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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.111 n.6 Pretoria Jun. 2021




Adam Omar, 31 May 1940 - 24 March 2021



Adam Omar, son of Aishah Vallie and Mohamed Omar, was born in Observatory, Cape Town, and educated at the indomitable Trafalgar High School that, in its more than 100 years of existence, produced graduates who made contributions to all aspects of South African life.

He graduated in medicine from the University of Cape Town in the class of 1965. After internship at Somerset Hospital in Cape Town, he spent his whole working life as a general practitioner in Bellville, Cape Town, and for many years worked part-time at the Langa Day Hospital. For several decades he diligently attended weekly ward rounds for GPs initiated by the late Prof. Roy Keeton at Somerset Hospital. He was always the first to arrive, never missed a session, and always participated actively.




Selflessly serving his community,

Caring character and humility.

Quiet and extremely self-effacing,

He spoke by his unobtrusive serving.

To Somerset weekly he made a sojourn,

He never tired from wanting to learn.

This continued for so many decades,

His enthusiasm never seemed to fade.

From a profound spiritual tradition,

This he manifested in his compassion.

Among family practitioners the cream,

He has now passed to the celestial realm.

Seek for him not in

the world's cemeteries,

Resides forever in our fond memories.

Yakoob Vallie

Adam was well known in his medical practice and community as a gentle soul and a very caring doctor, deeply committed to being a good GP in an increasingly complex society in which much of the hope offered in the new South Africa was unrealised. In these circumstances he was increasingly faced with desperate patients struggling to subsist, and many even considering suicide. He was a selfless humanitarian, a courageous, compassionate and unassuming doctor, not given to the active pursuit of money but rather to a life of service, and seen as a giant in the Cape Flats community. Adam spearheaded numerous projects in the pursuit of social upliftment for the disadvantaged. He believed in the advancement of the rights and status of women and their role as the first teachers of the nation, and he showed compassion for widows, orphans and the destitute in society. His patients adored him, and will remember him for his dedication and service in their times of need.

Adam was a spiritual man who had studied Arabic, participated in and taught Islamic Studies, and served on the Muslim Assembly of the Cape for many years. While its President, he was magnanimous and fearless in his leadership in supporting education and socioeconomic activities beyond the Muslim community into the wider society within which it operated. He believed that education was key to unlocking human potential for the benefit and improvement of society. He lived his belief that once individuals surrendered with sincerity to their innate nature to pursue truth, beauty and goodness for themselves and others, this would be influential in promoting these values in all aspects of life.

Adam was a family man who lived modestly. He loved to tinker on little inventions that, while being crafted, intrigued his family. Boating and water-skiing were activities he shared with his children. He enjoyed watching sport and, when younger, organised a weekly family soccer match with cousins and uncles. He was supported in his life's work by his wife Subeida, his daughters Aishah and Amina, who survive him, and his son Shaheed, who tragically predeceased him. His legacy of exemplary conduct, tireless efforts and dedication, deep insight and spirituality will live on in the hearts and minds of his family as well as those of many others who will remember him for his ideals and deeds.

Solly Benatar (UCT class of 1965), Adam Bhayat, Farouk Kerbelker, Shafik Parker, Yakoob Vallie

Cape Town, South Africa

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