Reunion roundup

Reunions held in 2013: Class of 1963 reunion

6 - 8 December 2013


Aubry Abramson, Esmé Arenson, Abe Allie, Richard Aron, Cassiem D'arcy, Francis Diab, Duard Bok, Sam Bub, Louis Diamond, Rory Dower, Peter Etellin, Sam Gerber, Lynne Heselson, Michael Goldberg, Des Herron, Richard Hewlett, Nasheba Jardine, Mike Kean, Anthony Keen, Ralph Kolbe, Leon Kleinman, Avis Kow, Douglas Kroon, Wolfgang Losken, Hedwig Meyer, Omarjie Mohammed, Ahmed Moosa, Donald Nuss, Anton Obholzer, Veruthaslam Padayachey, Gerry Pillay, Chris Psillos, Ashley Robins, Ernst Rösemann, Rob Rush, Stanley Sandler, Ian Spira, John Steer, François van der Merwe, Jane van Jaarsveld, Ron Walls, Eugene Weinberg, John Weinberg, Cyril Weinkove, Emilie Wiggins, Barry Winning.

A report of the reunion weekend was written by John Steer and sent to all the members of the Class of 1963. Owing to the personal nature of this report, it was decided not to place it on the website.

The following is a brief synopsis of the proceedings of the weekend:

On the morning of 6th December 2013 more than half of the survivors of the Class of 1963 assembled in the MAC Club, Barnard Fuller Building at medical school. There was a great deal of excitement and buzz as classmates reconnected, many of them after half a century, over a cup of coffee. The atmosphere was slightly dampened by the fact that our national icon, Nelson Mandela, had passed away literally hours before.

At the opening session (attended by classmates only) the group stood in silence in honour of Madiba. Thereafter each member of the class was introduced to the gathering with a brief mention of his/her area of expertise and place/country of residence. Professor Laurie Kellaway, head of the department of Human Biology, gave a short talk on recent developments in medical education. This was followed by a general discussion, most of which dealt with the discrimination suffered at medical school during the apartheid era by students of colour. This proved to be constructive and conciliatory and it is hoped that it will achieve some degree of closure on that disgraceful era.

After tea a recording was played of the final year dinner which took place in September 1963. This is a historical document and we are not aware that any other such recording is available from as long ago. The voices included those of Professors Jannie Louw, James Louw, Frank Forman and the then vice-chancellor, Dr JP Duminy. Lunch was served thereafter.

In the evening a regraduation ceremony, described in some detail in the article below, was held in the Wolfson Pavilion. Afterwards the class photograph was taken, which included the guests (four of them former teachers). A sumptuous cocktail party followed.

On the Saturday morning a highly stimulating programme of talks was presented by 13 members of the class - see below. The highlight of the morning was the talk given by Ian Spira on his personal experience of receiving a heart transplant.

Academic Meeting programme:

A Fifty-Year Journey: Ralph Kolbe
Medical Mirth: Cassiem D'arcy
Living in the Sun: Anthony Keen
Atopic Eczema: Internet Management Plus Traditional Consultations; Richard Aron
Healthcare Reform USA Style: Louis Diamond
Oded, Triumph Against the Odds: Michael Goldberg
UCT Teachers - Their Effect on Medical Missions Around the World: Wolfgang Losken
The Unconscious at Work: Anton Obholzer
Life After Medicine - Starting a Business: Jane van Jaarsveld
Swept up in Immunology, 1963-2013: Ronald Walls
My Great-Grandfather, India and the Victoria Cross: Robin Rush
Why I Emigrated: Paddy Padayachey
My Heart Transplant - Personal Reflections: Ian Spira

On the Saturday evening the gala dinner took place in the elegant dining room of Smuts Hall, where several of the class members had taken their meals when they were students. The cuisine was superb, the company excellent and the atmosphere scintillating. Dr Stuart Saunders gave the after-dinner speech. His talk revolved around UCT, past and present, and was spiced with anecdotes and good humour. After the talk the entire gathering spontaneously rose to their feet for a standing ovation to a man who not only taught them over fifty years ago but also went on to lead the institution.

Several class members were called up to tell stories of the good old days, much to the amusement of the audience. The evening ended on a stirring note as the entire gathering joined in the singing of ?Auld Lang Sine' - a poignant end to a marvellous reunion event.

Note: a large number of photographs were taken over the entire reunion weekend and these can be viewed on this site.

Read the News article

Golden Jubilee reunion for medical class of '63 UCT Daily news - December 2013