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I Am UWC: Elna Roux Gives Back To Dentistry Faculty Artistically

Author: Institutional Advancement: Khanyisile Brukwe

Elna Roux is a newly-retired dental receptionist who worked at the Dental School in Tygerberg - and a soon-to-be full-time artist.

I Am UWC: Elna Roux Gives Back To Dentistry Faculty Artistically

Elna Roux, who recently retired as dental receptionist at the Dental School in Tygerberg and is soon to be a full-time artist, shared her love for art with the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Faculty of Dentistry the best way she could: by painting the Faculty a forest.

It’s a symbol of the relationships at the faculty - which like the trees, have long, strong roots which will endure season after season.

“I want everybody who looks at that forest, to become calm and one with nature and God,” Elna says.

The painting is Elna’s way of giving back to the faculty, in light of the love and support she’s received from it for the past 25 years. Looking back, Elna recalls all her fondest memories with the staff and students.

“Everybody is friendly and we shared a lot of jokes amongst each other,” she says, “and the students are like my own children.” She’s been impressed by the quality of training the Faculty provides to dental students - and by the excellent service it offers to the public for oral health.

“The building itself is always very near and all the staff very friendly and helpful,” she shares.

And Elsna played a part in the Faculty’s successes as well.

“The Faculty is happy to acknowledge Elna’s many contributions,” says Faculty of Dentistry Dean, Prof Yusuf Osman. “She ensured that there were always appropriate patients at all times for the comprehensive training of our students. We have great regard for her service to the Institution, and place on record our thanks for the amazing painting which we are grateful for and which our patients can enjoy while they wait to be seen to.”

Starting out as a dental assistant in 1973 - she has a very deep attachment to the career and will continue to be grateful to the Dental Faculty for providing a home for her to grow.

”It came during a very low point of my life,” she shares, “and today, I leave it behind feeling loved and happy. And it enabled me to buy a house and car - things that I could have never imagined before.”

Elna feels thankful for the many positive influences she’s had in her life, including her father - her role model in so many ways - and her former co-workers, whom she has grown very attached to and will never forget.

“I grew close to Dr N. Patel, Mrs E. Ornelas and Mrs S. September - each of them has a very specific place in my heart and it’s a friendship that can never be broken,” she shares.

Art, Passion and Lifelong Learning

Elna has always been an artistic person - but was not easily able to pursue her talent due to her many obligations. She started painting in her late 50s, and loves it the most - amongst her other talents - because it helps her to get rid of stress and teaches her to be patient and to get to know herself better.

“I am a tree lover, a calm person and a nature lover, and it’s wonderful to be able to share that with others,” she explains. “The painting is also a symbol of who I am.”

With her newfound free time, Elna wants to get into the entertainment industry, pursuing film and acting classes and doing vocal performances in intimate settings such as morning teas, old age homes, and so on. She would also like to teach people how to paint.

“Hopefully I will start on that soon”, she explains. “I’d like to help people share their vision. For any young artist, whatever creative thought or idea you have, just trust yourself and do it. Do not worry about age because it is just a number.”

Reflecting on her journey and feeling enthusiastic about the future, she shares her last words to the Dentistry department, students and staff, “Never mind the downfalls in your life. Be true to yourself. Work hard, play hard, have fun, keep on smiling - and I know your Creator will meet all your needs.”​​​​​​​

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