Meet – Prof. Praise Matemavi, inspirational Professor of Surgery and Zimbabwe’s first female Transplant Surgeon; with an unplanned pregnancy at age 18 that threatened to derail her dream of one day becoming a surgeon, she never gave up.
Being involved in an unplanned marriage, Prof. Matemavi ended up enduring physical, mental and emotional abuse. She got divorced at the age of 23, with four-year-old and two-year-old children.
As a single mother of two, she worked as a cardiac nurse to put herself through medical school and she was the only woman in her residency class. She fought her way to the top in a male-dominated field despite hearing discouraging comments like, “Girls don’t belong in an operating room,” from some attending physicians.
Against all odds, she obtained a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Michagan State College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her general surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital and her multi visceral abdominal transplant surgery and hepatopancreatobiliary fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre.
Prof. Praise Matemavi is Zimbabwe’s first female Transplant Surgeon, she is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA.
She is the Author of ‘Passion and Purpose: Black Female Surgeons’ and Co-Founder of Rose Gift Foundation, which aims to serve, empower and elevate disadvantaged girls and women in Zimbabwe and the Mississippi Delta.
“It was devastating, I became pregnant when I was 18 out of wedlock and ended up getting married.”
“I didn’t know how I was going to ever fulfil my dream. It was sad because that was the one time I saw my dad cry. I got married because I thought that it was the best thing to do.”
“My faith in God and my belief in myself kept me going through the difficult times. Giving up on my dream was never an option. There are times when it was hard to even get out of bed but I kept going. One foot in front of the other, one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. The storms in life do not last forever, remember that.” – Prof. Praise Matemavi