SMU’s female professors excel in their specialties

By Slindile Mtshali

“The Sefako Makgatho University of Health Sciences (SMU) recently announced that Professor Dikeledi Mokone has become the first African to be appointed Professor of Surgery in South Africa. Professor Mokone is a highly respected scientist in the field of breast oncology, both in South Africa and abroad. Her commitment to her bachelor’s and master’s degrees is legendary, making her a dedicated clinician and academic.

Professor Nathaniel Mofolo, the dean of the School of Medicine, called it a historic moment as surgery remains a male-dominated field globally. He added, “For South Africa, the problem is particularly acute due to apartheid and its legacy.” Professor Mokone completed her undergraduate studies and professional training as a General Surgeon at SMU, where she pursued further specialization as a breast surgeon.

Currently, she serves as the Director of Breast Cancer at Dr. George Muhali Academic Hospital (DGMAH). Her research interests lie in the area of breast pathology, which disproportionately affects poor people in South Africa. Professor Mokone has published numerous papers in the field of breast surgery. Her responsibilities include undergraduate and graduate student supervision, as well as patient care. Additionally, she mentors several master’s students.

The university has honored Professor Mokone for this significant achievement of hers, as she stands as a strong leader, making SMU proud of her accomplishments. Another notable figure at SMU is Associate Professor Nogifo Nyakale of Nuclear Medicine. Professor Nojiho Nyakare is one of only two black female professors of nuclear medicine in the country and became the first black woman to be promoted to the post of director of nuclear medicine after graduation.

She has now been promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Nuclear Medicine and serves as the Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the SMU/DGMAH complex. Professor Nyakale expressed her dedication to providing top-notch education and services for students worldwide. The department aims to offer a comprehensive range of services, ensuring unparalleled diagnostic and therapeutic support for their employees.

Professor Nyakale emphasized that the institute collaborates with other departments and domestic and international societies to continuously improve their research in the field of nuclear medicine, aiming for excellent results.

“This is a mission I hope to continue exercising, ensuring that we grow together within the division. I believe in being a hard worker by nature and always strive to do my best despite the resources available to me and my team,” she said.

Nyakale also expressed gratitude to her wonderful mentors who patiently guided her through various aspects of her career. “I am committed to helping as much as I can and always want to make a difference. Achievement is simply proof of your effort to carry out the purpose and service for which you have been called,” she concluded.”

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