Photo Credit: Heroes of Groote Schuur

A look behind the scenes of the Heroes of Groote Schuur page that has seen hundreds of medical workers honoured.


Cape Town, South Africa (25 February 2024) – One of South Africa’s most iconic hospitals is leading the way in highlighting the work of some of the country’s most dedicated public servants.

The commitment of hospital workers to serving South Africans, generally within an environment of huge budgetary constraints and severe staffing pressure, often goes under the radar. However, Cape Town’s iconic Groote Schuur Hospital is working to change this via Heroes of Groote Schuur – a social media campaign that shines a light on those who have often spent their whole careers out of the public’s spotlight.

The campaign is a long-running project of the Groote Schuur Hospital Trust, which sees a weekly “hero” from the hospital interviewed about their role at the institution, what motivates them, and their history of employment at the hospital.

Started in 2018, the Heroes of Groote Schuur initiative highlights the incredible stories of the people who make Groote Schuur Hospital one of the nation’s most iconic hospitals.

Kristy Evans, the executive director of the Groote Schuur Hospital Trust, says: “Groote Schuur is a community in and of itself. There are over 3 500 staff members and generations of family members have worked for this hospital. The initiative tells the personal narratives of those behind the incredible service that the hospital provides.”

A key part of the heroes page is telling the stories of the people who often go unrecognised, but are vital for keeping the hospital running. The initiative therefore aims to highlight the work of staff members in all the hospital departments, rather than just the medical departments.

According to Alaric Jacobs, public relations manager at Groote Schuur Hospital:

“It takes a whole range of skills to make the hospital run, so we try to showcase everyone. Most people think the hospital is just about doctors and nurses, so we wanted to show that there is more to a hospital than just doctors and nurses.”

This became particularly relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic, where hospital workers received much more recognition, due to their tireless work. However, what many people did not realise was that there was a whole team of people who were working behind the scenes to ensure that medical practitioners could save lives.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many people on ventilators. The ventilators could not function unless they were properly serviced by the technicians. The work of the technicians, therefore, enabled the doctors to work to save the lives of patients. Nobody knew about these technicians, or the work they did, but the Heroes of Groote Schuur initiative helped show the public how important they were,” says Jacobs.

While the initiative seeks to tell the stories of people across the various departments and units, there is still a strong focus on the medical work taking place at the hospital. These stories are often told to align with various national or international health initiatives, such as Women’s Month and other similar initiatives.

According to Evans, “Sometimes we like to align with specific health days or months, and try to tell the story of a practitioner who is working in that particular field.”

Part of what makes Groote Schuur such an iconic hospital is that it has been the site of various medical and scientific “firsts” throughout its history. The Heroes initiative, therefore, serves as a way of highlighting the exceptional work and achievements at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“A lot of people think Groote Schuur Hospital is about the first heart transplant, but there is a long list of ‘firsts’ attached to the hospital. Even last year, a few ‘firsts’ emerged from the hospital,” explains Jacobs.

The hospital’s rich history and its vital role in the Cape Town community lends itself to being a treasure trove of amazing stories detailing the growth of the medical fraternity in South Africa.

Groote Schuur Hospital is home to many people who come from a long line of family members to work at the hospital. A lot of the employees have also worked there for multiple generations, making them the perfect lens to better understand the history of the hospital.

“The public likes these stories, as they can relate to them. You might get a porter who has been working at Groote Schuur their whole life. They can provide great details on how they got their job, how their role changed after apartheid ended, as well as insights into what makes Groote Schuur Hospital so special,” explains Jacobs.

The initiative has also received great feedback and buy-in from the Cape Town community and has over 20 000 followers across Facebook and Instagram. One Facebook user commended the work of the page saying that Groote Schuur Hospital is home to “Dedicated people who need to be commended for the fantastic [work] they do!”

“We are incredibly proud to be involved with such a positive initiative designed to highlight the hard work of the endless list of heroes who work at the hospital. Each person plays such an integral role in ensuring Groote Schuur and provides the best possible care to anybody who enters the hospital,” says Bridget Pringle, of Brooke Buckland, the agency that assists the Groote Schuur Hospital Trust with the running of the project.

To follow the campaign, search for ‘Heroes of Groote Schuur’ on Facebook or Instagram.

Sources: Website Submission
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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