The Bonela community in Mayville, Durban, is proud of Prelene Naidoo (22) – the first in her family to attend university – who obtained her Bachelor of Medical Science Honours in Human Anatomy cum laude.
Naidoo has always been focused on her studies and thus, a high achiever. During her undergraduate degree, she received a number of Certificates of Merit, completing her Bachelor of Medical Science degree cum laude with a Dean’s Commendation in 2021.
‘Being acknowledged for my hard work and dedication to my field is the greatest reward,’ she said. ‘Medicine has always sparked my curiosity, so when I was done with my undergraduate degree in Anatomy, I decided to broaden my perspective and continue with honours. Poverty has always motivated me to succeed.’
Like other students, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major hindrance because, apart from having to master time management, not being physically present in class to engage lecturers and classmates and get into the groove of research-imposed limitations. Loadshedding also did not make matters easy. Already not a tech-savvy person, she had to learn to navigate her way around certain tools and software to make it through the year. She thanked her sister, Trisha, who has been her biggest support system, and God for His always perfect timing.
Naidoo said: ‘My experience at UKZN has been great! I’ve enjoyed meeting and learning from different types of people, being exposed to a new environment and having fun while studying.’
Currently working as a demonstrator in clinical anatomy at UKZN’s Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, Naidoo is also pursuing her master’s, but is now enrolled in the Discipline of Optics and Imaging. Her research focuses on the relationship between HIV and pre-eclampsia. ‘I look forward to completing my master’s and perhaps doing my PhD in something involving Neuroscience/Neurology, or starting out at Medical School where I could potentially become the next neurosurgeon,’ she said.
During her spare time, Naidoo loves to read, ‘learning more about us as humans in every aspect, from medicine to history and ancient civilisations to the various types of religions and cultures around the world.’
Words: Lunga Memela