Doctors divided: Gender, race and class anomalies in the production of black medical doctors in apartheid South Africa, 1948 to 1994

2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation examines the history of the creation of a deeply divided and unequal medical educational and health care system in South Africa. During the 20th century the training of medical practitioners and the type of health care services that they were to provide was directly influenced by racial segregation ideology and discriminatory policies. During World War II, it came to be realized that the training of "non-European" students had to be of the highest western biomedical standards; however, this training was to be provided in racially segregated institutions to produce black doctors to practice amongst "their own" communities in a racially divided health care service. This thesis focuses on the racially segregated training provided by the University of Natal's "non-European" medical school in Durban. Due to apartheid restrictions on the provision of black medical training elsewhere in the country, this school was for many years the main institution dedicated to providing medical education for black students.

Segregated medical education in apartheid South Africa unfolded as a site of struggle and as a setting of contradiction. While the school played a pivotal role in providing training on a segregated basis that separated blacks from whites and produced "non-white" doctors to work in a racially segregated profession in line with apartheid educational and health care policies, the school also became a contested educational and political space where some students challenged the apartheid state and its policies. The medical school's anomalous establishment set up as a black school under the control of the more liberal white University of Natal, and its training of a "multi-racial" student body, who were allowed to live and study together, provided a unique opportunity for students to intermingle across state-designated racial categorizations and provided space for political discussions and activities to take place among them around shared grievances. The emergence of a powerful Black Consciousness student politics during the 1970s was one key consequence. The formation and operation of the Durban medical school was thus critical to both the struggle against apartheid, but also the construction of a racially segmented medical profession in the country whose effects are still present in post-apartheid South Africa.

Indexing (details)

African history;
African Americans
0331: African history
0325: African Americans
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Apartheid; Black students; Gender; Medical doctors; Race; South Africa
Doctors divided: Gender, race and class anomalies in the production of black medical doctors in apartheid South Africa, 1948 to 1994
Noble, Vanessa
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 66/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
0542365561, 9780542365560
Cohen, David William; Boyd, Carol J.
University of Michigan
University location
United States -- Michigan
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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