At just 32 years of age Viwe Mtwesi had already acclaimed a name for herself after she received a Mandela Medallion gold medal for her service on the medical team that treated Mandela by Jacob Zuma.
Just weeks later, Mtwesi went on to pass her medical board exams that would formally qualify her as a cardiology specialist.
Despite the tough times, Mtwesi is proof that hard work and determination go a long way. She grew up in a small rural village in the Eastern Cape, and after completing matric studied medicine at what is now known as Walter Sisulu University.
Once formally graduated, Mtwesi says she plans to go overseas to further her training by focusing on electrophysiology and her PhD. These studies have been made available to the dedicated young doctor through a two-and-a-half-year private sponsorship programme.
When asked to whom she attributed her success, Mtwesi says, “I am encouraged by and admire young people who are determined to succeed in life and in business [but] I thank God, whom I love the most.”
Despite Mtwesi being recognised as the youngest black female cardiologist, Mtwesi says she owes it all to her mentors who gave invaluable advice through her studies with her ability to persevere and succeed.
“I’ve had good mentors and great support from people who are highly regarded in this field, and who have been willing to hold my hand. There are many but they include academics such as Dr Ferander Peters, who is a cardiologist, and Professor Colin Menezes.”
Mtwesi was part of Nelson Mandela’s medical team and was honored by South African President Jacob Zuma for her service to the world icon.
“I was humbled by getting an opportunity to care for a highly regarded world icon, who also made it possible for me as a black person to take my position in society with pride.”