06 July 2021 | Story André Damons | Photo Supplied
Mutshidzi Abigail Mulondo, Lecturer and PhD candidate in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), has been recognised as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans.

For Mutshidzi Abigail Mulondo, Lecturer and PhD candidate in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), being recognised as one of the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans is encapsulated in Mark Twain’s quote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”.

Knowing that she is living her ‘why I was born’ and actually being recognised for it, is a wonderful feeling, says Mulondo, whose passion is public health.

“I feel honoured to have been considered and counted among influential young South Africans who are doing incredible work. I am thankful to Mail & Guardian for this wonderful recognition,” says Mulondo.

Passion and commitment to promoting health 

She was nominated by one of her mentors but was sceptical that she would be in the final 200 list, as there are usually more than 5 000 applications each year. According to Mulondo, she is happy to have been proven wrong and even more grateful to be surrounded by powerful women who continue to propel her towards her purpose.

Mulondo says she always knew that she wanted to be in a position to help alleviate pain and suffering and that health would be her avenue to serve humanity. Says Mulondo: “When I started with an interdisciplinary PhD in Health Professions Education and Community Health, it further solidified my passion and commitment to promoting health.”
“I am equally passionate about mental health wellness. After completing a master’s degree in Psychology at the University of Pretoria, I knew it would provide me with an opportunity to impact people’s lives more holistically. An opportunity to not only promote physical health, but to also advocate for mental health.”

Hope for the youth of South Africa

Mulondo’s message to young people is also the motto she lives by: “Be kinder to yourself”. So many times, we are hard on ourselves when we fail or when we do not accomplish what we set out to accomplish at a particular time. 

“Please remember that you are the only you that will ever be. You must therefore be gentler with yourself; despite what you thought you would have achieved thus far, appreciate how far you have actually come against whatever odds,” says Mulondo.

Her hope for the youth of South Africa is that we reach a point where fighting against issues such as gender-based violence (GBV), systematic racism, gender inequality, high unemployment rates, and all other constructs that affect our youth and country is a matter of the past. “While we envision that day, I hope that we all continue to stand together and speak up for the vulnerable, marginalised, and disenfranchised. I am confident that we will see and experience the fullest potential of our youth, in this lifetime (Jeremiah 29:11).”

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