She was initially not accepted to pursue her first choice of a university medical degree. Fortunately, this ultimately led Dr Nondumiso Mzizana to discover her real passion in life.
“I’ve always wanted to work with patients, which is why I applied to become a medical doctor. When I didn’t get in, I opted for a BSc in the hopes of switching courses later on,” she recalls.
“But during my first year I kept coming back to wanting to work with people. Ironically, it was during this period that I also came to realise seeing too much blood and suffering was not for me.”
Dentistry was where Nondumiso found her niche. Today she holds a degree from the Medical University of South Africa, as well as a postgraduate diploma in dentistry from Stellenbosch University (SU).
She describes the profession as both scientific and artistic.
“When we go into a patient’s mouth to dissect the cavity, we have to think three-dimensionally. Otherwise, the filling won’t settle properly, and won’t fit or look good. That’s artistic to me.
“Then, scientifically, you have to use all your tools, knowledge and materials to do the job without the patient experiencing too much pain or discomfort.”
Applying the principle of thinking in 3D to her own life as well, today she is the president and founder of Sikelela Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Suppliers.
“During my early years as a dentist I noticed that there was very little equipment available to medical practitioners, especially the further you move away from cities.”
Sikelela provides a network that supplies everything from patient-monitoring equipment, X-rays and ultrasound machines, to defibrillators and cardiology devices. It covers South Africa, as well as big parts of the rest of the continent.
Nondumiso has also launched Success Summit, an initiative that builds entrepreneurs through workshops and training sessions; as well as a bursary initiative that to date has trained nearly 20 female medical technicians.
Her efforts as medical practitioner and entrepreneur have not gone unnoticed. In 2011 she was named Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year. In the past she’s also been nominated for Most Influential Business Women Leader in South Africa by African Business News.
“But, at the end of the day, I’m still that doctor who searches for the best possible ways to make patients comfortable when visiting medical practitioners.”
- By Steyn du Toit -