In remembrance: Marion Heap

22 August 2019 | The UCT Executive

Dear colleagues and students

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Dr Marion Heap (70), a senior researcher at the University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine. Dr Heap died at home on Tuesday, 13 August 2019.

Dr Heap, who started working at the school as a postdoctoral fellow in 2004, has been described as a pioneer in putting sign language on the human rights agenda. Colleagues say they have lost a comrade and warrior for equity, not just in South Africa but also in the region. She had a wonderful spirit and inspired everyone around her; she was a superb, engaged academic.

She was well known in the Faculty of Health Sciences and across Cape Town for her research and advocacy around the right to health for individuals with disabilities, regarding issues of language and the rights of the Deaf to South African Sign Language interpretation when accessing healthcare. With others in the school, she argued for greater attention to the deaf community in public health services, introduced innovations through different interventions in this area, and spearheaded sign language training in the faculty.

Dr Heap’s memorial service was held on Tuesday, 20 August, and her funeral followed a day later on Wednesday, 21 August. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Equal Health for Deaf People. The bank details are as follows: Equal Health for Deaf People, Standard Bank Mowbray, branch code: 024909, account no: 07 128 0391.

We convey our heartfelt condolences to Dr Heap’s family, friends and all who knew her.


The UCT Executive

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