Edith: A medic of many talents
Medic. Author. Singer. Motivational speaker. Radio presenter. Single mom.
Nonhlanhla Edith Mhlongo wears many hats. The first of these is a hard hat.
Edith is an intermediate life support (ILS) medic at ER24 Rustenburg but she is stationed as a site-based medic at a mine in Johannesburg.
From a very young age Edith knew that helping people would become her profession.
Born and raised in Sebokeng, Edith came to Rustenburg to start her career as a medic.
A few years later Edith fell pregnant with her son Karabo, now 8-years-old.
Edith couldn’t finish a course she was enrolled in and had to drop out. This and a few other things didn’t demoralise Edith. Instead, it motivated her to do more and to, also, share her story, both verbally and in writing.
“I was identified by a lady from the Rustenburg municipality who put me on stage as a motivational speaker. I mostly motivated women and as a single parent, a medic and the breadwinner, I thought there are so many women out there like me who are not aware of their worth.
“I was scared of being a motivational speaker at first. I had such stage fright, but then I realised I could do this,” said Edith.
Edith also recorded a CD that was released in May this year. The CD titled Fear, is a mix of her motivational speaking on the beat of a backtrack. Writing a book was her next step.
“I’ve always written down my feelings. The feelings I felt while growing up as well as what I felt during the process of becoming a medic. I felt like it wasn’t enough. I was writing this all down for myself but I wanted people to learn from it as well. Maybe my story could also change someone else’s life,” said Edith.
She hopes to publish her book titled An Extreme Desire of a Medic towards the end of September this year.
Although Edith motivates people through her own stories, she doesn’t let her past define her.
“I learn from my mistakes, it is as easy as that. But sometimes you lose things just to gain new things again. If I completed my course and didn’t fall pregnant, I might not have written my book or I might not have been on stages motivating the youth and women.
“Don’t let your mistakes become your stop street. When you make mistakes, you grow. Some of the mistakes can be a blessing in your life. I believe in the power of the second chance,” said Edith.
Although Edith might not have planned her pregnancy, she can’t imagine her life without her son. This is evident when Edith speaks about her son’s health scare two years ago.
Karabo, who was six at the time, suddenly fell ill. After numerous tests, he was diagnosed with osteomyelitis. This is as a result of an infection that causes inflammation in the bones. This generally happens in the legs, arms or spine. He spent a year and a half in and out of hospital.
“There was a possibility that they would amputate his leg. I was praying so hard. All I could think of was my 6-year-old son that might lose his leg. It was not an easy journey to have and probably the most hectic moment of my life.
“I am used to being a medic in the ambulance and it has been fun. I’ve been treating people for a long time now but it was so difficult treating someone who is your own flesh and blood. But, I managed. If you can be a medic to the world, you can be the best medic and the best mother to your family,” said Edith.
Edith has also been presenting a radio show on Bojanala FM, a Christian radio station, for the past three months. Where she finds the time to do everything is remarkable, but time management seems to be one of her strongest points.
“She is a hard worker and very punctual. She is always on time! She is also a loving, caring person. I really admire Edith because she does a lot of jobs at the same time,” said Refiloe Mohube, co-founder of Bojanala FM.
Nelisiwe Mzili, one of Edith’s colleagues at the ER24 Rustenburg branch, also speaks fondly of her.
“She is such a hard-working woman. She makes sure that you can learn from her. She is a brilliant woman when it comes to multi-tasking. I look up to her,” said Nelisiwe.
Edith is determined to do even more with her life but her first love, being a paramedic, won’t diminish.
“My dream is to study further and become an Emergency Care Practitioner. I’d like to also continue writing books and change lives every day but the medic in me will never die,” said Edith.