From the anti-apartheid movement to a transition into a free society in South Africa and now a republic, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has remained one of its frontline leaders. The first woman to chair the African Union Commission, NDZ as she is popularly referred to, is currently 72 years old, and is still very strong and active in politics as the top female leader of the African National Congress (ANC), as well as the South African Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
A highly educated individual and a medical doctor, Nkosazana, the ex-wife of the country’s former president Jacob Zuma, has achieved many milestones in the country where she has held various political offices and diplomacy.
Quick Profile of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
- Name: Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma
- Date of birth: 27 January 1949
- Place of birth: The Province of Natal, South Africa
- Education: The University of Zululand, University of Natal, University of Bristol, University of Liverpool
- Profession: Medical doctor, diplomat, politician
- Current position: Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
She Started Making Many Achievements At A Young Age
As stated, the famous South African political leader is currently 72 years old, but she has been a known name since her early years. Born Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini in 1949 as the first of eight kids, she graduated from the Amanzimtoti Training College at the age of 18. She then moved on to the university at the age of 21, where she studied Zoology and Botany.
By the time she was 26, Dlamini had already started politics in school while pursuing a medical degree at the University of Natal. It was at that time that she was elected the deputy president of the South African Students Organization. She was still 26 when she was exiled from the country, which led her to finish her degree as a medical doctor in the United Kingdom at the age of 28.
Before these, she was a Research Technician to Professor Adams, Medical School, University of Natal, Durban, when she was only 23. The first political office she held as a minister was in 1994 when she became South Africa’s Minister of Health. She was 45 years old at the time, and she remained in that position until she was 50.
At the age, she was again made the Minister of Foreign Affairs until the age of 60 in 2009. Next, she became Minister of Home Affairs for the next three years. When she turned 63, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma became the first woman to chair the African Union Commission when she was elected in 2012.
She held the position for the next five years, and then she returned to politics in South Africa at the age of 68. In 2019, she was inaugurated as the University of Limpopo’s first woman Chancellor. She was 70 years old at the time.
She is A Medical Doctor But Doesn’t Practice At the Moment
South Africans have often asked if Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is indeed a medical doctor or only a Ph.D. holder. She is trained medical personnel who, as stated, obtained a degree in medicine. She started her medical training in South Africa after she obtained a degree in Zoology and Botany. However, she later moved to the UK to complete her studies following her exile.
Although she doesn’t practice now because of her involvement in politics and diplomacy, which have kept her very busy, she once practiced when she worked at the Mbabane Government Hospital in Swaziland as a medical doctor from 1980 – 1985. Incidentally, that was where she met Jacob Zuma, the man she later got married to.
Before this, she had held some health-related positions, including House Officer, Surgery at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, England, and House Officer with Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital in Berkshire, England, from 1978 to 1979, and then 1979 to 1980, respectively. In 1987, she returned to England for her Paediatric attachment at Wittington Hospital until 1989.
Dlamini also founded the Health & Refugee Trust of South Africa (HEART) in 1988 and remained its director until 1990. Being a politician, she has held offices that relate to health practice. She was made the health minister of South Africa following the 1994 election that brought Nelson Mandela to power. She remained in power for five years until the new administration took over, and then she was made Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of President Thabo Mbeki.
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Is Well Educated, But Her Medical Degree is Her Highest Qualification
From the foregoing, it is obvious that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is a well-educated individual who has two bachelor’s degrees to her name and a diploma certificate. The former anti-apartheid activist has seen the walls of four universities in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
She attended the Amanzimtoti Training College, where she obtained her high school certificate in 1967. Next, she continued her education at the University of Zululand, where she studied Zoology and Botany and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Science (BSc). It gets interesting to realize that this certificate was almost useless to her since she did not get to practice anything in the line; neither did she hold any office relating to it as a politician.
After this, Zuma went to the University of Natal, where she studied medicine. Unfortunately, she was exiled before she could obtain the degree. So she went to the UK, where she completed her studies at the University of Bristol in 1978. It was after this that she became a medical doctor. A medical degree became important to her as she practiced for a while, and it also helped in her political life when she was made the Minister of Health in South Africa.
To further her education in the health line, Dlamini went to Liverpool University’s School of Tropical Medicine in 1985 and obtained a diploma in tropical child health. This, in addition to her experience as a medical doctor, assisted her in getting a lace as a member of the ANC Regional Health Committee, and soon afterward, it opened the doors for her to be hired by a British non-governmental organization as its director of the Health and Refugee Trust.
Here is a glance at all the educational qualifications of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma:
- Amanzimtoti Training College – High School (1967)
- The University of Zululand – BSc in Zoology and Botany (1971)
- The University of Natal- Started medical studies.
- The University of Bristol- Completed medical studies- MB ChB (1978)
- The University of Liverpool – Diploma in Tropical Child Health (1986)
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Ran For Presidency At 68
In 2015, when Jacob Zuma was still president of South Africa, he had fancied his former wife taking over from him than his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was later elected through indirect election by the party in February 2017 when Zuma was forced out of power.
In the build-up to the general election, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was 68 years old and considered to be the frontrunner in the race. Many had considered that she was going to become the first female president of the country.
Unfortunately for her, she lost the fiercely contested race when Ramaphosa beat her to be elected the ANC President at the party’s 54th Elective Conference. She lost the elections by a couple of hundred votes as she pulled 2,261 while the president pulled 2,440 votes.