Dr. Nolubabalo Unati Nqebelele. Source: Internet

Meet Dr. Nolubabalo Unati Nqebelele, the first black woman a PhD in Internal Medicine in South Africa. Dr. Nolubabalo’s life is an inspiration to all hard working and disadvantaged postgraduate students. Her life is a motivation, and a clear testament of what a determined heart can achieve against all odds.

Dr. Nolubabalo obtained a PhD in internal medicine at the Wits University in Johannesburg. A top South African university. Her internal medicine was focused on chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Nephrology. Years back, Nqebelele qualified as a Medical doctor at the University of Cape Town in 2000. She describes how some people thought her dream was too big, some people had questioned the reason behind not attending a local medical school.

Despite being born and bred in the dusty township of Ikhwezi in the Eastern Cape, Dr. Nolubabalo, aged 40 has always had aspirations of becoming a doctor. She grew up in an informal settlement in South Africa, and she has described her achievement as bittersweet.

Nqebelele said she initially wanted to pursue a specialization in paediatrics but realised it would be more stressful. The PhD recipient is a host mentor for the International Society of Nephrology’s Fellowship programme and has mentored doctors from Uganda, Mozambique, and Nigeria.


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