Twenty-four Bachelor of Pharmacy students graduated summa cum laude at the 2018 Graduation ceremony.
They are: Ms Sarah Ismail Mayet, Ms Nihaal Ebrahim, Ms Lutfiyya Nazeer, Ms Leshni Govender, Ms Faizana Meer, Ms Kimera Reddy, Mr Azraa Jeewa, Ms Nicole-Ann Reddy, Ms Zahraa Sheik, Ms Telicia Jobraj, Ms Fatima Zahra Patel, Ms Naeema Dhoodhat, Ms Kajal Mohanlal, Ms Nazeefa Limalia, Ms Janine Peruimall, Ms Megashree Arumugam, Ms Faatimah Kazi, Ms Mikayla Ramjattan, Ms Elizabeth Mthembu, Ms Tashin Thumbiran, Mr Saien Govender, Ms Suvira Sewlall, Ms Thobeka Vilakazi, and Ms Amanda Mngwengwe.
‘I am very happy with my accomplishment. I expected good results as I worked hard and had the support of God and my family,’ said Ms Leshni Govender (24), a Pharmacist intern at RK Khan Hospital, who chose to study Pharmacy because she felt it was a field that would allow her to interact with and help people.
The biggest challenges were being away from home and financial constraints. ‘Many mistakes were made together with lessons learned. Overall, it was a pleasant and adventurous experience.’
Mr Saien Govender (21), also a Pharmacist intern at RK Khan Hospital, said he was delighted with the summa cum laude status. ‘I have yet to decide whether to further my studies or continue working.’
He believes pharmacy offers him a chance to use his knowledge to benefit others, ‘It’s a versatile degree because it opens up many different working environments one can explore such as hospital, industrial or community pharmacy work.’
Govender said UKZN had provided him with a healthy study environment. ‘I was able to find my rhythm by balancing my studies with physical activity such as indoor soccer to alleviate heavy stress levels. I was supported by classmates, friends and lecturers – I am very grateful to them.’
He draws his strength from his parents who have worked hard most of their life to give him and his sister every opportunity.
‘I tried to have no regrets by the end of each day. This quote from the movie The Equalizer motivated me: “Progress, not perfection”.’
Ms Nicole-Ann Reddy (21) said she felt overawed when graduating. ‘It still feels like I matriculated just yesterday! This accomplishment was not expected as I have faced many challenges over the years but I have always been one who aimed to achieve good results so I am thankful knowing my hard work was not in vain.’
She wants to study further and get involved in researching medication for diseases that are under researched or have no cure.
‘I studied Pharmacy because I always had an interest in Chemistry but at first I thought that the whole programme involved doing pharmaceutical practicals in a lab. After my first semester, I realised that Pharmacy is an extremely dynamic profession that does not just involve manufacturing of medication but is patient-orientated to meet the healthcare needs of the community.’
Reddy gets her drive from her highly motivated and hardworking parents.
‘I am deeply humbled and grateful. This achievement did not come without hard work, determination, family support, and, most importantly, prayer,’ said Pharmacist intern, Ms Fatima Patel (22).
Patel wants to further her studies and complete a PhD. ‘Other than that, I just aspire to be happy, to help others, and to hold the flag of pharmacy high,’ she said.
According to Patel, UKZN grows on one. ‘In the beginning, it was a huge culture shock – coming from a matric class of about 25 to sitting in a class of more than 100 students. But as the months passed, I built friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, and by the end of it even the lecturers felt like family!’
Said Pharmacy intern Ms Telicia Jobraj (24): ‘Seeing: Degree Completed – Summa Cum Laude, was thrilling. I was bursting with mixed emotions of having accomplished what I hoped to and moving on to a new chapter in life.’
Jobraj plans to complete a Master’s degree in Pharmacology and specialise in Clinical Pharmacology.
She initially studied Civil Engineering but soon found it was not for her. ‘After researching several other degrees, my dad suggested Pharmacy and I was surprised because I never imagined myself studying something in health science. I then researched the degree, the profession and opportunities available and found that it would be a new challenge that I was excited to start.’
She said being part of the Health Department, being able to give back to community and to improve public health, had been the driving forces for achievements.
Jobraj says she enjoyed an excellent study experience at UKZN. ‘The lecturers and admin staff were pleasant and helpful. If it wasn’t for my lecturers and their guidance through the years, I wouldn’t have managed to attain this excellence.’
‘I’m overwhelmed with joy, I’ve been working hard since my first year but getting a summa was a beautiful surprise. I didn’t think I would do this well,’ said Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital Pharmacist intern Elizabeth Mthembu (21). ‘Pharmacists give life to medicine through knowledge and skills and through that medicine is life given to patients. I studied this degree to make a positive impact on people’s lives, especially their health.’
Being away from home was a challenge but her mother’s constant phone calls saw her through. ‘Whenever I found things getting difficult I would pray and things would then look doable. Prayer gave me faith and hope that nothing is impossible,’ said Mthembu.
She is from a family of six living in Groutville, KwaDukuza. ‘They treat me like a princess. My family’s love and support played a huge role in my achievements.’
Mthembu’s hobbies include reading novels, listening to music and watching cooking shows on TV. Her favourite dish is her mother’s steamed bread and beans.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini