‘Sea scurvy’ talk at U3A

Roger Stewart

Helderberg U3A will meet at Strand Town Hall on Wednesday April 4, at 10am, and the speaker is is Roger Stewart, who will talk about sea scurvy.

The exploration and mapping of Southern Africa and the East Indies from Europe involved very long sea voyages, and this resulted in the emergence of sea scurvy, a scourge that lasted almost four centuries, when as many as two thirds of all crew members died of the disease.

Roger says it is estimated that about two million sailors died between 1499, when sea scurvy was first reported and 1845 when the British Merchant Navy introduced appropriate policies to prevent the disease.

The prevention and treatment of scurvy was learned and unlearned repeatedly over many years before this.

Given his medical background, Roger studied the disease and he will share what he learned about the subject and its connection to humankind’s great difficulty in learning from the past.

Roger studied medicine at UCT, and thereafter diverted into research and academia at Stell-
enbosch University’s medical faculty. 

He acquired a PhD and spent a sabbatical in Montreal studying complex systems with the aid of applied mathematics techniques, before returning to South Africa to head up the division of medical physiology. 

After a few years as professor he began a career in management, initially at the Medical Research Council and then in international business development in the pharmaceutical industry.

Roger manages a private collection of historical Africana maps and books and he conducts research into the history of the Cape and of African cartography.

Of particular interest to him are miniature maps and the Cape’s pioneer travellers and scientists, their maps and experiences.

The doors open at 9.30am, when tea and coffee will be available. Booking is not necessary.

For more information, contact Brodwyn at 083 604 0784.