For some unknown reason, Bruce thinks I know things, so he sends me stuff. Which I really enjoy! What’s this? he often asks. This was a moth on his car in Mbona, an ‘eco estate’ in the KwaZulu Natal midlands.
Of course, I immediately knew – after asking Roy Goff of African Moths. He identified it as Pingasa abyssinaria – ‘a regular from that end of the continent. It has an unusual resting posture which often makes people notice it.’
Common name: Duster. Bruce’s picture (shown) is better than any of the pictures I could find on moth websites – not bad! Maybe we can call it The Mbona Duster? Thank you to African Moths and Christeen Grant’s magic Midlands nature blog for info and the use of their pictures temporarily.
Judging by the beautifully fringed trailing edge of its wings, I’d guess it flies very quietly – the better to dodge bats and nightjars and other predators.
. . that Soutar was sold a story which he swallowed as he swallowed the fourth free sample they gave him in Ballito.
I don’t think this whisky:
. . is made in KwaZulu Natal.
Reason being they also make Cape Gins and they talk of Cape florals n shit.
But Soutar roared back:They said it is made in Mtunzini and taken to Cape Town for barrel age-ing. (then he adds unpatriotically) . . it was not very nice in comparison to the single malt Irish and Scots of which I had many. I only had one tot of this SA one – So Waaaaa !!!
Me: Mtunzini!? I’m beginning to like it again. I can just imagine . . . the connoisseur sniffs, sips, and says ‘hmmmm – subtle hints of crocodile shit . . . ‘
Jess did it all herself; drew up lists, hired lights, organised a DJ who brought her own equipment; we bought some stuff; we bought booze. Jess invited a few good friends round, and so did I.
The adults came early, we had a slide show on Jess from the early days. I was being a bit Nervous Norman, so thank goodness for hooligan friends. First the Lodders added their usual mayhem. Then star Lydia our Gautengaleng student friend stepped forward, deciding things were a bit quiet for a 21st. She took over the bar, mixing cocktails and getting the kids to pour them down their throats. The party was launched!
The adults disappeared except me in the background. Jess and her gang had a lovely evening with their favourite music and lots of chatting. Later, some boys arrived drunk but peaceful and friendly and joined in. At midnight the DJ’s mom arrived to fetch her, they packed up and peace returned to the valley.
McCord’s Zulu Hospital is a well-known institution in Durban. It was started in 1909 by Dr James B. McCord, who had studied medicine at Northwestern University in Illinois, qualifying in 1891.
McCord joined the Student Volunteer Missionary Movement at Oberlin College in Ohio and there met his future wife, Margaret Mellen, who was born in Natal when her parents had been missionaries there. She and James fell in love and decided to go to Africa as missionaries.
In 1899 he was sent to Adams Mission in Amanzimtoti as a medical missionary. Medical services for Africans in Natal at the beginning of the twentieth century were meagre at best and at worst non-existent.
So, right at the start of the Anglo-Boer War, James and Margaret, accompanied by two young daughters, travelled to South Africa in a troop ship carrying British soldiers! In 1902 he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians in London. He then moved to Durban where he remained for the rest of his working life. Initially he opened a clinic and a dispensary. To establish his hospital for Zulus in a fashionable part of Durban Dr McCord had to battle ingrained prejudice and unfounded fears. In time McCord’s Zulu Hospital became a well-known institution in Durban, gaining a reputation for excellence both in its treatment of patients and for its teaching and research. Predictably some whiteys agitated for it to be removed from the Berea to a ‘black area’ but – not predictably – they didn’t get their way.
It was here that the McCords trained the first African women to become nurses, and fought for them to become registered by the nursing profession overcoming suspicion and the deadweight of bureaucracy. They received great help from Katie Makanya, whose knowledge of isiZulu and allround capabilities were essential to their success. At first he was assisted by two doctors who worked part-time and one trained nurse. His wife Margaret served as nurse and business manager. Much later the hospital staff expanded to include nine doctors, and 150 nursing sisters and trainees.
By the time of Dr. McCord’s retirement in 1940 at age 70, African female nurses were being licensed for the first time. His dream of establishing a medical school to educate and qualify African doctors was realized in 1947, three years before he died, when the University of Natal in Durban brought into being a Faculty of Medicine for black students, now named after Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Our own dealings with McCords were all good. When Trish’s Mom Iona was well in her eighties the orthopod there advised her to rather not risk a hip replacement. Sound advice we thought.
In 2014 the Provincial Government of KwaZulu Natal took over the McCord’s Zulu Hospital and converted it into a specialist eye hospital, McCord’s Provincial Eye Hospital. I now readily refer people without medical insurance to McCords these days for cataract and other eye surgery. They get great treatment there.
Dr. McCord wrote his autobiography My Patients Were Zulus (Rinehart & Co., New York, 1946); His daughter Margaret wrote The Calling of Katie Makanya (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1995) about McCord’s first translator, theatre nurse and ward supervisor, who worked with him for over 40 years.
From a paper by Prof Dennis Luck of Oberlin College Ohio, sent to Bruce Soutar. Bruce and Heather took Dennis – who grew up in Durban – and his wife to see Ohlange Institute at Inanda, a high school founded in 1900 by Rev Dr John Langalibalele Dube and his first wife Nokutula. It was the first educational institution in South Africa to be founded by a black person. Like Dr McCord and Prof Luck, Dube had studied at Oberlin, and was a founder of the ANC. Nelson Mandela cast his first free democratic vote in 1994 at Ohlange school.
Pics from Hugh Bland’s great Natal-History-Saving site KZNPR. Go and have a look at it.
Do go and look at a new book The People’s Hospital by Julie Parle & Vanessa Noble is available free to download online. Wonderful old photos like this one in a spacious ward:
Bruce Soutar sent this to his connection in the USA, who replied:
From: Prof Dennis Luck
Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2018
Many thanks for sharing with me comments from various people who have read the “one-pager” on James B. McCord. It seems that they found it interesting and informative.
I’ll never forget the day, some years back, when I stumbled across McCord’s autobiography, My Patients Were Zulus, in a second-hand bookshop in Oberlin that was going out of business. What a lovely connection between Durban, where I was born and grew up, and Oberlin, where I taught at the College for 33 years before retiring in 2005. I never knew that James McCord was a graduate of Oberlin College until that time!
John Dube, by the way, was not a graduate of Oberlin College: he attended the College for only two years,1888-1890 (thus overlapping with James McCord), before returning to South Africa. On a return visit to the US in 1897 he studied at the Union Missionary Seminary in Brooklyn, New York, for two years: in 1899 he was ordained as a priest thus becoming the Rev. John Dube. Finally, in 1936 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of South Africa, becoming Dr. John Dube. Oberlin College is very proud of him, and claims him as one of their own!
Another by- the- way: my field was biochemistry, not microbiology. Sorry to be so pedantic – I guess it comes from being an academic!!
The de Havilland Tiger Moth is a tailwheel biplane first built in the 1930’s. It was used by the RAF and remained in service until the early 1950s. Many of the military surplus aircraft remain in widespread use as recreational aircraft.
Recently my friend Bruce went for a spin in one and sent me some pics:
Astonishingly, this plane is older than this pilot!
Our Environment Minister Valli Moosa had at last grasped the nettle and was closing the beaches to hooligans! We approved, and time and research has shown it was the right decision. It has had a positive impact on the ecology of the coastal zone, with a recovery of resident reef fish species and breeding birds.
Regulations for the control of use of vehicles in the coastal zone (Government Notice 1399 of 21 December 2001) published in terms of section 44 of the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998).
But! We admit: We do love driving on the beach! So Bruce Soutar was quick to spot the opportunity for a Last Drive before the regulations came in to force, so he gathered a bunch of people to both celebrate and mourn the closure.
We had the Soutar VW Kombi, Kemp Jeep, Gail Pajero, Duncan __ and Swanie Ford and one other –?