'Think big and nothing is impossible'

2015-11-18 08:32


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Durban - With a wry smile and bubbly personality, Dr S’thembile Ngidi, KwaZulu-Natal’s first black female oncologist, is all about a positive mind-set and determination.

In October, the 31-year-old graduated as a radiation oncologist from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. She will now treat cancer patients with chemotherapy and radiation at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban.

Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, Ngidi said she felt a “strange kind of responsibility” with her achievement.

“I feel like this is something very important not just racially but also for other women and young girls out there. I had a dream of doing something and all I did was try to pursue that dream. I want them all to do the same.”

The daughter of a nurse and a farmer, Ngidi hails from Port Shepstone, south of Durban. Recalling her early influences, she fondly explained her health challenges as a young girl.

“I was actually a very asthmatic child when I was around 7 years old. I loved how easy it was for the doctors to heal me and how wonderful their attitudes were toward me. I even remember drawing myself as a doctor when I was little.”

Ngidi said her build up to becoming a doctor was always prefaced with the mindset “think big”.

“Some of my medical influences include Marie Curie and Dr Nkosazana [Dlamini-] Zuma. These are people who pioneered and were not afraid to free their minds to their full potential.”

Discussing her challenges in her career, Ngidi said the total eight years of studying sometimes “felt like forever”.

“You know you see your peers starting to work and go on to do other things and a part of you wonders when your dream will be realised. I felt like I lost some social skills along the way being buried in the books. But in the end it was most certainly worth it.”

Ngidi added that certain aspects of her job were very sensitive but she ensured she approached patients with a positive attitude.

“You know I try my best to speak to patients with as much compassion and care as possible. A lot of people come in here and do not understand that there are stages of cancer and they can be treated and fully healed.

“I just urge people to always be aware of the disease and ensure they are regularly checked. Be 100% sure. Do not put your health second.”

When asked about her future, Ngidi responded confidently: “Hopefully I can one day do something at the African Union or the United Nations. We always have to think big right?”

Read more on:    durban  |  health

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