The story of mental care in the Kowie in the early 20th century

THE question of mental illness is a very personal subject, but professor Lindy Wilbraham of Rhodes University gave a very brave account of her great grandfather’s battle will illness at the Lower Albany Historical Society talk last Thursday.

MENTAL NOTE: Kowie History Museum curator, Yvonne Surtees, left, presented some Toposcope magazines as a thank you to professor Lindy Wilbraham of Rhodes University who gave a talk on mental care in the early 20th century at the Lower Albany Historical Society talk last Thursday Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Pulling no punches, Wilbraham explained about her grandsire’s diagnosis and subsequent stay at the Grahamstown Asylum where he eventually passed away.

“I was aware that my great grandfather died in the Grahamstown Asylum, but it was believed he had a brain tumour as a result of falling off a horse,” said Wilbraham. It was only when she began to research her great grandfather’s stay at the asylum she learned a far less benign reason. He had been diagnosed with neurosyphilis, a disease that would have caused a great deal of embarrassment in Edwardian times.

Read more of this story in this week’s Talk of the Town.

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