Tribute to the first black woman medical doctor in KZN

2007-12-14 00:00

Dr Phumzile Helen Ngobese (80), the first black woman medical doctor in KwaZulu-Natal, died recently after suffering a bout of ill-health.

Ngobese, the aunt of Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo, is well known in the city having worked at Edendale Hospital for a number of years. On her retirement she moved to Ulundi.

She was one of six children born to Philip and Ntombinkulu Ngobese in the Jonono area near Wasbank on October 4, 1927. Her life reflects the struggle that many black parents waged to ensure that their children received a good education. Ngobese went to primary school in Wasbank and later moved with her father to Salisbury (Harare) in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where she studied further. After being awarded a bursary by German missionaries, Ngobese attended the presitigious Inkamana High School near Vryheid. She was one of the few women from Zululand at the time who went on to study at the University of Fort Hare and then at the University of Witwatersrand, where she completed her medical degree specialising in paediatrics.

Ngobese worked at hospitals and clinics in Johannesburg, the Eastern Cape, King Edward Hospital in Durban and Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

While in the city she became involved with the Liberal party and attended meetings with Alan Paton, Peter Brown, Beyers Naude and Professor Colin Gardner. Ngobese firmly believed in using her knowledge and skills to uplift poor communities. She started crèches, breast-feeding projects and was part of the Edendale Benevolent Society. As a member of the Natal Environment Society she lobbied for black people to have access to Midmar Dam.

Ngobese also belonged to Bhoko, an intiative started by IFP leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, which helped improve working relations in the then KwaZulu government. She was part of the Luthuli Educational Foundation and a member of the Nqolobane Yamagug Esizwe, which encouraged the wearing of traditional attire and preserving African culture. After her retirement, she got involved in projects to get running water to rural areas.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ngobese’s only surviving sibling, Nolizwe, said she will always remember her beloved sister who took care of her since she was two years old, after the death of their mother. Ngobese was 19 at the time.

“She taught and gave guidance to everyone in the family, passing on valuable life skills.”

She never married and assumed the role of being mother to all her brothers and sisters.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.