Dr. Thandeka Ngcobo is a 29-year-old South African medical doctor who graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery against all odds.
Despite a disadvantaged background, growing up in a rural area and later becoming a teenage mom, Dr. Thandeka Ngcobo managed to keep her dreams alive. Now working as a medical doctor, she is registered with the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa).
“I continue to bloom where I’m planted,” Dr. Ngcobo told The Weight She Carries. “I hail from a village in Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal and was born into a family of eight children. I loved growing up in a big family.”
We asked Dr. Ngcobo to take us all the way back to her humble beginnings in rural South Africa.
How did your upbringing shape who you are today?
Growing up in a village taught me that it really takes a village to raise a child. My mother didn’t just raise the children she carried in her womb, she was a mother to many other children in our community. She taught us that no man is an island, and the importance of helping another person without expecting anything in return. She taught us to always be considerate of others and to always lend a helping hand and show kindness and love.
After school, I would fetch water from the river or collect firewood from the forest. I learnt to be responsible at a very young age, and I’ve carried those lessons throughout my life.
Tell us about the struggles of being a teenage mother.
Being a teenage mother was very emotionally and mentally draining for me. I was doing my first year in university when I gave birth because I was pregnant while I was in Matric (Grade 12). I had to leave my daughter at home when she was only two weeks old. I only saw her during school holidays.
I would get worried when she was unwell, but I couldn’t always travel home. As much as I had to focus on my studies, I always kept it in mind that I’m a mother, and I couldn’t ignore a mother’s instincts when it comes to her child. There were certain gatherings I couldn’t attend and enjoy with my peers because I was a mother.
What advice can you give to girls?
My advice to young girls: If you haven’t started being sexually active, don’t start. Abstain until you are probably married or emotionally and financially stable. If you can’t abstain, take time to educate yourself about the various contraceptive methods to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Last but not least, if you find yourself being a teenager mother, know that you can still strike back, make the most of your life and prepare a bright future for your child.
Giving up in life should never be an option, no matter how deep in the pits you find yourself.
What would you say are the key traits any strong lady possesses which can make her overcome obstacles?
Tell us about Maguya Steel.
Maguya Steel (Pty) Ltd is a steel manufacturing company in which I am the majority shareholder. I have the help of a great team in making sure the company runs smoothly. The company aims to recruit more women into the construction industry – a world which is mostly male-dominated.
What do you love the most about yourself?
- I love the fact that I’m easy to get along with.
- I love that I can relate to other people easily.
- I love that I am genuinely a loving and caring person, which makes it easier for me to do my job.
Connect with Thandeka through her social media handles:
Facebook: Dr. Thandeka Ngcobo