Medical Student Overcomes Funding Challenges to Graduate

Lack of funding remains a challenge for many South African students, with some having to give up on their dreams.

Dr Ntokozo Maphanga faced and conquered this challenge and fulfilled her long-standing dream of becoming a Medical doctor.

‘I really feel proud because this was a long journey with millions of challenges. I would love to open my own practice and run a successful business as a family doctor whilst enjoying being a mother and a wife,’ she said.

Having graduated with a Nursing degree earlier, Maphanga said that it was difficult to pursue her MBChB because she was working as a professional nurse and had bills to pay. She initially hoped to work while studying but study demands meant that she had to quit Nursing. At the beginning of her third-year in 2015, she was financially excluded from the University because she could no longer afford the fees.

With no choice but to suspend her studies, she returned to Nursing for a year, managed to pay off some of her debt and resumed her studies in 2016.

Maphanga is currently an intern at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi, Durban. She is looking forward to completing her community service in two years. Thereafter, she hopes to take up specialisation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

‘Growing up, I always dreamt of becoming a doctor as I was fascinated with the human body. I also wanted to help people who I could see were suffering from ailments in my community.’ She was raised in Imbali, Pietermaritzburg by her paternal grandparents. Her father worked in Durban and contributed immensely to her upbringing. While her mother passed away when she was 10, her grandmother was a “very loving mother”. The eldest in her family, Maphanga is a mother to a 16-month-old son. She enjoys singing and dancing and is a choral member in her church choir.

‘Dreams delayed and challenges faced along the way should never deter one’s dream,’ she said.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied