A stalwart and benefactor of Wits University, philanthropist Dr Anvir Adam (MBBCh 1964, DTM&H 1986, DPH 1988) died on 25 November 2011, after a long battle with cancer. He was 74.
Born in Pretoria on 12 March 1937, Adam matriculated from Pretoria Indian Intermediary School. He earned a science degree from the University of Cape Town before studying medicine at Wits. A student activist, Adam protested for the rights of black medical students. Working conditions for these medical students subsequently improved at some teaching hospitals.
Adam served in the Department of Health for two years after graduating and published on the topics of primary healthcare and epidemiology. In 1973, the College of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) admitted Adam as a member of the Family Physicians College, and made him a lifetime member 30 years later. The Royal Society of Medicine (UK) made him an affiliate in 1978. The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (UK) elected him as a Fellow in 1990.
Renowned and revered for his commitment to community service, continuing medical education (CME) and research, Adam co-founded the Wits Medical Faculty Research Endowment Fund soon after graduating. He also co-founded the Pretoria Medical Discussion Group, a reputable CME forum in which he was active until his death.
He testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and his evidence along with that of others resulted in medical academia issuing a formal apology, and the erection of a statue at the Wits Medical School to commemorate the struggle of oppressed healthcare workers during apartheid.
A champion of the African Renaissance, Adam contributed to preserving ancient manuscripts in Mali as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) cultural project.
The University awarded him a Gold Medal in 2004 for his voluntary philanthropy and for supporting resource development, such as the cyber library, at Wits. The National Award of the Baobab and the Stella Soliderieta Italiana, bestowed in 2007, were further testament to his philanthropy. The University of South Africa awarded him an honorary degree in 2010.
Adam ran a community practice until his death. His wife, four children and six grandchildren survive him.
A celebrated teacher and scholar of English literature, Jacques Alexandre Berthoud (BA 1956, BA Hons 1958) died in York, England, on 29 October 2011, aged 76. The former Vice-Chancellor and Professor of English Literature at the University of York, Berthoud had recovered from heart bypass surgery but had leukaemia.
Born in Switzerland on 1 March 1935, Berthoud came to Africa aged three when his father, a pastor, came to Lesotho. The French-speaking young Berthoud was home-schooled, learned English at Morija Primary Mission School until 1947 and completed one year at Collège Calvin, Geneva. He won a scholarship to high school at Maritzburg College.
A Wits benefactor, Berthoud graduated from the University and married Astrid Titlestad in 1958. He taught English at the Johannesburg Trade School and at UNISA, and in 1960 lectured at Natal University in Pietermaritzburg. A member of the Liberal Party, Berthoud opposed apartheid and in 1967 left South Africa to lecture at the University of Southampton, where he remained until 1979.
In 1980, he took the chair in English and Related Literature at the University of York. The post combined the study of English with that of other European literatures, ideal for the bilingual Berthoud, who passionately championed the discipline. He retired in 2002 as Professor Emeritus.
Berthoud’s research interests lay in early modern fiction and the English Renaissance. His writing included his monograph Joseph Conrad: the Major Phase (Cambridge, 1978), translated into French in 2002. He developed an interest in South African writing and co-authored a study on South African poet and playwright Uys Krige.
He was a member of Amnesty International and chairman of the British section from 1979 to 1981. He loved art as much as literature and was influential in forming the York History of Art Department. He was a stalwart of the York Bibliographic Society and involved with the Laurence Sterne Trust.
His wife, two daughters, one son and four grandchildren survive him.
Former Associate Professor of Mathematics at Wits, Catherine Florence Harington (BSc 1949, BSc Hons 1950, MSc 1952) died in hospital in Perth, Australia, in October 2011. She was 86.
Born on 8 October 1925, Harington majored in mathematics and applied mathematics at Wits. She won the University’s William Cullen Medal as the Faculty of Science Dux scholar in 1947.
In 1951, she took a year’s sabbatical from lecturing mathematics at Wits to lecture at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She lectured at the University of Western Australia during a six-month sabbatical in 1979.
Harington’s lectures in the post-war prefabricated buildings in front of the Great Hall were popular – she was a cheerful, witty and enthusiastic teacher. She retired in 1986 after four decades of teaching mathematics at Wits and emigrated to Perth to be with her sister.
Harington continued to teach mathematics at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia for another 15 years. She enjoyed travelling, tennis and bridge well into her retirement.
A stalwart of Wits University, Adele Kahn died on 18 November 2011, aged 87, after a long illness. She was the widow of the late Professor Ellison Kahn, a leading figure in the South African legal field and a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management. She was the mother of Professor Kathleen Kahn (MBBCh 1984) in the School of Public Health.
Adele married Ellison (BCom, LLB, honorary LLD 1990) in 1945 when he was a lecturer at Wits. From then on, Adele served the University in multiple ways over half a century. She directed plays at the Nunnery, organised events through the Wits Women’s Club and worked in the Wits gift shop. She served as a curator in the Adler Museum of the History of Medicine and co-edited the museum bulletin. She hosted countless University functions during Ellison’s tenure as Dean and as Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She tirelessly provided editorial assistance during her husband’s 50-odd years as editor of the South African Law Journal.
As the wife and mother of Wits academics, Adele was “the embodiment of selfless service, devotedly embracing these roles and unfailingly promoting Wits along the way.”
Johannesburg’s youngest ever mayor at 38 years, and an Associate Professor in the Wits School of Law, Alderman Harold Geoffrey Rudolph (BA, LLB 1969, LLM 1983) died in Johannesburg on 16 November 2011, aged 64. He had Parkinson’s disease but had fallen and suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage just prior to his and his wife’s aliyah (pilgrimage to Israel – his burial place).
Born in Johannesburg on 11 May 1947, Rudolph matriculated from Roosevelt High. In 1972, he was admitted to the Bar, married Reva - later his mayoral campaign manager - and was elected to the City Council, on which he ultimately served for more than 20 years.
Rudolph became mayor during Joburg’s centenary in 1986 on the ticket “Together the Future”. He attended some 1 400 functions and delivered 800 speeches during his term. He visited Taiwan and attended the inauguration of Swaziland’s King Mswati III. He led South Africa’s first delegation to participate in the March of the Living in Poland, at the request of Israeli authorities.
In 1984, he earned an associate professorship in the School of Law after the publication of his thesis, Security, Terrorism and Torture, an analysis of the rights of political detainees in South Africa, Northern Ireland and Israel, which he researched during a year-long sabbatical in Israel.
A stalwart of the Jewish community, Rudolph served on the SA Jewish Board of Deputies for 12 years and on the editorial board of Jewish Affairs. In 1993, he chaired the board of governors of Southern Africa’s first Jewish television channel.
He continued running a legal practice from home after retiring.
His wife, four sons, eight grandchildren and his sister survive him.
The former Chief Executive of Tara Hospital, psychiatrist Dr Raymond Sandig (MBBCh 1944) died on 4 December 2011, aged 95.
Born in Boksburg on 8 September 1916, Sandig attended Jeppe Boys’ High and then Kings College, London, in 1939. He returned to South Africa to volunteer for the South African Army Medical Corps.
He practised at Tara, Sterkfontein and Weskoppies hospitals from 1946 until 1970 and earned membership to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (London) in 1971. A member of the Johannesburg Mental Health Society, he was medical superintendent and Chief Executive of Tara and Germiston hospitals in the 1970s. He served on the Board of the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences and was a member of the selection committee for the post of Professor of Psychiatry.
He indulged his passion for cattle ranching by running two farms near Thabazimbi, Limpopo Province. A multi-linguist, he spoke English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Tswana.
Sandig remained an Army Medical Corps reservist until 1981, when he emigrated to Australia. There he was medical superintendent of Bloomfield Hospital until 1991. Appointed to the New South Wales Mental Health Review Tribunal for seven years, he had the distinction of being the oldest serving member of the NSW Health Department. He worked in drug and alcohol rehabilitation in Sydney until retiring in his mid-80s.
Sandig’s wife of 63 years, Doris (BA 1945), their four children and 12 grandchildren survive him.
The first Professor of Nursing Education at Wits, Shirley Barbara Williamson (undergraduate diploma medicine, 1954) died in Somerset West on 14 January 2012, aged 87.
Born on 5 November 1925 in Pretoria, where she matriculated from St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls, Williamson completed her nurses’ training at Grey’s Hospital, Pietermaritzburg. She then obtained a midwifery qualification at Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland. She returned to South Africa and nursed at hospitals on the East Rand while continuing her studies. She became principal of the Germiston Nursing College.
Wits began its BSc (Nursing) programme in 1969, the first of its kind in South Africa and the forerunner of today’s Bachelor of Nursing degree. Williamson joined Wits in 1970 as senior lecturer and served as temporary head of the nursing sub-department in 1973, when she also served on the Senate Committee. She became the University’s first Professor of Nursing following the establishment of an independent department in 1977.
Described as a strong administrator with the ability to delegate and motivate, Williamson was possessed of great strength of character and a need to serve. Increasing deafness resulted in her decision to take early retirement in 1986. The Wits benefactor and Emeritus Professor retired to Helderberg Village in the Cape, where she lived happily for 21 years and continued to serve others.
Williamson and her significant contribution to nursing education at Wits is referenced extensively in The Nurse in the University: A History of University Education for South African Nurses: A Case Study of the University of the Witwatersrand (Simonne Horwitz, BEcSci 1998, BEcSci Hons 1999).