Siphosethu rises above health issues to make her mark in chosen field

Environmental Health graduate Siphosethu Cele has always made it her mission to stay on top in her classes.

Throughout her studies at the University of Johannesburg, Cele has had to deal with health issues but that did not hinder her from seeing through her degree.

“The biggest challenge was getting through the school work when I would come back from a hospital stay. As an anaemic person my health has not been all that great.”

Cele would be out of school for periods of time that required her to catch up on her school work. She is grateful for the support she would receive from her lecturers who would make time for her to catch up on tests and assignments.

Cele’s form of anaemia is iron deficiency resulting in her body’s lack of producing enough blood.

“I would have bad palpitations with my heart trying to pump the little blood I had and that would cause me to faint. I am managing it now through medication and haven’t had an emergency in a long time.”

Cele never let her condition stop her from achieving during her four years of study. She was part of the top five students in her class and in 2020 she was the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Academic advisor in her residence.

“I am the type of person who focuses on what I want and I do it. So I made sure I studied and made time to rest as well.”

She balanced her social life with academic activities that would help grow her for the future.

“I  joined Universitas 21 (U21) Health Sciences and Common Purpose groups in 2020. Under U21 I collaborated with students around the world and we were looking and scrutinising the Sustainable Development Goals. Last year in my final year, I conducted two research studies; one was for my honours degree and the other was a pilot study on mental health within the university students for the U21 Health sciences group.”

Cele had the opportunity to represent UJ and present her findings at the U21 Health Science annual meeting that was held in Mexico. Currently, Cele is doing community service at Amajuba Memorial Hospital in Mpumalanga.

Her dream is to further her studies, get a permanent job in a Mine setting and create a website where students can learn more about Environmental Health.


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