Dr Phumudzo Ndwambi marvels at how women surgeons are taking up space with sheer force and doing a great job in a field that has long been conceived as a space in which men lead. She continues to thrive in the male-dominated field; this is evident in the leadership roles she has held, including being president of South African Society of Surgeons in Training, a position that has seen her representing trainee surgeons locally and in neighbouring countries.
The loss of her mother to cancer has become the driving force behind Ndwambi’s passion for her work. “I embarked on this journey as a result of my mother’s cancer diagnosis and the work she did with communities to promote health education,” she says. Her mother fought a “courageous fight” against her illness, and every day Ndwambi wakes up to continue her legacy.She wants South Africans to take charge of their health; she also works to give communities the correct health solutions, because she says the strength in building healthier and knowledgeable communities lies with them. She says she finds joy in using her strengths to build and empower those around her.
Ndwambi has also had to learn that having a healthier life means finding the balance to make time for other facets apart from work. She says pouring herself in her career led to her compromising her sanity and relationships. But she has since found a balance, which means living a holistic life and taking better care of her mental health.
Her advice to other young people is: “Be patient and kind to yourself, always.”