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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.104 n.6 Pretoria Jun. 2014

 

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Leaving his GP practice in the UK at age 39, Warren Durrant took a medical officer post in Ghana. This was followed by an appointment at a mine hospital in Zambia and a trip home via the Congo River. Realising that Africa had got under his skin, he settled in what was then Rhodesia, where he married much later and had a family.

This story of a colonial doctor is packed with details of many interesting or bizarre cases that Durrant had to handle on his own or with the help of a range of colleagues in the various hospitals in which he found himself. We also meet many interesting characters. The Rhodesian 'war of liberation' washes over his many medical experiences and includes a gunfight at the Troutbeck Inn. Following liberation of the country, his financial circumstances result in his going into private practice at the age of 60 and then returning to England with his family.

Although the bush war is not discussed in political terms, the horrors of its social and medical results are graphically described. It is sad that a doctor who made such a valuable contribution and enjoyed himself so much was not able to remain in the country because of deteriorating circumstances.

 

J P van Niekerk

Consulting Editor, SAMJ jpvn@iafrica.com

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