The reunion of the MBChB class of 1992 was held on the weekend of the 8 to 10 December 2017.
Photo Album: Class of 1992 - 25th Reunion
Reflection on the reunion by Dr Shaunagh Emanuel
It was the best of times.
There were not many of us, but we made up in enthusiasm for what we lacked in numbers. The UCT Medical School class of 1992 twenty-five year reunion turned into a celebration that not one of us had expected to enjoy nearly as much as we all did.
It started tamely enough, on a December Friday afternoon in 2017, at the Medical School Mac Club with a roster, and some snacks.
The snacks were good. The welcome was warm and the organisation slick. Imrah Ariefdien and her team combine efficiency with grace in a most reassuring way. This set the tone for a seamless series of events; the first of which was a jaw-droppingly impressive tour of the some of the modern and interactive training and diagnostic facilities at the New Groote Schuur Hospital.
A coffee and a pint or two later we found ourselves at a swanky cocktail party at the IDM building on the medical school campus. A (somewhat diminished) class photograph was taken to mark the occasion.
The late Professor Bongani Mayosi, then Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences added a degree of gravitas to the event. His eloquent, delightfully warm and sincere welcome, and his enthusiasm for the future of medical education at UCT, despite current challenges, was heartening.
Again, it must be said: the snacks were good. We drank the bar dry. By then (it had been but a matter of hours) the love was real and the intent was unambiguous. Destination: Obs! At a long table at ‘A Touch of Madness’ we embarked (like a flock of starlings roosting in a tree at dusk) on some expert, multiple, simultaneous, layered, sequential, sometimes repeated, mutual history-taking whilst inflicting a degree of moderate metabolic damage. It was not an early night.
The stoic among us rose with the sparrows on Saturday morning to brave a hike up the mountain and along the contour path where we planned to meet up with the more sensible among us at Rhodes Memorial for breakfast.
The climb represented phase one of Chantal’s training for her planned un-50th leap-year birthday hike in Peru in mid-2018. Fortunately the scenery was breathtaking so there were plenty of opportunities for (breath-catching) photography intervals!
The sensible had been breakfasting for an hour before we finally arrived to join them but this didn’t appear to lessen the general air of cheerfulness and camaraderie at the table. With some strategic rump shifting, we all miraculously (and cosily) fitted onto the wooden benches, and the banter escalated over eggs, scones and copious cups of tea and coffee. Replete and somewhat in need of physiological realignment we dispersed to recover before meeting for dinner.
It was a breezy Saturday night. The sun was dropping, turning the sky navy blue over the Hottentots Holland Mountain range, and the lights across the city were winking orange and bright in the promising dusk.
The beautiful (ever so slightly more wrinkly than previously) people arrived at Harbour House on Constantia Nek. With immediate effect the temperature in the room rose with the warm glow of an unfettered generosity of spirit that spontaneously settled upon even the most reserved of us.
Had this happened later in the evening it might reasonably have been attributed to the beautifully planned and executed event, or the unexpected but intermittent and fairly consistent arrival of trays of tequila shots to the tables, or the exceptionally fresh and delectable dishes that were served in well timed courses, or the seamless replenishing of our glasses with some exceptional wines that Paul determinedly kept ordering, or the electrifying and gentle reunion of Chantal and Douglas after a couple of decades of silence, or the view from the restaurant window that was a constant reminder of our good fortune, or some tantalisingly fine single-malt–three-hour-rule-truth-serum that found its way onto the menu by the early hours of Sunday morning, or the unerringly polite and accommodating restaurant staff who allowed us to enjoy to the full our short time together.
It might have been attributed to any of these things, but it was greater and more powerful than any of them. It had something to do with what we had all endured and shared and received, in the light of what we had all become, in view of where we are all unavoidably being directed. It glowed golden, and floated about the room, mischievously turning a dutiful dinner with long-dispersed colleagues into a magical moment in time with eternal friends.
Sunday was slow. The number of attendees at the 10.00 am wine tasting at Groot Constantia was one. Chantal, you have earned the award for enthusiastic full attendance of all events!
The promise of food at Simon’s swelled the numbers marginally by lunchtime. We sat in the vineyards, soaking up the African sun, sipping on something sparkling and brought to a close what turned out to be a truly wonderful weekend.
We extend our deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences marketing and communications team, to organsisers, Bruce Howard and Pippa Macdonald, and to all the members of the Class of ‘92 from Cape Town, from out of town, from the UK, from the States, from Australia and from Canada who carved out a gap in their schedules and made the effort to be attend the reunion. It truly was the very best of times!