A mother and her daughter have made history by graduating with degrees in Pharmacy in the same year from the same institution.
Nozibele Mpanga, a traditional healer, and her 29-year-old daughter Nolindo were capped at the University of the Western Cape.
Nozibele decided to go back to school at the age of 56, a choice that inspired her daughter to add another feather to her cap.
The slimkoppe, who live in Khayelitsha, have been burning the midnight oil together for the past four years.
Nozibele started studying in 2011, after she was diagnosed with cancer and was healed.
She says she wanted to marry her gifts as a traditional healer and modern medicine.
Nozibele tells the Daily Voice: “I have always had the gift of healing and became a traditional healer at age 11.
“In Xhosa, you are a pharmacist because you can pick herbs and administer them but I wanted to also understand the science behind it.
“I had cancer of the oesophagus in 2011 and it was in the third stages and was malignant but I healed and I believe it was because of my faith and of course the medicine.
“So my going back to school the following year was to be familiar with science and to understand the two worlds and now that I do, I want to go even further by doing a degree in medicine and become a medical practitioner.”
Nolindo, who already had a degree in BSc Medical Biosciences, decided to pursue pharmaceutical studies in 2012 while pregnant with her first born, after being inspired by her mom.
“After I received my BSc Degree in Medical Biosciences, I started searching for jobs but it was looking really bleak,” she explains.
“There were really very few jobs available in my field and that’s when I noticed that there is a real demand for pharmacists, and I was confident that, should I pursue Pharmacy, I would be able to find a job the minute I qualify.”
“Studying while pregnant was not easy. I was working part-time, studying and pregnant and in June after writing my first exams I went and gave birth.
“And now as I finished, I’m pregnant again, five months along.”
Meanwhile, Nozibele says she is not done with the boeke yet.
“I have now applied to the St George’s University of London and I am determined to be able to treat people from beginning to end, not just administer medication.
“I want to walk into the ICU or Theatre with both gifts and be able to help people. I’ll be in my late 60s, but I’ll still feel the same way like I’m in my 20s. I’ll probably play soccer in my shorts over there,” she jokes.