DURBAN - THE KWAZULU-NATAL Department of Health has welcomed the Pietermaritzburg woman who made headlines after earning a much sought-after spot among the handful of black female neurosurgeon in South Africa.
In a statement, health spokesperson, Desmond Motha welcomed 32-year-old Dr Nomusa Shezi into the country’s neurosurgery fraternity. Neurosurgeons are medical doctors who specialise in performing surgical treatments of the brain or nervous system.
Shezi has been lauded by the KZN community after the University of KwaZulu-Natal confirmed she had become the first black African woman to graduate in KwaZulu-Natal as a Neurosurgeon from their School of Clinical Medicine. News posts have been shared hundreds of times, with thousands of feel-good reactions.
On Facebook, Thokozani Miya posted: “Girl Power!”
Preya Pillay wrote on Facebook: “Well done Doc, you make us women and the entire country feel proud,” said Preya Pillay.
Mike Lesar, also on Facebook, said: "Well done! Your parents must be so proud and deservedly so."
There are only five black African female neurosurgeons in South Africa, and the first having in 2013. Shezi hoped to be a beacon of inspiration for other black African women.
“My parents did not shield me from the reality of what was happening, in some way urged a desire in me to help and to find a way to be a source of hope in my country," she said.
She fell in love with neurosurgery when she read about American doctor Ben Carson's exploits when he successfully separated conjoined twins.
"As a doctor, I enjoy being able to help people when they are most vulnerable. Nothing is more rewarding than a patient coming into the hospital in severe pain or with a marked disability and after intervention and rehabilitation, seeing them smile because they can now walk without pain or they can return to work and lead a normal life," she said.
But as rewarding as her feat is, Shezi admits the neurosurgery was still a male-dominated sector and hard to crack for women.
“We are still working in an environment where surgery in general is male-dominated, and neurosurgery is an even harder field to crack for women,” she said.
About Shezi’s feat, Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said: “Educating a girl child is such an important investment for the country but for Dr Shezi, it is even more special. She is the first Black African female neurosurgeon in the province, which means that our province will be placed in a unique position with this achievement. We are proud of what she has done and wish that her ground-breaking achievement will open the doors for others.”