Meet South Africa’s youngest and newest female Neurosurgeon! She has played her role in breaking down barriers for women in the medical field.


Dr Ncumisa Jilata realised she wanted to be a doctor in her second last year of high school. Having never taken Biology as a school subject she spent her matric year doing 3 years worth of catching up.

“I was already in Grade 11 when I decided I want to be a doctor, but at the time I wasn’t doing biology, so when I got to matric I had to do three years of biology in one year, in addition to the subjects I had already selected from Grade 10.”

Ncumisa learned about Neurons and how they worked, she became fascinated with them and started to learn all she could about them!

“That’s when I knew I wanted to be a neurosurgeon.”

She graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the Walter Sisulu University’s Mthatha Faculty of Health Sciences. She graduated in 2009. From there she went on to intern at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg.

While at her internship she learned of Dr Coceka Mfundisi who became the fourth female Neurosurgeon in the country.

“She had heard about me because I had worked in Mthatha for about a year while I was still training as a neurosurgeon at the University of Pretoria; I was the only woman among men and when she told me she wanted to be a neurosurgeon I could already see her working with me at the University of Pretoria, where she later joined me.

“Ncumi’s success is a proud moment for the impoverished community of the Eastern Cape and a victory for every woman, especially because she did everything in record time, at a very young age,” – Dr. Mfundisi

Dr Ncumisa Jilata is only 29 and has already achieved great things! She faced being second-guessed on a regular basis but believed that her work ethic would speak for her!

“I worked hard to break through barriers of patriarchy in the field, and to pave the way for other young women, to give them someone to look up to.

“My support system was Dr Coceka Mfundisi, who broke most of the barriers for me so that my time as a registrar [specialist in training] was smoother than it would have otherwise been.” – Dr Ncumisa Jilata 

Dr Ncumisa will be one of the future role models that young woman can look up to in this field of medicine. She can be very proud, we sure are!

Sources: Dispatch Live
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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