In the late 1970’s the SAOA discussed the need to recognise excellence amongst Orthopaedic registrars studying at South African Medical Universities. Under the strong influence of Prof Robbie Snowdowne, the notion of selecting the Country’s top registrars and offering a mini fellowship to visit other teaching institutions in the country was formalised. It was agreed that selection would rotate amongst the Universities with the Head of Department selecting the Registrar of choice. Smith & Nephew agreed to sponsor the fellowship making it possible for fellows to significantly broaden their skills and knowledge.
The first fellow, Dr Daneel Heyns, was selected by Prof Roelie Grabe of Pretoria. The late Chris Terreblanche who played a leading role in establishing the annual Fellowship dinner was a recipient in 1982.
More than 80 members are now part of this select group of surgeons. While a few of our members have sadly passed away and some have emigrated, the Fellowship has grown from strength to strength and the highlight is the annual dinner where fellows reconnect and learn from each other during the educational session and case studies.
Undoubtedly this program has met all original expectations the SAOA tabled, and the prestige and quality of recipients has grown exponentially, with the fellowship producing many surgeons who have been extremely active in academic circles and profiled in private practice all over the world. Fellows have also made substantial contributions at SAOA Exco level and a significant number have subsequently served as Presidents of the SAOA.
The S&N Travelling fellows, selected by the SA Orthopaedic Association and sponsored by Smith & Nephew (Pty) Ltd.