Our second destination was The University of Limpopo - Medunsa, where we met with Professor Jeffrey Mphahlele, the head of the Virology department. He showed us around campus and then provided us with a delicious lunch. While the good food, dim lighting, and jet lag made it difficult for some to stay awake, most listened as he discussed the history of the university and their current major projects.

UL-M actually used to be a historically black university (from the apartheid perspective, it was to make black doctors to treat black patients). In 2005, the Medical University of South Africa - MEDUNSA - merged with the University of the North to create the University of Limpopo. The vast majority of students today are Black.

We also got to see Tsepang (the Zulu name for Pretoria) Clinic and George Mukhari Hospital, both of which were next to the medical school. At the clinic, we sat down with Dr. Kongawonza along with several nurses and we discussed how their clinic operated, how they are funded, how many patients they see, etc.

During the Q&A session, Kathe was on fire with the questions and the point of stigma was brought up once again - this time toward both the patients and toward the doctors/nurses working in the HIV clinic. Dr. Kongawonza said that the stigma was as bad as ever and made several interesting points: first of all, in a country that has such an astronomical prevalence of HIV, why is there no emphasis on HIV/AIDS in medical school? This disease isn't going to go away overnight and it makes sense to make sure the doctors of tomorrow are especially good at catching HIV early, when it can be treated relatively easily. Also, one way to reduce stigma is to have speakers come in who are living with HIV, thus humanizing the disease and also helping people understand that being diagnosed with HIV is not a death sentence.

We were also given a tour of the facility, but couldn't take any pictures to protect patient privacy. I did take a lot of pictures of the campus, and other stuff. Again, please comment with any questions/comments you have and keep checking back!

kgoale thupane peshley

i want to Prof Jeffry created for the good work!


I am happy that you guys had a great time there with the professor. I appreciate your efforts in travelling around and trying to understand the various aspects of the educational policies of the University of Limpopo at Medunsa.


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