From A Domestic Worker To A Medical Doctor: Meet Dr Pamela Mahlangu

Dr Pamela Mahlangu

At the age of 13, Dr Pamela Mahlangu was a domestic worker; eleven years later after hard work, commitment and perseverance, at age 24 she graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Born in Durban, South Africa, Mahlangu’s parents were separated and later divorced, and because of that, she was raised by a single mother.

Despite being the youngest of three children, Mahlangu was already the breadwinner of her family. At 13, she started working part-time as a domestic worker, a bold move for a 13-year-old who has her family at heart.

I started working as a domestic worker when I was 13. A lady at church who was working at Psalm Springs village in an estate at Mountedgecombe asked me to help her with the dishes for Christmas dinner at her workplace. I gladly took up the offer and continued to work there during the holidays, even after she had retired.

Pamela Mahlangu

Mahlangu worked as a domestic worker for 10 years, in which during that period he used part of her savings to fund her education from high school to university.

Being the youngest of three children, I’ve wanted many things. I wanted to be an actress or an accountant, but in grade 10, I decided that being a doctor would best encompass who I was and who I wanted to be

Pamela Mahlangu

According to Mahlangu, she was earning R100 daily as a domestic worker, which is $5. She would use that amount to cover her basic expenses and that of her siblings.

It didn’t make me much, about R100 a day, which helped with some of my basic expenses and toiletries. I believe that experience makes me more humble and understanding of people from all walks of life. Despite my current status, I can still relate to all kinds of people from all social classes and all race groups without looking down on any.

Pamela Mahlangu

Growing up, Dr. Pamela Mahlangu faced numerous challenges, including financial hardships and her parents’ divorce. In the aftermath, her mother, grappling with unemployment for an extended period, took on the responsibility of providing for the family.

During this time, Pamela had no choice but to rely on her siblings to support her education, placing a significant financial strain on them from an early age until high school.

Growing up there were a lot of challenges, including our financial circumstances and my parents’ divorce. My mother was left to provide for us and she was unemployed for the longest time. As a result, we had no choice but to rely on my siblings to put me through school from an early age up until high school which put a lot of financial strain on them.

Pamela Mahlangu

Undeterred by these challenges, Pamela was resolute in her determination to fulfill her potential. She diligently applied herself to her studies, successfully juggling academic pursuits with part-time work against all odds, showcasing her ability to rise above challenging circumstances.

Even in her role as a domestic worker, Pamela refused to abandon her dreams or resign herself to a limited future.

Her unwavering commitment and hard work became a valuable lesson in humility, fostering a deeper understanding of people from various walks of life and enhancing her ability to relate to each individual.

Throughout this journey, she maintained a steadfast belief that positive outcomes awaited her, viewing it as only a matter of time.

Even though I was a domestic worker, I didn’t shelve my dreams and think that it’s over for me. I continued to work hard and I’m glad that I did, for me it really was just a lesson in humility and it has enabled me to better understand people from different walks of life and be able to relate to each person. I always knew that good things lay ahead for me and it was truly just a matter of time

Pamela Mahlangu

The culmination of Pamela’s hard work and dedication to her studies materialized when she secured funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme—a turning point that proved to be life-changing.

Reflecting on her experiences, Dr. Pamela Mahlangu emphasized the significance of not underestimating humble beginnings.

While acknowledging the challenges, she encouraged others not to let their origins define their future trajectories. With faith, she asserted, everything is possible within the span of 5 or 10 years.

Never despise humble beginnings but equally, don’t let them define where you will be in 5 or 10 years’ time, with God, everything is possible

Pamela Mahlangu

Against all odds, Dr Pamela Mahlangu is now a Medical Officer at Tembisa Hospital.

Don’t give up, your dreams are still valid.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583