Dorothy Elaine Lewis, the first coloured matron at Groote Schuur Hospital, died over the weekend at the age of 88, according to Heroes of Groote Schuur.

Matron Lewis embodied the hospital’s spirit of excellence and helped it to fulfil its mission of providing quality healthcare for all during her 25 years of service at the hospital.

Fly now with the angels Ma Dorothy 💔

Groote Schuur’s first coloured matron, brave and strong, Dorothy Elaine Lewis has passed away at the age of 88.
Our love and condolences to her family and all who knew her.

Posted by Heroes of Groote Schuur on Sunday, February 7, 2021

“Not only was she the first coloured matron at Groote Schuur, serving from 1970 until her retirement in 1995, her son and daughter-in-law still work at the hospital and her grandchildren attended the hospital creche,” said the page.

Lewis was hired at Groote Schuur after replying to a newspaper job advertisement in 1970. She said the hospital assumed she was white because she lived in Observatory and hired her without a face-to-face meeting.

“I wasn’t the first coloured nurse at the hospital – the sisters from Conradie came before me – but after three years I was promoted and became the first coloured matron at Groote Schuur,” said Lewis. “I enjoyed my time there. It was sometimes challenging because of the racism (many were oblivious that they were being racist), but I pulled myself together and had my say.”

Lewis had a hand in establishing the Oakstreet School at the hospital in the late 1970s and she lists this as one of her proudest achievements. Prior to the construction of the new school, the creche was only meant for use by the children of white employees.

“But I recommended that we create a creche for all children,” said Lewis. Matron Lewis’ input was clearly valuable because when construction began on a new section at the hospital, she was asked to work with the architect to by Dr Francois van der Merwe.

Lewis said she “worked with them for three years to help design Rochester House – a residence for medical staff.”

Groote Schuur hospital offered their love and condolences to Matron Lewis’ family and all who knew her. “Fly now with the angels Ma Dorothy,” said the hospital.

Picture: Facebook/Heroes of Groote Schuur

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