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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

The Surgeon's Secret: Candice Thabete's Journey of Discovery

Unveiling Hidden Potential

In a world where the future seems uncertain, sometimes all it takes is a single revelation to illuminate the path ahead. Meet Candice Thabete (RF2020), a Matric Ruthie whose story is a testament to the power of self-discovery and the potential lying dormant within us.

In Grade 11, the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust facilitated a career assessment for Candice, a routine step for all Grade 11 Ruthies navigating the maze of post-high school choices. What emerged from this assessment was nothing short of remarkable – Candice possesses the aptitude for medicine, specifically surgery. In Candice’s own words, “Ma’am I was shocked, I first thought he had mixed up my results with someone else!” While Candice was shocked, neither her family nor the Ruth First Trust were surprised. As her potential had been evident to the Trust when Candice was interviewed in Grade 7, five years ago, to award her the scholarship.  

Surprise and Self-Discovery

Candice has never considered herself capable of such a demanding and prestigious profession. Self-doubt had led her to underestimate her abilities. But sometimes, it takes an outside perspective to unveil the hidden gem within. "I never imagined myself as a doctor, let alone a surgeon," Candice admits. "The idea that this was even a possibility completely blew my mind."

A Leap of Faith

With newfound clarity about her potential, Candice faced a pivotal decision – whether to embrace this newfound path or dismiss it as a fluke. Fortunately, guidance was at hand in the form of Prof. Zac Nel, a beacon of wisdom and experience in the tertiary education and career field.

Prof. Nel suggested that Candice attend the Apprentice Doctor's Academy, a four-day programme by Dr. Anton Scheepers, in the March school holidays, designed to immerse participants in the world of medicine.

There, they not only learn theory, but also practice medical skills in a simulated environment. They were taught how to set bones, grow their own bacteria, suture wounds, draw blood, scrub-in for surgery, and the importance of sterility, and how to control bleeding.

Overcoming Doubt

Initially, Candice was sceptical. The thought of delving into the intricacies of surgery seemed daunting, and the prospect of interacting with students, from very different walks of life to her own, added to her anxiety. "At first, I didn't think I would enjoy it because I had never imagined myself in medicine," Candice recalls. "And I was nervous about fitting in, but I decided to go with an open-mind."

A Transformative Experience

But as the saying goes, "fortune favours the bold." Stepping out of her comfort zone, Candice embarked on this journey of self-discovery. What she found surpassed her wildest expectations. The Apprentice Doctor's Academy not only equipped Candice with valuable medical skills but also fostered a sense of camaraderie among students from varied walks of life. Together, they navigated the complexities of the human body, each bringing their unique perspective to the table. As a group, they formed very close bonds and are still regularly in touch with each other.

A Future Unveiled

Today, Candice stands at the threshold of a promising future, armed with newfound confidence and a sense of purpose and passion. The once-unthinkable notion of becoming a surgeon now feels within reach, thanks to a single moment of revelation and the courage to pursue it.

As Candice reflects on her journey, she offers this advice to others grappling with self-doubt: "Believe in yourself, even when it seems impossible. Everyone has been brought to this earth with a Divine purpose to fulfil. Though it may take time to discover it, perseverance, hard work and prayer are key to unlocking your potential. All you need to do is to keep showing up!"

We are excited to see what is next in your educational journey Candice!



Robyn Hill

Manager: Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust

Should you wish to make a donation, payment is accepted by SnapScan or eft to Absa, Eastgate, Branch code 632005, Account number 4076706321. Many thanks

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