|File:Thembi Shelembe Picture.png |
29 February 1968
Hlanza, South Africa
|🏡 Residence||Kwazulu Natal, South Africa|
💵 Salary :
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Thembekile "Thembi" Shelembeo (born 29 February 1968 is a South African citizen born at the dusty streets of Hhaza Village in Kwazulu Natal.Her name translates to “trustworthy” in Zulu and she speaks and understands most of the official languages. She grew up at the time the country was racially and socioeconomically segregated under apartheid.She spent most of her early years helping to keep the family afloat.
Thembi is a third of 9 siblings. Her mom Beatrice Sizeni and other siblings are still in KZN, she lost her father in 2005 and her older sister (first born in 1989 while she started her first year at Tertiary level. She went to primary school at Hhaza Primary followed by Simunye Secondary and finished her high School at Mpophomeni in 1987. Thembi had a very good upbringing despite acquiring Polio at the age of two, during the 1968 – 1972 outbreak, spending inordinate amount of time in hospital and subsequently being left with a paralysis.
Thembi was a friendly and bright girl and had many friends growing up. She was a very good student in primary School and her Teacher Mr Dlamini thought of her as a special pupil in his class, she used to call him “Dad”. Her own father whom she adored, sadly passed away in 2005 a few years after her eldest sister committed suicide. Both events shook her to the core, but she has endured and thrived in spite of the hardship.
Coming from an economically disadvantaged background meant that her parents couldn’t fund her studies after matric, she was fortunate to obtain bursaries from Church, the Technikon and Department of Heath even though her lifelong dream had been to study medicine, circumstances led her to eventually give up on that dream.
At that young age while studying, she had to become a bread winner to her family. She would skip meals so that she will get a refund and give the money to her parents. While she was busy with her internship, she decided to save money and buy a house for her family. She bought the house and took her siblings to college using her monthly intern stipend.
In 2005 Thembi got married and had two children (Girl and Boy), sadly the marriage crumbled and she divorced in 2011. She then decided to leave her hometown, moving to Johannesburg with her with her children to start a new life. They settled in the East Rand where she stays with her children, grandson and younger sister.
As a woman of God, single parenting has been challenging but also fun and fulfilling for her. Her determination and focus is giving her children the best education and everything possible in life.
In 1989, after graduating from high school, she enrolled for a National Diploma in Medical Technology at Mangosuthu Technikon, now known as Mangosuthu University of Technology and graduated in 1991. Shen then later worked as a student Medical Technologist at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, later moving to Grey’s Hospital after the centralization.
She worked as Medical Technologist specializing in Histology for 15 years as someone who values education and having developed an interest in how data obtained from the new technologies can be harnessed to solve existing medical problem, she enrolled at Unisa for a BSc till the third year in Data Metric.
When she was already at the third year of her studies, she was elected to join a team of people who would roll out a Laboratory Information Systems to NHLS Laboratories nationwide, a massive and very complex task as some of the staff in those laboratories have never seen , never mind worked on a computer before.
This led her to put completing her studies on hold to dedicate herself to the project which took a total of nine years to be completed. Incidentally being involved in the project led Thembi to her present career as a Functional Analyst.
Thembi was diagnosed with Polio, or Poliomyelitis, (is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person's brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis, you can't move parts of the body)
She was diagnosed at a very young age; she was only 2 years old still trying to walk as a baby. Around those years between 1968 and 1972 there was an outbreak of Polio and she was one of the people who was also affected. Her joints were weak so she couldn’t walk properly, so they had to do an operation on her right leg which was affected badly.
She stayed at Edendale hospital doing operations till the age of 6 years. While she was in Hospital it was discovered that her dad also had Polio but it was not severe like her because he was older and his body has already developed.
She uses crutches for support to walk about and she has been using them for a long time. She is able to drive her own car to go around doing her day to day routines. She survived Polio because of the support she got from her family and kids. Her motto has always been that there is life after Polio, she had to conquer all limitations the disability imposed on her and become the survivor determined to living her best life.
She was featured in a documentary called Surviving Polio with other South African survivors by National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). NICD is a national public health institute of South Africa, providing reference to microbiology, virology, epidemiology, surveillance and public health research to support the government’s response to communicable disease threats.
- Mazibuko, Nomuza , Retrieved on 14 April 2019.
- Cele, Zandile. , Retrieved on 14 April 2019.
- http://www.nicd.ac.za/surviving-polio-documentary/Retrieved on 14 April 2019.
- https://www.cdc.gov/polio/about/index.htm, Page last reviewed: July 25, 2017, Global Health/Retrieved on 14 April 2019.
- Khumalo, Nkosingiphile. , Retrieved on 14 April 2019.
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