200 Young South African 2015
The Mail & Guardian’s annual feature of eminent 200 Young South Africans has become a hallmark of our calendar.
It is one of the most popular editions of the M&G, but it has earned significance far beyond our newsroom. A listing in the 200 Young South Africans supplement is now a feature of the best CVs in the country.
Every year since 2006, we’ve featured 200 young South Africans, on course to touch the world with their greatness. It is not an award as much as it is a mark of distinction — a number of young people featured have since grown into leaders in their fields. This is a celebration of excellence as much at is a directory of future leaders.
We begin by inviting nominations from the public, of people between the ages of 18-35, and we received over 6 000 nominations in 2019.
After her own difficult experience battling extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and hearing the stories of what other TB patients and survivors had been through, medical doctor Thato Mosidi (29) realised she had an important role to play in the treatment of and education about TB in South Africa.
Realising that she was one of the fortunate handful of people to have survived this almost incurable condition, she felt she had to speak out for TB sufferers and advocate for the eradication of TB.
Herself a victim of TB stigma after her occupationallyacquired TB, Modisi believed that by using her status as a patient and a doctor and by sharing her story publically, she could start a social dialogue about the condition and help change how people view TB.
“South Africa has a very serious TB and HIV epidemic, and the combination of the two has created fear and misconceptions about the two conditions within our communities. The discrimination and stigma experienced by people with TB is one of the very powerful social determinants of disease that has contributed to the spread of the epidemic.
“I believe if we start talking about it and educating people about the disease, we’ll be well on the way to eradicating it,” she says.
Modisi is a member of the South African National Aids Council’s Global Fund Country Co-ordinating Mechanism, representing the TB community in civil society. The CCM raises funds to assist developing nations in responding to the challenges of HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
She is also a member of nongovernmental organisation TB Proof, a voluntary group formed by doctors, health care workers and medical students who have personal experience of occupationally-acquired TB, particularly drug-resistant forms of the disease. The group seeks to raise awareness about occupational, nosocomial (originating in hospital) and community-based TB transmission. It further educates health care workers and students on how to protect themselves from being infected with TB in the workplace.
“My greatest challenge is accepting that change will not happen overnight. We still have so much to do before we can rid the world of TB, and it will take hard work, many critical decisions and getting hands dirty to get the job done.”
— Linda Doke