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South African Dental Journal

versão On-line ISSN 0375-1562
versão impressa ISSN 0011-8516

S. Afr. dent. j. vol.69 no.9 Johannesburg Out. 2014




Fifty years of South African Orthodontics celebrated in style!!



When Mark Wertheimer, then President of the Society, recognised two years ago that 2014 would see the 50th anniversary of the founding of the South African Society of Orthodontics, he initiated an intense period of preparation for a scintillating celebration,,,resulting in a unique festival of Orthodontic erudition.

More than 115 members of the Society gathered in Sandton at the FNB Conference Centre recently, to savour the acumen and experience of five of the world's leading orthodontists. There could have been no more elegant affirmation of the achievement of the Society. From Germany came Bjorn Ludwig and Benedict Wilmes, from Taiwan, Chris Chang, from Southern California, Dan Grauer and from Brazil, Jorge Faber. All are distinguished in their fields and captivated the audience during discussions on implants in orthodontics, on treatment mechanics, on aesthetics and on orthognathic surgical concepts.

The management of impacted teeth, the challenges of Class III malocclusions and the interface between periodontics and orthodontics were explored and explained. It may be claimed with confidence that this was an absolutely unique conference, given that the assembled speakers were of the highest repute, having entire days to deliver their messages.

Accolades were sent to the Society by luminaries in the orthodontic world,.. Bjorn Zachrisson, Buzz Behrents, James McNamara and Alex Jacobson, Kim MIzrahi and Bernard Joffe, (the latter three previously all at Wits Department of Orthodontics), to cite a few at random. Suffice to say that the programme and occasion enticed previous members, including Brian Preston and Emile Roussouw, to make the commitment to travel long distances to attend and to confirm warm friendships.

The occasion was fully supported by the orthodontic business houses who produced a trade show of distinction. Their participation was an important contribution to the success of the occasion, which was brought to a climax at a glittering anniversary celebration dinner, graced by the CEO of the Association, Maretha Smit.

Most special it was to have two of the founder members attend the dinner, during which they recalled meeting 50 years ago when 15 orthodontists gathered, in agreement that a Society should be inaugurated. Ronnie Melville and Matie Grobler made the journey to be amongst their peers and receive the accolades of the current membership. A particularly poignant memory was evoked by the recognition of the towering contributions to Orthodontics SA made by the visionary Ellie Lasersohn, who so sadly had passed away several years ago,the special and most welcome attendance of the Lasersohn family at the dinner was a marvellous tribute to Ellie.

The AGM was in itself a signal event as the Society welcomed its first lady President, Dr Ester Cumber-Kraehme, who gracefully acknowledged the efforts of Mark and his organising team. The congress will long remain a beacon in the orthodontic lives of our members. A particular salute is due to Ursula Jenkins and her associate, Jane Wilson, who with consummate skill ensured impeccable arrangements for the 50th anniversary AGM and congress of the South African Society of Orthodontists.