A History of HospiceWits
The Hospice Association of the Witwatersrand was officially established in June, 1979 by Arend Hoogervorst, the successor to Margaret Lebish. Prior to that in March 1979 at a TLC meeting, Margaret Lebish met Stan Henen who believed in her vision when social workers did not. Stan became a member of the steering committee, and was later appointed the Administrator of the Hospice Association of the Witwatersrand. He and his wife, Sherley Henen, first responded to a need in their community for hospice care, by caring for terminally ill cancer patients in their own home. Initially, one part-time nurse assisted them with caring for these patients.
In September 1984, the first property was purchased at 97 Houghton Drive, Houghton. It became known as Greendale House and was converted into a six-bed in-patient unit. By then, five full-time staff provided home-based and in-patient care. In 1985, the adjacent property was purchased with assistance from the JCI, a leading mining company at that time. In June 1988, our first facility in Soweto was opened on the grounds of the Mofolo Clinic, with patients being cared for in donated containers.
As the need for our services grew with the HIV/Aids pandemic sweeping through, we opened a purpose-built in-patient unit in Diepkloof in March 2007, as well as an OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) Crèche in an abandoned school in Mapetla, Soweto later in the same year.
Today we have more than 85 full-time staff, including doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and volunteer counsellors, caring and supporting patients with a life-threatening illness.