Groote Schuur

Groote Schuur ([ɣroːtə sxyːr], Dutch for "big shed") is an estate in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1657, the estate was owned by the Dutch East India Company which used it partly as a granary. Later, the farm and farmhouse was sold into private hands. In 1878, Groote Schuur was bought by Hester Anna van der Byl of the prominent Van Der Byl / Coetsee family.[1] In 1891 Cecil Rhodes leased it from her. He later bought it from her in 1893 for £60 000, and had it converted and refurbished by the architect Sir Herbert Baker. The Cape Dutch building, located in Rondebosch, on the slopes of Devil's Peak, the outlying shoulder of Table Mountain, was originally part of the Dutch East India Company's granary constructed in the seventeenth century.

Little of the original house remained after a fire in 1896. The traditional thatched roof was replaced by sturdier Welsh slates. Rhodes gave no strict instructions as to what he wanted from Baker. Rhodes abhorred any mechanically made items (such as hinges for windows) in the house and set out to remove them and have them replaced with brass and bronze items that would be cast. Baker replaced the front of the house, added a long stoep in the back and constructed a new wing. The wing contained a billiard room and master bedroom above on the second floor that contained a large bay window overlooking Devil's Peak. He also added a grand hall with a massive fireplace.[2]

Sir Herbert Baker also played a significant role in the furnishing of the house. After initially furnishing with modern furniture from London, Rhodes, influenced by Baker, began a shift from the modern to more traditional Cape furniture. This would mark the beginning of Cecil Rhodes’ collection of colonial furnishings.[2]

The gardens of the house were as Rhodes demanded 'masses of colour'. Surrounding the house was a mass of roses, hydrangeas, cannas, bougainvilleas and fuchsias. Farther away from the house on the slopes of Devil's Peak, Rhodes kept antelopes, zebra, eland, wildebeest and ostriches.[3]

Rhodes was always a generous host while at Groote Schuur. He used the residence as much as a business and political headquarters as a home. His life at the time was one of dinner parties and meetings on the stoep, where he would be joined by as many as fifty people.[4]

From 1910 to 1984, it was the official Cape residence of the Prime Ministers of South Africa and continued as a presidential residence of P. W. Botha and F. W. De Klerk. However, P.W. Botha never resided there, opting rather to live in Westbrooke.[5]

In May 1956, Time magazine reported, "a party was held at Groote Schuur for South Africa's Nationalist Prime Minister Johannes Strydom after he had won the parliamentary campaign to continue white supremacy in a land of 2.6 million whites and 10 million nonwhites. The party was given by some of the younger nationalists and their wives to honor him. They organized a caravan of 130 vehicles and slowly drove up to the Groote Schuur. After reaching the house, they began to sing old Boer war songs—the Volksliederen of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. A speech was given by Mrs. M.D.J. Koster, the only female member of the parliament, 'Every white woman and every white mother thanks you from the depth of her heart.' Strydom’s response to this was, 'We must never be swerved from our goals...the struggle must continue.'"[6]

The building was the site for the signing of the historic "Groote Schuur Minute" between Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress and F.W. De Klerk, the then President of South Africa, on 4 May 1990. The document was a commitment between the two parties towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation as well as a commitment to stability and to a peaceful process of negotiations. A working party was established to investigate the granting of temporary immunity to ANC cadres, to advise on how to deal with the release of political prisoners and to make recommendations on the definition of political offences.

Under Nelson Mandela, the Genadendal building (formerly called Westbrooke) became the Cape Town residence of the South African President. Groote Schuur is now a museum and open to the public only by appointment.

Groote Schuur
View of the rear of Groote Schuur, c1905.
LocationRondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa.
Coordinates33°57′49.61″S 18°27′50.40″E / 33.9637806°S 18.4640000°ECoordinates: 33°57′49.61″S 18°27′50.40″E / 33.9637806°S 18.4640000°E
Built18th century
ArchitectSir Herbert Baker (19th century refurbishment)
Architectural style(s)Cape Dutch
Groote Schuur is located in Cape Town
Groote Schuur
Location of Groote Schuur in Cape Town

See also


  1. ^ Martin Meredith, Diamonds Gold and War, (New York: Public Affairs, 2007):251
  2. ^ a b Meredith, 252
  3. ^ Meredith, 253
  4. ^ Meredith, 254
  5. ^ Armoria civica - Rondebosch
  6. ^ "Party at Groote Schuur." Time. March 12, 1956.,9171,861986,00.html (accessed September 17, 2008).

External links

2009 Varsity Cup

The 2009 Varsity Cup was contested from 2 February to 30 March 2009. The tournament (also known as the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International for sponsorship reasons) was the second season of the Varsity Cup, an annual inter-university rugby union competition featuring eight South African universities.

The tournament was won by Maties for the second consecutive season; they beat NWU Pukke 11-6 in the final played on 30 March 2009.

Christiaan Barnard

Christiaan Neethling Barnard (8 November 1922 – 2 September 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world's first highly-publicized heart transplant and the first one in which the patient regained consciousness. On 3 December 1967, Barnard transplanted the heart of accident-victim Denise Darvall into the chest of 54-year-old Louis Washkansky, with Washkansky regaining full consciousness and being able to easily talk with his wife, before dying 18 days later of pneumonia, with the anti-rejection drugs suppressing his immune system being a major contributing factor. Barnard had told Mr. and Mrs. Washkansky that the operation had an 80% chance of success, a claim which has been criticised as misleading. Barnard's second transplant patient Philip Blaiberg, with the operation performed at the beginning of 1968, lived for a year and a half and was able to go home from the hospital.Born in Beaufort West, Cape Province, Barnard studied medicine and practised for several years in his native South Africa. As a young doctor experimenting on dogs, Barnard developed a remedy for the infant defect of intestinal atresia. His technique saved the lives of ten babies in Cape Town and was adopted by surgeons in Britain and the United States. In 1955, he travelled to the United States and was initially assigned further gastrointestinal work by Owen Harding Wangensteen. He was introduced to the heart-lung machine, and Barnard was allowed to transfer to the service run by open heart surgery pioneer Walt Lillehei. Upon returning to South Africa in 1958, Barnard was appointed head of the Department of Experimental Surgery at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town.He retired as Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Cape Town in 1983 after developing rheumatoid arthritis in his hands which ended his surgical career. He became interested in anti-aging research, and in 1986 his reputation suffered when he promoted Glycel, an expensive "anti-aging" skin cream, whose approval was withdrawn by the United States Food and Drug Administration soon thereafter. During his remaining years, he established the Christiaan Barnard Foundation, dedicated to helping underprivileged children throughout the world. He died in 2001 at the age of 78 after an asthma attack.

Denise Darvall

Denise Ann Darvall (27 February 1942 – 3 December 1967) was the donor in the world's first successful human heart transplant, performed at Groote Schuur Hospital, South Africa, by a team of surgeons led by Christiaan Barnard.

Elmi Muller

Elmi Muller is a South African medical specialist and past President of the Southern African Transplantation Society who pioneered an organ transplant programme at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town for HIV positive patients using HIV positive donors. She also serves on the Executive committee of the Transplantation Society.

Genadendal Residence

Genadendal Residence [χəˈnɑːdəndal] is the official residence of the President of South Africa when in office at Tuynhuys, Cape Town. Genadendal is situated in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. It has been the official residence since 1994 when Nelson Mandela took up residence here rather than neighbouring Groote Schuur. The building, formerly known as Westbrook, is named after the town of Genadendal – itself an Afrikaans word meaning "Valley of Mercy".The residence first came into existence in the early 18th century as a grain barn, and was converted into a residence in the mid 1800s. The mixed Victorian-Georgian residence it was known as Westbrook until it was changed to the current name in 1995.

Golda Selzer

Dr Golda Selzer was an academic and pathologist at Groote Schuur Hospital, and co-founder of SHAWCO. Dr Selzer published extensively with over 50 articles of which more than 15 were on Poliomyelitis.

Groote Schuur High School

Groote Schuur High School is a school in the Western Cape.

Groote Schuur Hospital

Groote Schuur Hospital is a large, government-funded, teaching hospital situated on the slopes of Devil's Peak in the city of Cape Town, South Africa. It was founded in 1938 and is famous for being the institution where the first human-to-human heart transplant took place, conducted by University of Cape Town-educated surgeon Christiaan Barnard on the patient Louis Washkansky.

Groote Schuur is the chief academic hospital of the University of Cape Town's medical school, providing tertiary care and instruction in all the major branches of medicine. The hospital underwent major extension in 1984 when two new wings were added. As such, the old main building now mainly houses several academic clinical departments as well as a museum about the first human heart transplant.

The hospital is an internationally acclaimed research institution and is world-renowned for its trauma unit, anaesthesiology and internal medicine departments. Groote Schuur attracts many visiting medical students, residents and specialists each year who come to gain experience in various fields. As at December 2006 the hospital employed over 500 doctors, 1300 nurses and 250 allied health professionals.Groote Schuur is Dutch for 'Great Barn' and is named after the original Groote Schuur estate laid out by Dutch settlers when the city of Cape Town was founded in the 17th century.

The hospital was declared a Western Cape Provincial Heritage Site in 1996.

Groote Schuur Zoo

The Groote Schuur Zoo was a 2-hectare (4.9-acre) zoo in Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1931 at the request of deceased Cecil Rhodes, it was free of charge and a very popular attraction in Cape Town until its closure sometime between 1975 and 1985. The zoo shut down due to a combination of the financial burden that the Apartheid government faced and an increase in animal welfare standards.

During its operation, it housed many animals including lions, emus, crocodiles and tahrs.

The zoo can still be visited today, as it has been abandoned and left open to the public.

The most prominent feature of the zoo is the Lion's Den, both when it was open and today where it still stands, full of overgrown vegetation.

Heart of Cape Town Museum

The Heart of Cape Town Museum is a museum complex in the Observatory suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. It is in the Groote Schuur Hospital on Main Road. The hospital was founded in 1938 and is famous for being the institution where the first human heart transplant took place, conducted by University of Cape Town-educated surgeon Christiaan Barnard on the patient Louis Washkansky. The museum opened on December 3, 2007 marking the 40th anniversary of the heart transplant by Christiaan Barnard. The Heart of Cape Town Museum honors everyone who played a major role in a surgical feat that created a new medical era. It also brings attention to ethical and moral implications that came up at the time. It also highlights the ways in which Barnard's accomplishment put South Africa and the University of Cape Town on an international stage.

Herbert Baker

Sir Herbert Baker (9 June 1862 – 4 February 1946) was an English architect remembered as the dominant force in South African architecture for two decades, and a major designer of some of New Delhi's most notable government structures. He was born and died at Owletts in Cobham, Kent.

Among the many churches, schools and houses he designed in South Africa are the Union Buildings in Pretoria, St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, St. John's College, Johannesburg, the Wynberg Boys' High School, Groote Schuur in Cape Town, and the Champagne Homestead and Rhodes Cottage on Boschendal, between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. With Sir Edwin Lutyens he was instrumental in designing, among other buildings, Viceroy's House, Parliament House, and the North and South Blocks of the Secretariat, all in New Delhi, which in 1931 became the capital of the British Raj, as well as its successor states the Dominion of India and the Republic of India. He also designed the administration building at the then Prince of Wales School in Nairobi, Kenya, now known as Nairobi School. His tomb is in Westminster Abbey.

Hospital Bend

Hospital Bend is a major freeway junction, located to the east of the central business district of Cape Town, South Africa. It is the junction between the N2 national route and the M3 metropolitan expressway. Its unusual design led to notoriety as a traffic bottleneck and a frequent accident location; between March 2008 and early 2010 it underwent major roadworks to address these issues. It takes its name from the fact that it curves around the grounds of Groote Schuur Hospital.

Liana Roodt

Dr. Liana Roodt is a specialist general surgeon and a surgical consultant in the Surgical Breast and Endocrine Unit and the trauma center at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town.

Louis Vogelpoel

Louis Vogelpoel (26 March 1922 in Lourenço Marques, Portuguese East Africa – 28 April 2005 in Cape Town, South Africa) was a South African general physician, cardiologist and horticultural scientist. He was a "world expert on wild flowers with an orchid named after him". His sister was Pauline Vogelpoel.

Louis graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1945 with first class honours and a prize for the best student of that year. He was awarded the C J Adams and Nuffield dominion fellowships, which allowed him to spend two years at the National Heart Hospital in London] in the early fifties, where he developed his lifelong interest and expertise in cardiology. He married in 1951. He trained under Paul Wood. He returned to Cape Town in 1953 and was appointed as a part-time physician and lecturer in the department of medicine and cardiac clinic at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital. He was one of the founding members of the Cardiac Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town.

His clinical research activities resulted in the award of an MD with first class honours in 1959 and the publication of many papers, some of which are still quoted. Many of his earlier contributions reflected truly original observations when modern cardiology was in its infancy. Some of these have stood the test of time and have been 'rediscovered' years later with the development of more sophisticated techniques.

He was well-recognised as a horticultural scholar and researcher. His interest was mainly indigenous South African flora and he was generally regarded as an expert on ericas and South African orchids, particularly the Disa genus. He had a vast knowledge of the natural habitat and spent many hours in the veld. His studies and research on the biorhythms of the disa orchid species allowed the successful cultivation of these beautiful orchids in nurseries. These contributions were recorded in excellent articles and chapters in the orchid literature. Following his first publication on disa uniflora in 1980 more than 45 publications followed on various aspects of orchids. His writings showed clear thought and meticulous attention to detail, while he was also an expert photographer of orchids and other flowers and published on that subject.He was a long-time member of the Cape Orchid Society and was a founder member of the Disa Orchid Society of South Africa in 1982. He was the director of the SA Orchid Council from 1989-1993 and its Gold Medal recipient in 2002. The orchid disa vogelpoelii was named after him.The Louis Vogelpoel Travelling Scholarship is awarded in his honour annually which offers an amount of up to R15 000 towards the travel and accommodation costs of a local or international congress by the Cape Western branch of the South African Heart Association in memory of one of South Africa’s outstanding cardiologists, Dr Louis Vogelpoel.

Louis Washkansky

Louis Washkansky (1913 – 21 December 1967) was a South African man who was the recipient of the world's first human-to-human heart transplant, and the first patient to regain consciousness following the operation. Washkansky lived for 18 days and was able to speak with his wife and reporters.Washkansky was actually the second human recipient of a heart transplant overall, in that James Hardy had done a transplant in 1964 in which Boyd Rush received a chimpanzee's heart, although the patient in that case only survived an hour and did not regain consciousness.

Marius Barnard (surgeon)

Marius Stephanus Barnard (November 3, 1927 – November 14, 2014) was a South African cardiac surgeon and inventor of critical illness insurance.Barnard was a member of the team headed by his brother Christiaan Barnard that performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplantation in 1967. Specifically, he was one of the surgeons who removed the heart from donor Denise Darvall at Groote Schuur Hospital. After a 2009 documentary film Hidden Heart suggested that Hamilton Naki removed the donor heart, Barnard was quoted as describing the film as "rubbish, a joke, it’s a total distortion of the facts" and as stating that Naki was at the time "in his bed, about 8 km away from Groote Schuur".Barnard was motivated by the financial hardship he saw his patients suffer after he had treated their critical illnesses to convince the South African insurance companies to introduce a new type of insurance to cover critical illnesses. Barnard argued that, as a medical doctor, he can repair a man physically, but only insurers can repair a patient's finances. On 06 August 1983 the first critical illness insurance policy was launched.Barnard was a member of the South African parliament between 1980 and 1989, for the Progressive Federal Party - one of the few political parties that opposed apartheid. He later acted as a technical consultant for Scottish Widows. Barnard has received many awards for his contributions to medicine and humanity, and was voted in the top 25 most influential people in the field of health insurance and protection.He died on November 14, 2014 after battling with prostate cancer.

Negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa

The apartheid system in South Africa was ended through a series of negotiations between 1990 and 1993 and through unilateral steps by the de Klerk government. These negotiations took place between the governing National Party, the African National Congress, and a wide variety of other political organisations. Negotiations took place against a backdrop of political violence in the country, including allegations of a state-sponsored third force destabilising the country. The negotiations resulted in South Africa's first non-racial election, which was won by the African National Congress.

Observatory, Cape Town

Observatory is a suburb in Cape Town, South Africa that is bordered by Mowbray to the south, and Salt River to the northwest. Known affectionately as Obz, the area is best known as a student neighbourhood, most of the students attending the University of Cape Town located close by. It is also the home of the South African Astronomical Observatory headquarters as well as Groote Schuur Hospital.


Rondebosch is one of the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. It is primarily a residential suburb, with shopping and business districts as well as the main campus of the University of Cape Town.

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