Gamalakhe-born doctor makes history

2015-11-12 06:00
Photo: supplied Dr S’thembile Ngidi recently became the youngest black female oncologist in KwaZulu-Natal.

Photo: supplied Dr S’thembile Ngidi recently became the youngest black female oncologist in KwaZulu-Natal.

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AS a sickly child, Dr S’thembile Ngidi (31) says she used to marvel at how doctors could put a smile on the face of an ailing child in just a few easy steps.

It had such a profound impact on the asthmatic child that she made up her mind well before her teens she would to pursue a career in medicine.

Recently, Ngidi made history when she graduated from the College of Medicine South Africa as KwaZulu-Natal’s first black female oncologist – and the country’s only second one.

The daughter of a nurse and a farmer­, Ngidi was born and grew up in Gamalakhe.

“My parents were very strict. As much as I grew up in a township, I spent a lot of time indoors. I had to be home by a certain time. In order to watch TV, I had to earn that privilege by getting certain marks at school.”

A book worm and self-confessed “nerd”, she got four distinctions when she matriculated at 17. She then pursued­ her medical studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson Mandela School of Medicine from 2002 until 2006.

After doing her two-year internship, followed by one year of community service on her way to becoming a doctor, she worked as a medical officer at the ARV clinic at KwaMashu Polyclinic in 2010.

She obtained a medical officer post in oncology later that year. In 2012, she got a registrar post at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in radiation oncology.

She credits the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health for changing her life by awarding her a bursary to pursue her studies.

“I had academic colours in high school. After I was approached by the university to study, I applied for a bursary with the Department of Health. That was a huge relief for me.”

She attributes her success to nothing less than sheer hard work and devising a plan and sticking to it.

Not being one to sit back and bask in her achievement, she has set her sights on completing her Masters in radiation oncology next year, and hopes her story will inspire others who want to follow in her footsteps.

- Supplied.

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