A dance of empowerment – lessons for the NHI?

Chris Bateman


The audience watches spellbound as Nikita Scott, 11, of Mitchells Plain, twirls to the music, her wizened little body lost in a transcendent performance of ‘spiritual dancing’, rendering near-invisible her musculoskeletal disorder and attendant tracheostomy tube.
It’s the annual tea party for tracheostomised children at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Mowbray, Cape Town, and there’s additional entertainment: a magician, face-painting, singing by Bishops Junior Boys School choir and delicious food. Each of the scores of ‘trache’ children and their families have different, stark stories of courage, endurance and triumph over adversity, but all share something unique: they are outpatients. They’ve been empowered to live as close to normal lives as possible in the most nurturing and healing environment possible – home.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

Full Text



tracheostomy, home care, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(2):62-66.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-12-14
Date published: 2012-01-26

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