26 May 2021 Volume :9 Issue :20

Physiotherapy Student Exemplifies the Profession

Physiotherapy Student Exemplifies the Profession
Charlotte Dube Award winner, Mr Thabang Ratopola.

Bachelor of Physiotherapy student, Mr Thabang Ratopola received the inaugural Charlotte Dube award for the student that best exemplifies the Physiotherapy profession.

The Discipline established the award to honour the memory of Ms Charlotte Dube, a graduate who was tragically killed earlier this year.

‘This accomplishment means a lot to me and my family,’ said Ratopola.

Ratopola intends to continue working hard. ‘I am not really a clinical kind of a student, but am theoretically inclined. I would love to carry the title of professor.’

He said that initially he was not sure what to pursue at university. ‘My heart was divided between Engineering and Health Sciences. Eventually, I went for Physiotherapy.’

Ratopola become a committed Christian at UKZN. ‘I had to divide my time wisely between ministry and my academics and also acquired some skills. The one I am most proud of second to my academics is in theology.

In his Bushbuckridge community, he was exposed to people who suffered fractures. He aims to make a significant contribution towards the management of this condition in particular.

‘I faced lot of demons I must confess,’ he said while laughing. ‘Financial, health problems, and academic pressure caused by imbalance with the ministry. Prayer and faith were my strength and the solution to all my problems. My lecturers also counselled me.’

Ratopola was raised by his maternal grandmother in Bushbuckridge. ‘She instilled in me virtue, ethics and good social skills. I enjoy reading my Bible and listening to renowned Christian theologians. My favourite dish is “chicken dust” and pap from the streets.’

A devout Christian, he engages in intensive study of the scriptures. ‘My friends in University use to call me Rabbi,’ he laughs.

‘Academically, I was always a top student from crèche. In high school, I was always number one to the extent that when they were calling out positions they would say “position number one is obvious, it’s Thabang”.’

He is currently doing his community service in Kgapane Hospital in Limpopo.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied

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