“The value of life is not in its duration but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live. Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” — Dr Myles Munroe



Desmond Tutu TB Centre

“People who can access health and operate at their best, have the potential to change their situation. An unhealthy, unhappy nation will not be able to change our state of poverty and inequality,” says Samkelisiwe Nyamathe, 31, a medical doctor and research clinician at Desmond Tutu TB Centre. Her work as a research clinician entails clinical assessment of children who are enrolled in research studies focusing on lung health and paediatric tuberculosis. She started as a clinician in a TB prevention trial which was a randomised controlled trial assessing the possible efficacy of Levofloxacin in the prevention of children and adolescents acquiring multi-drug resistant TB. She is working on research that looks at the effects of TB and other lung diseases on the lung health of children and how this impacts them as they grow up. Samke believes in the power of mentorship and has been working with the Womandla Foundation since 2020 mentoring students in Langa township, Cape Town, with UCT to mentor young women through their medical degree programme. She also leads an NGO, Alakhe, focusing on promoting skills development in disadvantaged communities. Samke is a trailblazer who is merging her experience in public health care to transform communities and health systems.

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, UCT, 2015
  • Diploma Public Health, Unisa, 2020
  • Master in Science Child Health, Wits.Awaiting research feedback, 2022
  • Masters in Public Health, UCT, 2nd year 
  • Courses 
  • Protecting Human Research Participants: NIH, 2018
  • Good Clinical Practice: CREDE, 2019 and 2022
  • Short Course in Clinical Management of Mental Health: FPD, 2019
  • Dispensing Course: FPD, 2019
  • BLS and ACLS, 2020

  • Conference Oral presentation at the International Workshop on HIV & Adolescence — Risk of HIV infection in young peripartum women (15-24 years at Tygerberg Hospital), 2020. 
  • Research published with the Equi-Trauma collaborative. 
  • Merit Scholarship from UCT to study towards a master’s in public health

All my childhood memories centre around a time with my grandmother and grandfather. I remember growing up being affirmed that there was nothing I could not aspire to. They religiously would wake us up on a Sunday morning to go fellowship and from a young age encouraged us to lead and serve. That cemented the heart of leading and serving well in me and has been my driving force to keep doing more.

Take time to savour every answered prayer and every battle won, it goes by very fast and the giants to slay are larger the higher you go so rejoice in every small victory.

My hope for South Africa is a stabilised health system that affords the poorest people good quality health care. I believe that through successful leadership and stewardship of our resources, we can transform the health system which is often the gateway for people who are unseen to be seen and given an opportunity to change their situation. People who can access health and operate at their best, have the potential to change their situation. An unhealthy, unhappy nation will not be able to change our state of poverty and inequality. 

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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