PROFILE: Meet SA's first non-white dentist, Dr Ismail Minty

By Gabriella Steyn Time of article published Feb 12, 2019

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CAPE TOWN – Dr Ismail Minty aged 83, a qualified doctor and dentist born in Klerksdorp North West Province was the first non-white dentist in South Africa and was one of the only non-whites with a double degree in his field.

Minty attended Johannesburg Indian High School and then studied at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland & graduated with a degree in Dental Surgery L.D.S R.C.S.I  in 1965.

In 1974, He went back to The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland & commenced his Medical studies, graduated as a Medical Doctor in June.

After graduating as a Dental Surgeon was working at the The Royal Dental Hospital in Leicester Square - London, he then returned home.

To achieve such qualifications during the apartheid era was considered impossible. Yet, through sheer determination and struggle, he was then able to open his own private practice.

He was also the co-founder and treasurer of the Irish Anti-Apartheid movement, which he founded with Kader Asmal, co-founder and chairman of the Irish Anti-Apartheid movement and his brother, Abdul Samad Minty.

In an email response to Business Report, Minty said: "I had to contend with the discrimination from the local dental profession in denying me membership of the South African Dental Association because of the colour of my skin. It was an all-white body"

When asked what thought about the current opportunities available for the younger generation in the industry, Minty said it still does remain challenging. 

"It is becoming quite difficult for the younger generation to pursue their careers as we are in the new dispensation & competition for entrance into the various faculties is quite challenging," said Minty. 

Here are three tips, according to Minty that young people should consider:

  • Be steadfast in deciding your future career 
  • Have a role model on whom you can  aspire to
  • Remain focused & set yourself goals towards your future career

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