Get to know SA's first black female plastic surgeon - Dr Gloria Tshukudu

Patient at Doctor's office
Patient at Doctor's office

There's big buzz around Dr Gloria Tshukudu.

For good reason.

According to Briefly, she's a "senior consultant at Dr George Mukhari Hospital, a scholarly healing facility in the north of Pretoria close to Ga-Rankuwa and a sessional plastic surgeon in the Mediclinic Muelmed in Pretoria and Mediclinic Legae in Mabopane."

They add that she works on burn victims and amputees more than the stereotypical surgeries you'd see featured on Botched or Nip/Tuck.

But she is all about confidence whether that comes from a cleft lip surgery or enhancing the size of someone's breasts.

Getting there hasn't been easy though.

She spoke to us about her challenges as a black woman in the plastic surgery industry and what drives her success and her future aspirations.

Read her story below.

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"I fell in love with plastic surgery after my clinical rotation. It was a lot lighter when compared to general surgery and after I read about all the possibilities there were in plastic surgery, I was particularly interested in the transformations I could make in other people's lives especially trauma victims looking to start over.

One of the challenges I faced after entering the world of plastic surgery was language and terminology, I often got lost between presentations and briefs because I was not very familiar with the terms being used.

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Another difficulty with being black and female in this industry is fitting in, especially while you're trying to find your feet. However, there are programs in place to help you with this. The amount of work one has to do also pushes you into finding your way.

Many times I felt way in above my head. The only way to combat such problems is to work hard to familiarise yourself with every aspect of your field which is what I learned to do.

This accomplishment means so much to me. I'm happy that I have made it and managed to come this far. I have to keep going and make sure that I get more knowledge and to empower myself because somewhere out there I am someone's role model.

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I especially want to be a great role model to my children who look up to me.

The three lessons I've learned about chasing and reaching for dreams and goals that seem too far to reach are to never give up, to always believe in yourself and to have faith in your abilities a strong black woman.

As far as welcoming more black women in this field, I definitely see a bright future. As we speak, we have four black females who have just qualified and one who is doing her final year.

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The advice I have for other young women looking to be plastic surgeons is that it is a long and winding road and it has it's ups and downs. Also they should always focus and not lose sight of their goal. Another important thing is to live a little as the journey is always stressful.

Also always know exactly what you want before you go and get it.

Although some may see it that way, I have never thought of myself as a superwoman. I always ask for help whenever necessary.

As far as my career goes, there is so much more I am looking to achieve and a lot more work to be put in."

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