Just because no one is doing it yet, does not mean it is not essential. Just because others say it is not your role, does not mean someone else is not begging for what you have to offer. Continue to show why you belong until they cannot do without you.




University of the Witwatersrand

Occupational therapist Faye Jackson, 32, is a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has a special interest in children with a concussion. She has been awarded a PhD scholarship, in collaboration with Loughborough University in the UK, to improve how we deal with concussions among the youth in South Africa. A concussion is a debilitating condition that can leave a lifelong impact, including difficulties with sleep, concentration, emotions and school tasks. Faye’s passion for making a difference in the lives of the youth of South Africa has led her to develop a model of care for concussion management and returning to school in a safe, controlled and monitored manner. The aim is for this to be applied, administered and available at any level of healthcare and even to sports coaches or community leaders. The very limited care available is not available at public healthcare level, so this is sorely needed and will be life-changing. Faye has been involved in programmes to assist students in the transition from school to university and the co-ordination of year courses. “As a lecturer on a practical course, I have the incredible privilege to accompany students to hospitals and community settings. I guide students while they provide occupational therapy. Teaching while providing services to clients in need truly is an exceptional experience.”

  • Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, Wits University
  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Wits University
  • Currently completing my PhD in a joint programme with Loughborough University (UK) and Wits University

  • Golden Key Award in 2011 In my BSc OT.
  • Awarded the University Staff Doctoral Programme to complete my PhD in a joint programme with Loughborough University and the University of the Witwatersrand
  •  Branch chair for the Southern Gauteng branch of the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (2016 to 2019)
  • Presented at International conferences and published an academic journal article.

Growing up, my parents made many sacrifices for my brother and me to get an excellent education and university degrees. I remember watching how hard they worked and wanted to ensure I did not let the opportunities they gave me go to waste. This pushed me to achieve and I continue to strive to achieve.

Listen to what people say you cannot do and use that as your greatest motivator. No one knows what you can do better than you. Comparisons steal joy. The only comparison you should make is who you are today to who you were yesterday.

In five years, I would like South Africa to continue to grow together as a nation rather than apart. I hope access to equitable healthcare, education and employment is improving and the divide between those who have access and those who do not is lessened. As occupational therapists, we are concerned about occupational justice and the right of everyone to achieve their potential through engaging in meaningful tasks and occupations. I hope that in five years  South Africa can provide everyone with this opportunity. Whether that is at work, in education or in a safe community, let no one have their engagement in tasks limited because of external influences.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

Subcribe to the newsletter