Press Release: Cecilia Makiwane Awards 2017 | Western Cape Government



Press Release: Cecilia Makiwane Awards 2017

7 November 2017

The Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) hosted its annual Provincial Cecilia Makiwane Nurse's Recognition Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, 7 November 2017 at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West. The awards honour, celebrate and value nurses for their selfless dedication to the nursing profession and exceptional work done in their field through making a lasting difference to their patients’ lives and contributing to the improvement of their communities’ wellbeing.

“I spent most of my working years as a nurse and therefore, I am very proud to congratulate the nurses that go beyond their line of duty to take care of others with empathy and passion.  The men and women in navy and white are the backbone of the health system as they embody our values of caring, innovation, caring, competence, accountability, integrity, respect and responsiveness.  They spend 12 hours of their day taking care of others,” said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Health Minister.

This year's Cecilia Makiwane award was awarded to Gertrude Jacoba Smit, Clinical Programme Coordinator at Community-Based Services in the Overstrand. The Awards, which was named after Cecilia Makiwane who was the first registered professional black nurse in South Africa, provides the Department an opportunity to recognise the tireless work done by its nurses and reward those nurses who walk the extra mile with their patients and embodies the calling of what it means to be a nurse.

Sister Getrude Smit or ‘Sister Gerty’ as she is affectionately known, was recognised for her compassion for patients, their families and for her colleagues as well. She involves herself in all areas/programmes/services of the community, and is considered a true all-rounder with the best interest of all the patients, and the community at heart. Her constant efforts to integrate services and to look for creative ways of involving communities and to work with them, resulted in a steady increase in the Overstrand sub-district improving on performance outcomes, ensuring quality services and better health outcomes in all the communities. The introduction of concepts such as ‘Breastfeeding Carers’ that embody the First 1 000 Days campaign with special reference to woman’s health in collaboration with Women Action Group (WAG) is an area in which she is very engaged.

Gertrude is positively paving the vision, values and principals of Healthcare 2030 in order to improve health and wellness within the communities she passionately makes a difference to. She genuinely loves what she does and it shows through her enthusiasm to help others in a way that makes them feel safe, interacts with patients and the community and responds to their needs in a unique and caring way.

Sister Gerty’s exceptional skill to communicate with teenagers and support people from all walks of life, motivating and encouraging them has been instrumental. She reached out to the community, mainly the youth struggling with drug and alcohol abuse and took an active stance to help them. She extended an open invitation to the community to join in on the prayer walks and the response was phenomenal.

Within the safety of the prayer walk’s she had; four young girls approach her on domestic issues, namely drug and sexual abuse at home and mothers coming up to her seeking help on how to manage their children with drug addiction. She created an environment where the youth and community felt safe and protected and gave them a platform to raise their concerns about domestic issues.


The selection criteria included living up to the nurses’ pledge and nursing ethics, going beyond the call of duty, having a positive attitude towards patients and colleagues, contributing to effective management and being part of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team.

Media Enquiries: 

Interviews with Nurse Smit can be arranged with Simone Carelse on 083 421 0976.