Manenberg doctor boasts Master’s in medicine

Dr Randall Ortel has today graduated with his Master’s degree in medicine. Picture: Supplied

Dr Randall Ortel has today graduated with his Master’s degree in medicine. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 15, 2022


Manenberg doctor Dr Randall Ortel made the decision early on in life that he would be more than just another crime statistic.

The family physician and occupational medical practitioner hails from an area known for being home to many drugs and gangs, but Ortel did not let that hold him back.

“Manenberg is one of the best communities to hail from - very supportive, motivating, nurturing culture, upholding the ‘coloured’ culture but unfortunately the minority movements of gangsterism and drugs seem to dominate”.

On Thursday afternoon, Ortel graduated with his Master’s degree in Medicine from UCT and is currently a lecturer at UCT’s family medicine department.

When Ortel first applied to study at a tertiary institution, he was not sure which avenue to explore.

“I applied for every possible career, got accepted for everything I applied for, but chose medicine because I was told that people always get sick,” he says.

Dr Abu Mowlana is a close family friend of Ortel and a well-known doctor who practises in Manenberg.

“Observing him as a positive role model had an impact on my decision to choose this path,” he said.

Ortel graduated with a degree in medicine in 2010 and said his community was in awe.

“As a student, I was a taxi driver on weekends and university vacations to generate funds for my bursary shortfalls,” he said.

He continued: “I was recognised as a taxi driver in the community and when the news broke that I qualified as a medical doctor people were obviously in disbelief.”

“As the story unfolded they realised I was a medical student and only drove a taxi part-time. People were then happy for the so-called taxi driver turned medical doctor in Manenberg”.

Ortel said violence and gang violence in the area is in the minority and does not persist all the time.

“It's sporadic but when gang violence happens it impacts one's movement - you have to limit your activities - all in the fear of being caught in the crossfire of gangs”.

He added: “People all know me including the gangsters – most of us were together at school, played sports in the community or even attended church together”.

UCT acting vice-chancellor, professor Elelwani Ramugondo said:

“We congratulate all who will be graduating. They studied through 2020 and 2021, the years which brought unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their strength and perseverance are truly admirable.”