After serving the Muizenberg community for 38 years, Sandy MacLean, 67, the pharmacist at the Rustenberg Pharmacy, in Beach Road, Muizenberg, will retire at the end of April.
For the past three decades, Ms MacLean has been a familiar face for all who walk through the doors of the pharmacy, which is a stone’s throw from Surfer’s Corner and the colourful beach boxes.
She started working at the pharmacy in 1985 as a locum pharmacist when Gerald Musikanth and Eric Casper opened it. In 1987, when Mr Casper emigrated to Canada, Ms MacLean became a partner.
“I never expected to still be at Rustenburg Pharmacy 38 years later,” she jokingly told the Echo.
Over the course of her 38 years of service, Ms MacLean has served three and even four generations of the same family.
“There have been so many families that came to the pharmacy as customers and have become good friends. I have seen their children and grandchildren grow up,” she said.
“There are also many families that travel to Muizenberg for their annual beach vacations. Their usual question, when they pop in, is, ‘Are you still here?’”
Ms MacLean has also seen great change in the pharmacy over the years.
She recalls the huge prescription books where they had to write up every prescription and of course the handwritten labels.
“Eventually we had a typewriter for the labels. With everything now being computerised, it makes things easier, especially having the patient’s records and history easily accessible.“
But one thing that has not changed, according to Ms MacLean, is the personal service they like to give their customers.
“This we still pride ourselves on, being a community pharmacy. To me, that has been the most enjoyable part of being a pharmacist – getting to know people.“
Ms MacLean has also enjoyed being involved in the Muizenberg community.
In the late 80s, she was asked to start a drum majorette squad at Muizenberg High School.
“It was great fun getting back into the activity I had done at university. The girls enjoyed it as it was such a different activity and they marched at various functions accompanied by the Muizenberg High School cadet band.”
Her children, Shannon and Iain MacLean, attended Muizenberg Junior School, and in the late 90s, Ms MacLean became a member of the Muizenberg Junior School governing body.
“It was a wonderful synergistic way to keep the school in touch with the local business community. The Muizenberg Junior School celebrated their centenary in 1998, and I served on the centenary committee that planned the celebration. My portfolio was the centenary ball.“
For Ms MacLean, it has been a joy to serve the people of Muizenberg over the years and the many different and interesting characters that she has met have added to the pleasure.
“We have always had happy staff at the pharmacy, and I thank them for their dedication. I wish them all the best under the competent leadership of Leandri Meyer, who has been with us for the past 4 years.”
Ms Meyer, who joined Rustenberg Pharmacy in November 2019, told the Echo that Ms MacLean was one of the most selfless and sincere pharmacists she had had the honour of working with.
“It is impossible to overstate how valuable she has been to Rustenburg Pharmacy. She has become such an integral part of the pharmacy, it is difficult to imagine it without her,” Ms Meyer said. “Thank you for sharing your expertise, wisdom and cake recipes with me. Your pharmacy career has been impressive, and your example is an inspiration to me. Enjoy every moment of your retirement and know that you have left big shoes to fill.”
For now, Ms MacLean said it was time to relax and have some “me time”.
“My husband, Rob, who is also retired, and I, would like to spend time travelling and doing road trips in this beautiful country. I am also looking forward to having more time to spend with family and friends. Taking beach walks and paddling. Hopefully I will have time to get fitter and maybe start wave skiing again.”