The first female black South African plastic surgeon to qualify from Stellenbosch University and in the Western Cape, Dr Mosadi Mahoko, has won the Jack Penn medal for the best result in South Africa for the 2019 final plastic surgery examinations, according to a statement issued by the University on Wednesday.
The university said Mahoko received a letter from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) on 8 April informing her of her medal for excellent achievement in the FC Plast Surg (SA) final examination of the College of Plastic Surgeons.
The Jack Penn medal has only been awarded twice since its inception in 1995. The inaugural winner, Dr Kotze Engelbrecht, was also a Stellenbosch University graduate.
Mahoko, registrar in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery, said the award was “a completely unexpected surprise”.
“I fell to my knees when I got the e-mail.”
The honorary registrar at The College of Medicines in South Africa (CMSA), Prof Victor Mngomezulu, said i the 2020 CMSA admission ceremonies were cancelled due to the coronavirus.
Mahoko was disappointed not to collect the medal and certificate.
“It would have been great to walk on stage and receive this great accolade,” she said.
She said “hard work and determination” had. aided her success.
“If you hunker down, study the work and are passionate about the work you do, you’ll be successful.”
She said her role model was her mother, the late Prof Sophie Mahoko, former dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Venda.
“I learnt so much from my mother, who died in 2014. She had humble beginnings and worked hard to become an impressive academic. She instilled in me that you must never let adversity get you down.
“I’ve worked hard with the aim of being a good, sensible plastic surgeon to all my patients. This medal has given me the validation to believe I deserve to be in this field,” Mahoko said.
The final exam had comprised of a written component and a practical all-day clinical exam at Durban’s Nkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.
In 2010, she worked as a medical officer in the trauma unit at Tygerberg Hospital before joining the general surgery department as a registrar, until 2015 when she joined the plastic and reconstructive surgery division. She is now in her final year as a registrar. She hopes to do a fellowship in rhinoplasty next.
“I have a passion for reconstructive surgery and, particularly, for cleft lip and palate surgery. I would like to work on nasal reconstruction in these children as they often have severe nasal abnormalities. I would also like to apply my knowledge of nasal reconstruction in cosmetic surgery,” she said in the statement.