First Coloured matron at Groote Schuur dies

First Coloured matron at Groote Schuur dies



Dorothy Elaine Lewis – the first Coloured woman to be a matron at Groote Schuur Hospital – died this weekend, according to Heroes of Groote Schuur.

She was 88.

Lewis served at the hospital for 25 years, after responding to a newspaper job advert for a nursing sister.

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In a May 2020 interview, Lewis said the hospital hired her before meeting her because they assumed she was white.

“The hospital assumed that because I lived in Observatory, I was white, and hired me without meeting me. They were rudely surprised that I was ‘non-white’ when I asked them for an interview and they met me face-to-face. But by then they had already hired me – although they changed the ward I would serve in. I wasn’t the first coloured nurse at the hospital,” she said.


Three years after being employed at the hospital, she was promoted and became the first Coloured matron. She retired in 1995.

Other than being the first Coloured matron, she also helped build the hospital’s Oakstreet School. “Originally there was a creche for the children of white employees, but I recommended that we create a creche for all children.