Dental Therapy Students Graduate Cum Laude
Ten of UKZN’s Bachelor of Dental Therapy students received their degrees cum laude.
They were: Ms Aliyah Bassa, Ms Yenziwe Danisa, Ms Anabel Dlamini, Ms Andiswa Dlamini, Ms Nonkululeko Gwala, Ms Luyanda Miya, Mr Siminikiwe Ndonyela, Mr Wanda Ngcongo, Ms Axole Sigcau and Ms Sbongokuhle Zondo.
Said Bassa: ‘My dad is a dentist as was my grandfather and two of my uncles so I was drawn to the dental field, more so than others!’
Danisa says enrolling for a Bachelor of Dental Therapy degree had been a dream come true. ‘For me, dentistry is art. I need something that challenges me and develops my skills on a daily basis - dentistry does that. As a person who enjoys working with my hands, I just want to roll up my sleeves and showcase my talent,’ she said.
Anabel Dlamini says her biggest challenge was having to complete her studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition from face-to-face learning to online tuition and also with lectures being delayed took its toll on students as they had to make up for lost time at the beginning of their third year.
She thanked her classmates for their support.
Andiswa Dlamini described her experience at UKZN as amazing, saying she would forever be grateful for the special relationships she formed with people she met at the University - people she will share lifelong bonds with.
Gwala said she enrolled for a Psychology degree in 2017 but switched to a Dental Therapy course in 2019. ‘I always wanted to be in the field of health science.’
Said Miya: ‘Being one of the top students in the Dental Therapy programme and completing my studies cum laude is my greatest and proudest achievement. To be quite honest, I am humbled because my whole life has been a testimony of God’s grace. I am very happy that all my family’s sacrifices for me have finally paid off,’ said Miya.
For Ngcongo who had to learn to be independent at a very young age after his grandmother died, his biggest challenge was having to work while studying. Prayer helped him overcome his challenges.
Sigcau of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, outlined challenges she faced being a member of a big family. ‘I felt that to be recognised I needed to be a high achiever so I decided to focus on and excel in academics. I took it upon myself to become the first graduate in our family,’ she said.
Zondo highlighted the importance of having a loving and supportive family structure, identifying her father as her pillar of strength.
All students said they received excellent guidance from their Dental Therapy lecturers.
Words: Mandisa Shozi
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan