Letter: For the love of South Africa

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The Independent Online
For the love of

South Africa

Sir: Most of the people shown in the photographs taken by Ian Berry in South Africa during the years of apartheid are now unknown ("Living apart", 18 May). However, your readers may be interested to know what happened to Anthony Barker who, together with his wife Maggie, was a doctor at the Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital, Nqutu, for 30 years.

Towards the end of their time at Nqutu, Anthony was offered a university post in community medicine but the South African government blocked the appointment, so the Barkers returned to England where they made the accident and emergency department at St George's Hospital, London, a showpiece of its kind.

When they retired, they returned to South Africa to share their skills in the accident department in Alexandra township. In all of this they did everything together, symbolised best by their beloved tandem: Anthony steering, Maggie pedalling, both equally involved. Tragically, they were both killed on their 50th wedding anniversary while cycling on their tandem in the Lake District in August 1993.

They were a remarkable couple with very many interests but predominant among these were health and a great love of the people of South Africa.

They believed in empowering people by enabling them to meet others, across the boundaries of culture, race, politics or religion. Anthony often quoted the Zulu saying "Umuntu ungUmunthu ngaBantu" - "A person is a person because of people".



Barker Memorial Trust

London W13