered by Ian McCallum, dedicated to Nita Permuy, tragically deceased earlier last year after a long illness. This was a truly inspirational speech delivered from the heart.

Saville Furman's moving description of his journey throught the stresses and heartache of a life spent as a caring family practitioner was also very well received. Ian and Saville's presentations, as well as that by yours truly, Rob Waspe, describing life as an immigrant doctor, were complemented by the more "academic" lectures by Brian Berelowitz, Ismail Jakoet, John Odell, Charles Swanepoel and Andrew Floyd.

The meeting was scheduled to conclude at 12h30 but continued for a further two hours and we all remained enthralled for the duration.

The final evening, a Gala Dinner at the Hildebrand Restaurant at the Waterfront, continued the same spirit of fellowship and camaraderie.

Those who made it to the Table Mountain walk on the Sunday morning managed to extend the intensity of the Reunion for a few more precious hours until, sadly, the event closed after the delicious lunch at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Restaurant. It was said several times at this lunch that we had got to know each other better over the three magical days of the Reunion than during the entire 5 years we had spent together at Medical School!

Whatever conspired to achieve this incredible degree of relaxed fellowship is difficult to explain! What can be said with certainty is that, while subsequent reunions will, hopefully, be just as good, it would be hard to imagine that they could surpass this most successful and enjoyable 30 Year Reunion.

To all the Organising Committee, many, many thanks once again.