Inspirational Women: Meet 3 black female doctors breaking the glass ceiling in radiology

Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Aug 30, 2022


Durban - Black women still face significant barriers to accessing higher education and landing jobs in STEM fields.

Doctors Nonceba Koranteng, Palesa Mutshutshu and Jacinta Adrigwe have not let this deter them in their pursuit of success.

The three women, who became friends while specialising as radiologists, have launched an advanced medical radiation workers’ monitoring service, Dosimeter Services.

This company monitors occupational radiation exposure to assist employers with their responsibility to ensure that doses are monitored and reported.

Dr Nonceba Koranteng

Dr Nonceba Koranteng. Photo: Supplied

Inspired by her physiotherapist father to pursue medicine, Dr Koranteng had exposure to this world from a young age.

She looked up to another family member who was a radiologist, and this sparked an interest in her because it involved technology and innovation.

“I ultimately chose to specialise in radiology because it has so much possibility for assisting people through non-invasive means and the diagnoses are the core of guiding surgeons and physicians in treating patients,” she said.

The business venture started due to the lack of female radiologists, especially black ones.

“We felt the need to move into business. And so it began. We attended many meetings, knocked on a lot of doors and started networking, trying to find our niche.”

Dr Palesa Mutshutshu

Dr Palesa Mutshutshu. Picture: Supplied

Dr Mutshutshu grew up in the village of Moruleng outside Rustenburg. As a child, not many people in the area got opportunities to go to university, let alone become medical specialists or business owners.

Because of this, she feels a responsibility to encourage and inspire others.

“My motivation is to keep seeking out opportunities. We wanted more than to be working in health care and explored more ways to contribute to the bigger picture.

“I wanted to build a legacy for my daughter and to make a name for black women in medicine, in radiology, and in health ownership representivity.”

She advised young people, especially women, not to restrict themselves in their careers and to be ready to work hard.

“In life, surround yourself with people who will encourage you. We stand on the shoulders of other women; take them with you on the journey – you never know how many generations will benefit.”

Dr Jacinta Adrigwe

Dr Jacinta Adrigwe. Picture: Supplied

Both of Dr Adrigwe’s parents were in the medical field. Her household consisted of frequent discussions about medicine and waiting for her father at his clinic after school while mingling with staff and patients.

This has had a significant influence on her.

“I find the whole of medicine fascinating. The wealth of knowledge is like an ocean that keeps growing, and I happen to find myself to be curious about all of it.

“So when the time came to choose a speciality, I wanted one that would enable me to still peer into the breadth of the sub-fields of medicine, and radiology is a discipline that is at the intersection of all others.”

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