When head of the Middle Terrace Clinic Sister Roslyn Mager retired at the end of February, she’d served 40 years in the nursing profession – 27 of those in public health.
Mager started her career in Cape Town with 10 years at Tygerberg Hospital, followed by two years caring for the frail and disabled in Kraaifontein before moving to Grahamstown with husband Etienne and working at Fort England for two years.
When Mager started at the community clinic, it was in Albany Road, where Cassels Funerals now stands.
“I’ve really enjoyed working in the community,” Mager said. “I felt I could make a difference – especially to the lives of those in need.”
That Mager enjoys the complete trust of the community is borne out by the fact that people come to her with anything from marriage and relationship issues to a sore tooth.
She’d go the extra mile – literally.
“If a person with TB couldn’t come to the clinic for their mediaction, I woul get in my car and go to them,” she said.
Her greatest reward was the words, “Thank you, Sister” from a person in the street whose problem she’d helped solve.
“Being able to help someon who is really in need is what makes me happy.”
Her most difficult times have been when a client has said to her, “Sister Mager, I don’t know where I’m going to get food for tomorrow.”
“Unemployment is a terrible thing in our community,” Mager said. “It makes people unable to help themselves. It takes away people’s dignity.”
What are her plans now she’s retired?
“I don’t regret it – but in 40 years of nursing you miss out on many things: you have limited leave,” Mager said.
First on her list is time with her family, starting with her granny in Citrusdal who brought her up and who will turn 104 on 13 May.
Then travelling – “I want to travel in my own country first.”
One thing that won’t stop, however, is Mager’s involvement with the community.
“I can’t say now what exactly I’ll be doing,” she said. “But I know I will be involved somehow.”