Dr Ncumisa Jilata completed her Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at Mthatha’s Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in 2009. Her completed fellowship for the Council of Neurosurgeons of South Africa in 2017 means she is now the youngest neurosurgeon in Africa, and one of only five black female brain surgeons in South Africa.
Jilata joins 150 other female doctors and medical residents working in the neurosurgical field across Africa, according to the most recent survey by the World Federation of Neurological Societies.
She hopes that her landmark achievement will inspire more female medical students to add to much-needed surgical expertise on the continent. Jilata was inspired while still in high school to follow her dream of becoming a brain surgeon.
She had to work hard to prove herself in the male-dominated field of medicine, Jilata said. “It was common to be second-guessed as a woman, but one’s work ethic will always speak volumes.” She hopes to become a worthy standard for young girls, to give them the courage to “break through the barriers of patriarchy” in medical science.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made special mention of Jilata’s achievement during his address at the Presidency Budget Vote in Parliament’s National Assembly on 31 May 2017.
Way to go Jilata!