A desire to honour his mother’s legacy played a pivotal role in Dr Mfundo Mabenge’s determination to become the Eastern Cape Department of Health’s first gynaecological oncologist.
This week, Mabenge, 49, who qualified with a certificate in gynaecological oncology from the South African College of Medicine, reached his goal.
His mother, Jane, died of bone cancer in 1999.
“She dedicated her life to getting her children educated,” Mabenge said. “I am so happy I could do this for her.”
He also paid tribute to retired gynaecologist Dr Andile Maliza for the support given to him and his family.
Mabenge now plans to open a dedicated oncology unit for gynaecological cancer sufferers while also strengthening collaboration with other departments to provide multi-disciplinary support to patients.
“Previously, we had to send patients to Cape Town for surgery,” he said.
Mabenge, who was recently appointed professor by the Walter Sisulu University, is also determined to train more specialists.
His training programme has already produced two specialist obstetricians at Dora Nginza Hospital. Mabenge grew up in New Brighton.
He completed a BSc degree at the University of the Western Cape, followed by an MBChB at Medunsa in Limpopo (now the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University).
He then received a diploma in obstetrics and a diploma in labour law from NMMU, followed by a master’s degree in medicine from the University of Pretoria and one in health and welfare management from NMMU.
He also holds an LLM in labour law from NMMU. “I have been busy,” he said, laughing.
The married father of four also manages the busy gynaecology and obstetrics department at Dora Nginza Hospital.
His brother, Dr Mzinqaba Mabenge, also works at the hospital, in the psychiatry department.
Mabenge, whose sister also has cancer, is keen to do more research.
Provincial health spokesman Siyanda Manana said Mabenge was highly valued.
“We are very happy he is choosing to stay on and serve in a public hospital. Highly qualified doctors like him also raise the [province’s] profile.”