Dr Nabeelah Kajee, a cum laude medical (MB,ChB) graduate from Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), has been named a recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.
Kajee, who was awarded the Dean's Medal in 2016 for being the Best Undergraduate Student at the FMHS, will join a cohort of 101 new Rhodes Scholars from around the world at the University of Oxford later this year. She is currently completing her community service at Mitchells Plain Hospital, having already done her two-year internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
"Becoming a Rhodes Scholar is an honour. It offers me the remarkable opportunity to explore my education further in a deeply enriching environment. As a Rhodes Scholar Elect, I shall join a community of like-minded individuals, who are committed to creating a better world. I love the idea of continuing a platform where people can grow and create lasting networks – such that they can continue to give back their best to their respective countries and communities. I look forward to the great sharing of ideas and experiences in Oxford and beyond."
The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarship programmes in existence that selects exceptional students, based on their academic excellence, leadership potential and commitment to make a difference for good in the world.
Kajee has made her applications to study for a PhD (or DPhil as it's called at Oxford) to match her interests in medicine, medical education and mental health. “These are my passions. I am driven by global health challenges, and how we as health leaders may tackle these challenges sustainably. Research is unbelievably important in leading the way to creating innovative solutions, for healthier and happier communities.
“Having worked as a doctor in South Africa, I have come to realise how crucial our collective role is. We serve as clinicians, teachers and problem solvers – and for that, we need an understanding of a broad range of skills. My hope long-term is that by improving our medical education, we can enhance the quality, health and impact of our doctors, and, by ripple effect, change our communities."
The current dean of the FMHS, Prof Jimmy Volmink, is a great source of inspiration to the young doctor. "I first met him when I was in my second year at university. Within a few minutes of talking to him, I knew that he was going to be a lifelong teacher. He is committed to excellence, and an astonishingly visionary leader."
Kajee is particularly proud of Stellenbosch University as an institution. “My alma mater prepared me very well for my career. It created an intellectual space that fostered my curiosity and allowed me to develop lifelong friendships."
After Oxford, Kajee dreams of continuing her career as a medical doctor, and in higher education. “My hope is to generate research that impacts the health and quality of life of our own citizens, and of the global community."