Dr Sandile Kubheka from Pietermaritzburg has made South African history by qualifying as the youngest doctor ever at the age of 20.
Kubheka graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees (MBChB) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine with distinctions in obstetrics and gynaecology.
He matriculated from Siyamukhela High School at the age of 15 after having started school at the age of five.
“I am the first in my family to graduate with a medical degree,” Kubheka told Talk Radio 702's Koketso Sochane.
Kubheka, who is the youngest of five children, strives toward answering a calling to heal patients' suffering from diabetes, HIV and tuberculosis.
He says he also plans to specialise in internal medicine.
The young doctor, who speaks with a maturity well beyond his age, says he's proud to carry a beacon of hope for his generation.
“In me, they see that ours is not a lost generation. This goes beyond my own achievements. It is humbling to know that people are motivated by my story.”
Kubheka wished his mother a ‘happy father’s day’ and makes it clear that without her willing sacrifice, he would not have achieved his life-long dream.
“She was a single mother to five children. My mother was also a father figure to us.”
Kubheka enjoys his work with rural communities that often don’t have access to medical treatment.
His passion for assisting the disadvantage granted him the motivation to help register the Happy Valley Clinic as a non-profit organisation during his years as a student.
The enthusiastic doctor acquired an interest in endocrinology after being inspired by UKZN’s Head of Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Professor Ayesha Motala, as well as a family member who suffers from Type 2 diabetes.
As a result, he served his internship at Grey’s Hospital and hopes to eventually register for a Masters of Medicine degree super specialising in endocrinology.
“I am also fascinated by the endocrine system. Medicine is a profession that is always changing and as a doctor, you should always improve your knowledge.”