Meet SA’s Youngest Doctor: 21-Year-Old Thakgalo Thibela
At just 21 years old, Thakgalo Thibela is currently the youngest female medical doctor in the country. She comes from a small town of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga in a village called Violet Bank.
She started school at Farel Primary School where she was smart enough and skipped grade 7 straight to High School. -Attended her high school at Lehlasedi high School where she also did not do Grade 9. However, her dream of becoming a medical doctor almost came shutting down when her Grade 11 results weren’t pleasant enough.
Thakgalo said, “I’ve always wanted to do medicine since my days in pre-school. This dream almost got shattered when my Grade 11 results came back and they were nowhere satisfactory and this pushed me to do my best in matric in order to get accepted to study medicine. I attended all the extra classes and studied throughout the night with my friends. This paid of though as I ended up with 7 out of 8 distinctions in matric.”
Already being used to being the youngest in every class she attended and in pursuit of her childhood dream. She got admitted to Wits University at the tender age of 16, and continued to work hard in a cutthroat field of study and her efforts earned her a Golden Key International membership.
When asked her about her struggles throughout the journey..she gave a lengthy response In which the biggest highlight was ‘Self-esteem’.
“The one thing I struggled a lot with was/is a low self esteem. I used to be a really confident person until I got to university. I suddenly felt like I don’t belong there. I was surrounded by people who went to all these fancy schools, who speak proper English, and here I was ngwana wa Bushbuckridge with my subpar English in the same class as these people, and I thought to myself, maybe you don’t deserve to be here. My self esteem took another knock when one of my close friends laughed at me because of the way I speak (the way I pronounce words, my wording, etc), and this made me fear speaking in public, to the point where having to answer a question in a group of people was somewhat crippling”, she explained.
She indeed went far & beyond in defining the narrative “if you can dream it, you can achieve it”. Coming from a Christian background, she returned all the glory back to the one above.
“I can confidently say that I would not have made it if it wasn’t for God. He saw me through from the day I stepped onto the university grounds till I exited” she added.
See dreams don’t work unless you do, but Black Child one thing for sure is, it is possible. Everyone is running their own race. Our dreams can never be the same but one thing they have in common is that, they are achievable.
Dr Thibela is currently doing her internship at Helen Joseph hospital and intends on becoming a neurosurgeon in the near future