Professor Pienaar is generally credited with being the founder of Speech-Language Therapy in South Africa. He came to South Africa from Hamburg in 1929 and joined the “Logopedics Department” at WITS as Professor of Phonetics and Linguistics. He opened a speech, voice and hearing clinic in the basement of the library in 1936 to provide clinical practice for students. He introduced a two year Diploma in Logopedics in 1938 linked to the Faculty of Arts.In 1974 The University of Cape Town introduced a four – year BSc programme in Logopaedics. The first head of department was Diane Whiting; followed by Rosemary Keen in the 1980s and then Seppo Tuomi in the 1990s. In the early years the department was based in a Prefab House in Dalston Road, Observatory.
Today Assoc. Prof Shajila Singh heads the Division which is now situated in the historical Old Main Building at Groote Schuur Hospital, where Chris Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant in 1967. The Division is one of four which comprise the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in UCT’s Health Sciences Faculty. The Division has grown consistently from its inception and continues to do so, now attracting a more richly diverse student body far more representative of the population.