A CHAT WITH DOCTOR FAITH
“Too many people are rushed into make a long term decision before their ready, only to find that they drop out years later”
- Who is Dr Faith?
I often refer to myself as the “Artistic Doctor” as I feel it’s a term that really encompasses who I am. On one hand I am a qualified medical doctor, currently doing my community service in Mpumalanga, South Africa. I’m extremely passionate about people, healthcare and find pleasure in spending my days collaborating with them in the improvement of their health outcomes. On the other hand I’m an artist, a creative at heart. I’m currently pursuing my diploma in performing arts and am also in the process of writing my first book, something I’m very excited about. In a world where we’re encouraged to think out of the box, I believe there is no box. We were not created to be restricted by perceived “social norms” but to fulfil our purpose through doing our best to be all that we can imagine ourselves to be and more. My specific purpose is in healing, and I’m very intentional about conducting my life in way that brings healing in all forms for as many people as I possible.
- How did Faith manage to contain the Doctor and Artist in one body?
It hasn’t been an easy journey, in fact it’s ongoing. When someone is academically strong, the inclination is to always steer them in the direction of academics and not pay much mind to the other parts of them which are equally significant, if not more. I happened to fall into that category, however, I was blessed to go into something I absolutely loved. I invested my entirety into being a doctor, yet as a continued with my medical school career I had a longstanding feeling of incompleteness. It’s easy to lose sight of yourself when the world is telling you who to be and I fell victim to that. There was a point where I was so unhappy and needed to have an honest conversation with myself about who I truly was. But not just that. I needed to also ask myself if I was ready to commit to who I was despite the doubts that the world around me would throw at me. And that’s when I started making space for the artistic Faith to also grow into who she wanted to be. It’s been an interesting journey housing both individuals in one body. One that has also required me to make some really practical adjustments to my life. Which include having good time management, surrounding myself with a good support structure and setting realistic goals about my aspirations. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, so it really needs wisdom in knowing that there may be times when I need to give more energy to one aspect than the other and that its okay. All in all it’s been an exciting risky journey and I’m excited to see where it’s going to take me.
- As a doctor what gaps are you seeing in most African youths and what practical steps should they take to fill these gaps.
I think as African youth, there’s a huge gap in self worth. We’ve been entrapped into believing that we are mere shadows in the greater scheme of things and that the standard for excellence and success is in the first world. We don’t see ourselves as capable and very often internalize false narratives about Africans that further exacerbate the negative perceptions we have of ourselves. Furthermore, we engage in destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, promiscuity and crime which continue to taint our futures and prevent us from growing and contributing meaningfully to our nation. However, although not the only solution, I strongly believe that one of the things that can aid in this is education. This isn’t restricted to merely going to school. As African youth, we don’t need to read a textbook to see poverty and suffering. We live it. We don’t need to go to hospitals to know that people are dying from HIV and AIDS. We see it in our homes. We don’t need to watch the news to know the effects of crime. We feel it every time we fear for our lives the moment we walk down the street. Every thing that is taught in textbooks is in our daily lives, for us to learn and for us to grow from. The effects of generations worth of brokenness is there for us to see and choose to fight against. And fighting against it doesn’t need drastic actions. It needs the small decision to go to school instead of smoking cannabis at the corner with your friends. It needs the decision to drink responsibly, instead of subjecting yourself to substance abuse. It’s the decision to practice safe sexual practices at all times, no matter how tempting it might. It’s deciding to empower yourself by reading about your African heritage and the people who’ve done impeccable things and making them the standard. It’s about making a series of small decisions as a young person that will equip you with weapons that no one can take away from you. Although this is not the only solution, I believe it could be step closer towards closing these particular gaps in our youth.
We all started small, can you share a bit about your journey. How did you start? The storms you faced? How did you make it thus far?
My path was not a linear path at all but I’ve come to learn that it was all the curves that led me to where I am today. At school, I was always strong academically, so when I got to university and struggled I had the biggest knock to my self esteem. Not only was I struggling academically, I also sank into an extremely dark depression that left me unable to get through most days. What hurt even more was that the more I tried the more I sank, bringing me to a point where I truly stopped believing that I belonged there. My turning point however, took place when I had to make the decision to go back. There was a large part of me that was afraid, afraid of being seen, afraid of being judged. But there was another part that remembered why I was there. I remembered that I had gone there to fulfil my dreams and no one’s perception of me had the power to deter that. I decided that I’d shed my old self and start taking active steps towards being my best self again. I had to relook at my study methods, seek help when I needed it and make small consistent efforts daily. I set goals to empower myself and enhance my other attributes and worked towards them. It wasn’t easy, especially when battling your mind, but it was possible and I refused to go back to being the person I was. Eventually I moved from having complete doubt in myself to becoming part of The Medical Students Council, exempting the rest of my exams and I continued to eventually getting my degree. It took being at my lowest to truly see myself , my potential and to develop a form of resilience that I otherwise would not have obtained. Hence I’m truly grateful for it.
- As a doctor, what other businesses are you into?
Entrepreneurship isn’t something I’ve ventured into as yet. However, it is in the pipeline for the near future. Right now my main focus is on my diploma, furthering my medical studies and growing my youth empowerment program.
- Can you share some tips about how the youth should start making decisions about their lives? What measures should they take and how do they set long term plans for the future, which stage should they start making such firm decisions?
The decision making process starts very early. It starts with paying attention in school, being diligent and taking ownership of your learning. Participate in extra mural activities, learn new skills, aim to cultivate your leadership skills. This is where self discovery takes place. Expose yourself to as many careers as possible as early as you can. The career world is extremely vast these days so take advantage of this and commit yourself to excelling in whatever your passion is. Once you’ve found what you want to do, take time to shadow people who are in that space. Often you’ll find that the career in reality is not what it is on paper. Thus it’s important to expose yourself to it as much as you can. This may also make you change your mind, and that’s okay. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Once you’ve left high school and you’re still unsure, it’s okay to take a break to figure it out. Too many people are rushed into make a long term decision before their ready, only to find that they drop out years later. With that said remember to be wise in taking your gap year, set goals that you want to achieve during that year and stick to them. The last thing you want is to wake up and find that 10 years have passed and you still don’t have a plan. There is no set time to make firm decisions, everyone’s path is different. However what’s important is the decision to start the journey and not to remain complacent. Remember, it’s ultimately about the small decision you make on a daily basis.
The Trailblazers. The trailblazers is an initiative started with the aim to expose young people to a wide variety of careers while also offering motivation and tools to enable them to pursue their dreams. We do this through career exhibitions hosted mostly in underprivileged areas where scholars don’t have much access to information and technology, while also profiling various professionals on our online platforms for students to be able to access at their convenience. We’ve collaborated with companies which have assisted with online applications during these exhibitions and we’re also looking to extend into mentorship. Our motto is to empower, inspire and enable the youth, giving them tools that will spearhead them into having prosperous futures. For more information on our events or if you’d like to contribute as professional you can find us on the following platforms :
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