17 July 2013
The Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) has awarded R1-million to the Wits School of Public Health for a book outlining the history of nursing in South Africa. It is the largest grant of its kind from a professional nursing body.
Co-authored by Professor Laetitia Rispel and Makhosazana (Khosi) Xaba, the book’s working title is Igniting dreams, confronting realities: A history of nursing in South Africa (1960-2010). It focuses on nursing and the politics of health, nursing and the country, and is a part sequel to the Shula Marks’s Divided Sisterhood.
DENOSA’s general secretary, Thembeka Gwagwa, explained that much had happened in South Africa following the first book, which needed to be recorded for future generations of nurses to know where nursing started and how it evolved.
“Nurses allowed the system of apartheid to divide the profession, unlike the medical profession. We split as nurses into labour and professional associations, but nurses cannot operate in a vacuum. DENOSA responded to the political changes by embracing both professional and labour issues, and we actively manage these natural tensions,” she said.
In addition to the grant, DENOSA has made its archives available to the authors as well as the expertise of its in-house librarian.
“When we heard about the book we were very excited and wanted to support it. We see this contribution to Wits as our responsibility as a professional body to make history come alive for the benefit of nurses. The grant is a tangible way to distinguish us from any other trade union,” Gwagwa said.
It is envisaged that the book will be complete in the second half of 2014, and will go for peer-review towards the end of 2014.