A Brief History of Occupational Therapy in South Africa
In January 1942, two pioneering Occupational Therapists sailed from Britain for South Africa to establish the first OT training course at the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as the first OT Department at the Johannesburg General Hospital. The South African Association of Occupational Therapists (SAAOT) was inaugurated in 1945 and by 1954 became one of the founding members of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT). In the 1980s, socio-political pressures for change increased in South Africa and occupational therapists and other health professionals protested about inequitable, deteriorating and segregated health services. In 1997 SAAOT drafted a new constitution, which led to the renaming of the South African Association of Occupational Therapists to the Occupational Therapy Association of SA (OTASA), with a clear mission and vision for transformation, inclusion and diversity in South Africa and inclusion of OTTs and OTAs into the Association.
Critical reviews of the OTASA vision, mission and values took place under the guidance of transformation experts in the 2010s through National Listening Dialogues (NLDs). The analysis of these conversations led to the development of the OTASA Strategic Plan 2022, reorganisation of the National EXCO and alignment of responsibilities to plan implementation.
For a detailed historical account purchase OTASA – A remarkable story edited by Rosemary Crouch. This Coffee Table Book was written in order to celebrate the history and legacy of SAAOT /OTASA
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