“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Neliswa Leticia Simelane



Organisation / Company

South African Military Health Service Nursing College


When Neliswa Leticia Simelane, 35, applied to study primary healthcare in 2017 and her application was rejected, she was undaunted. She decided instead to study nursing education and management, and was offered a lecturing post at the South African Military Health Service Nursing College before she even completed her degree. This taught her that some rejections can usher us to true our destiny. Life in the military requires that Neliswa is a disciplined example to her students. She has many responsibilities regarding the running of the SRC at the college, and she also promotes the nursing college on various platforms. She believes that the future of nursing is bright, and that many young people are now choosing nursing education as a career. Her one desire is that nurses be better remunerated for their efforts. Neliswa has come a long way: she came from a family where nobody had completed their matric, and it took a lot of courage to claim her place in the world. She now has two nursing qualifications, and is studying towards her master of nursing science. She is adamant that the youth be given more opportunities, and believes that the military is an excellent career path for those who are struggling to find employment.


Diploma in Nursing (General, Psychiatry, Community and Midwifery), SAMHS Nursing College
B Cur (Nursing Education and Management), University of Pretoria
Master of Nursing Science (Nursing Education) University of Pretoria (still busy).


I had an opportunity to be a panellist at the Third African Nursing Conference in 2023. It was such a great honour to present with icons like “Nurse Zee”. We shared different perspectives on strategies to manage the generational challenges that are there in nursing and strategies in relation to nursing education. I grew up believing that great achievements are for those who are privileged in life and spoke well. As a girl from the townships with no education in the family, I believed that such achievements were not attainable in my world. However, Dr Sharon Vasuthevan, who invited me to the conference, offered me an opportunity to be heard. I learned that with God nothing is impossible, for He is the light and the way. I have learned that in life some ears do hear, and some eyes do see, hence there will always be someone who notices your efforts even if you are clouded by negativity.


Dr Sharon Vasuthevan has been my role model and mentor. She believes so much in young nurses and is that veteran nurse who is willing to hear what young people have to say. She never judges or shuts young minds out, which makes her phenomenal.