Nomalungelo Mhlantla 2012

Nomalungelo Alicia Mhlantla was born in Port Elizabeth on 17 January 1939. After completing her matric at Newell High School in New Brighton, she chose a career in nursing and commenced her studies in 1958 at the General Hospital in Pretoria. This was followed by a stint at the Jane Furse Memorial Hospital in Middelburg, Transvaal. In 1965 she completed the Midwifery Nursing Science Diploma at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth.

In 1968, after a stint at a hospital in Flagstaff, she returned to Port Elizabeth’s Livingstone Hospital where   she served tirelessly in various positions as she continued her professional development, moving through the ranks from professional nurse to senior professional nurse, culminating in chief professional nurse.  In 1974 she obtained a Diploma in Operating Theatre Nursing Science after which she was appointed as the Chief Matron in charge of the operating theatre complex. She continued with her studies and in 1996 obtained a BACur degree from UNISA majoring in Nursing Administration and Community Health Nursing.

Such was her demeanour and efficiency that many doctors would specifically request that she be in attendance during surgery. She retired as Theatre Matron in April 1999, a true peer and role model for all nurses.

She remained active in nursing science even after her retirement and inter alia joined the Retired Nurses Organisation. From 2002 until 2004, she was engaged by the Human Sciences Research Council to conduct some research on HIV and AIDS Awareness and Prevention Programme in South Africa and Education for Life.

Despite being in full-time employment and raising six children, Ms Mhlantla has dedicated her time to community leadership in pursuit of the development of others. To further build bridges across communities, “Mama Nomalungelo” has warmly welcomed people to her home and, until 2005, even opened her home to accommodate students, by participating in the Home Stay Programme for NMMU International Students.

Despite her age she is still active and is a member of the Hoza Golden Age Club. They assist the needy by providing jerseys to school children and soft toys to crèches in the community.  She is the co-ordinator of a Beadwork Project in New Brighton known as the Ilinge Women Crafters where a group of seven women teach members of the community the art of beading and showcase their wares at various festivals.

She also serves as the secretary of a neighbourhood fundraising club known as the Nomzamo Club. She is a committed member of the Methodist Church in Africa and a class leader and treasurer of the Women’s Manyano in the Church.

For her unstinting commitment to ensuring top quality healthcare in the demanding environment of the public health system, and for her lifelong service to serving her community, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is honoured to present Nomalungelo Alicia Mhlantla with the Council Prestige Award.