Forensic Open Day 2016

12 Aug 2016 - 12:30

Open Day 2016

On the 12th of August 2016 , the Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology/ Forensic Pathology Service, hosted its 4th annual Open Day for Grade 11 learners at UCT’s Faculty of Health Science. The Head of Forensic Medicine, Professor Lorna Martin, welcomed the audience.

A flyer had been sent out via, as well as posted on our website. In this way we tried to reach as many schools in the Western Cape (and beyond), as possible, and I was happy to see a good response from public and private schools. Unfortunately our venue is small, and limits the number of learners who can attend. A larger venue is envisaged in the future.

This year’s event was special, as it coincided with the Western Cape Government (WCG), Department of Health, Forensic Pathology Service 10th year Anniversary, since it took over the State mortuaries from the South African Police Services.To that end, we had a special guest, Mrs Vonita Thompson, Director of Forensic Pathology Services (WCG Health), addressing the audience.

Dr Liebenberg and Calvin Mole also gave short presentations on their fields of work, within the department, namely forensic pathology and forensic science, respectively.

This year we had a crime scene scenario with skeletal remains and a demonstration on how to identify bones, regarding age, sex etc. Dr V Gibbon and her team hosted this part of the Forensic Day in the Anatomy building.

The learners then moved to the Pathology Learning Centre (PLC), where they were also introduced to other fields of Forensics, namely Fingerprints, Toxicology, DNA, Ballistics/Metallurgy, and basic organ pathology.

The heart was presented by Dr D Jaravaza and the brain by Dr L Peddle.

The Forensic Science disciplines were presented by several Master students who are undertaking/have completed a Masters course in Biomedical Forensic Science, in our Division.

The Ballistics stand was a hit with the learners, and was manned by South African Police Services Officers from the Forensic Science Laboratory in Plattekloof.

Lasec/Edutrade not only displayed laboratory items, mainly directed at Life Sciences teaching in schools, but also sponsored the event, so I would like to extend a big Thank You to the representatives, Christel Nossek and Megan van der Poel!

The day ended with a prize draw. Michelle Coetzee won a book prize and three other lucky learners (Ngcana Luvuyo, Holly Judge and Gqwetha Mvuso), won a gift voucher each, to visit the Science Centre.

Feedback from those who attended  was that the learners benefited in knowing what possible career choices they can follow in the field of Forensic Pathology/ Science.

I would like to thank all those who assisted in making the day a success and for passing on their knowledge and inspiring the learners to want to become proudly South African pathologists/ scientists!