Mitchell’s Plain doctor beats the odds to realise his dream

Mitchell’s Plain doctor Ashraf Davids recalls wanting to pursue a career in medicine since the age of 4.

One Mitchell’s Plain doctor has made it his mission to succeed.

When Dr Ashraf Davids, senior medical officer at the infectious diseases clinic at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital was at high school, a teacher told him that he should stick to what “our people know” and apply to colleges rather than universities.

Unswayed by the teacher’s lack of belief in his ability, Dr Davids applied to study at Stellenbosch University and is currently practising medicine at the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital in Lentegeur where he has been for the past seven years.

“When I got vaccinated at 4, a nurse asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said I wanted to be a doctor. Ever since I never gave up on my dream to become a doctor,” he said.

Dr Davids attended Beacon View Primary School and Oval North High School in Beacon Valley. In 2000 he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in physiology. He was offered a scholarship to further his studies and graduated in 2001 with an Honours degree in medical physiology, also from Stellenbosh University.

In 2002 he worked in a lab conductin cardiac research and applied to study further. In 2004 he graduated with a Master’s in medical physiology while in medical school before eventually graduating with a medical degree in 2009. In 2015 he got his diploma in HIV management.

Emergency physician at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, Dr Katya Evans, said Dr Davids, who works in the only infectious diseases clinic in the Mitchell’s Plain substructure, was a key member of the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital team.

“He is dedicated, humble, adapts quickly to change and he is loved by all. He is a patient advocate and always goes above and beyond when needed to get patients the care they deserve,” she said.

Dr Davids said it had been tough growing up, but he always kept his goals in sight and valued the support of his father and his late grandmother and mother who encouraged him to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

Litishia Nieveldt met Dr Davids in 1997 when they started travelling together from Mitchell’s Plain to Stellenbosch University. She recalls how they took the first taxi in the morning to Eersterivier station, and a train to Stellenbosch station every day – back and forth until they found accommodation in Idas Valley, Stellenbosch.

“Despite the fact that we were exhausted from travelling, Ashraf was always happy and would cheer us on when we felt like giving up. He stayed up for hours working, studying and would still find the time to work on a casual basis to make ends meet,” she said.

Dr Davids never complained about not being able to study medicine during his under-graduate studies, she said.

“He maintained that he would eventually reach his goal.”

And this is the message Dr Davids has for other young people with big dreams. “Young people, do not give up on your dreams. Set goals for yourself and achieve them. Work hard, reach out and go for it. There will be challenges, do not let social ills in the community get you down,” he said.