DOCTOR MAZIBUKO SPEAKS ABOUT HER JOURNERY TO VICTORY
By: Nosipho Ntombela
Registrar in Radiation Oncology in the Department of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), founder of Sinomusanothando Community Development, Oprah Heroine 2010, KZN Business Women
of the Year 2012, Prominent Women of Africa 2013 and a finalist of Standard Bank Rising Star Award 2014, are the titles that the beautiful Dr Thandeka Mazibuko has in her bag of
Growing up in the village of Kwanyuswa, in KZN, South Africa, Dr Mazibuko made the impossible possible. With illiteracy no one who went to school and completed matric at her
home, Mazibuko became the first one in her close and extended family to study.
“My village had not seen a medical doctor therefore I had no role model. I was that girl who came home cooked for the whole family, fetched water from the river and woods from the
We had no shoes at times as my mother was struggling as a single parent,” explained Dr Mazibuko.
According to Dr Mazibuko (40), there were no hospitals, as a result people died in numbers as they all depended on R. K. Khan Hospital in Chatsowrth. She took a path that led her to
study radiation oncology. Lucky for her there were no black doctors at that time.
“I was the first indigenous black to get in the field of radiation Oncology in KZN and I was called a monkey that don’t deserve education.
I was harassed by white and Indian doctors, they called me names daily,” said Dr Mazibuko, who added they were not ready to have an indigenous black doctor.
Her journey was not always bright as the rainbow. Dr Mazibuko has had rough dark days as she was once denied to submit a research proposal at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
(KZN). She was told that they cannot allow her to be the first doctor to.
“I have no idea what happened to my research funding. Men hate a powerful black female and they gang up to destroy and paint you a bad person. They will use all weapons including
sexual demands to give you same education opportunities equal to men.
If you refuse sex they hate you literally and start victimising you. I have seen man ganging up on me from the highest positions to destroy my career,” she expressed.
Even though Sinomusa Nothando Community Project was registered in 2007, the project was established in 2004. After she saw her grandmother die of diabetes. Her grandmother got
sick and went into a coma because the ambulance couldn’t get home as it was too deep, Dr Mazibuko vowed to bring help to her community from then.
Speaking on importance of going for cancer check-ups, Dr Mazibuko said, “There was a 35 year old lady who came to my consulting room in Pietermaritzburg (PMB), with a bottle
filled with worms. I was not spruced to hear that these worms came from her left breast.
She had refused surgery three years prior because she was told that her heart will stop pumping as they believed there was a connection between the left breast and her heart,”
explained Dr Mazibuko.
Dr Mazibuko continue to say that the Myths and misconception has made us loose young patients too early. They call breast lump a spell not a lump that can be surgically removed.
“We need to educate and screen our Community. Radiation Oncology is not taught in medical schools hence doctors who are produces don’t know about cancer and it’s treatment
because it’s left for specialists only. Early cancer detection is so very important and it’s the only way we can save lives,” she added.
Dr Mazibuko was recently nominated by ANN7 for SATY Awards, even though she lost to Nkosazane Zuma and Dj Sbu, she said that it was an honour to be nominated.
She is currently working on an event that will take place in February 2016.
“We will be welcoming guests from all over Africa at our annual Africa Unite Against cancer Concert and awareness like we had this year with Cassper Nyovest, Khaya Mthethwa ,
sgwili, Thina Zungu and Zama Magudulela,” concluded Dr Mazibuko.
“I was happy as a poor person eating rotten bread. Happiness is a choice. I have a lot of support from my mother and son. Without their understanding it would be very difficult for
me.” – Dr Thandeka Mazibuko