Dr Emmy Nokaneng has taken the road less travelled

INTELLECTUAL Doctor Emmy Ngokoana Nokaneng is only the second black woman in the country to qualify as a maxillo-facial and oral surgery specialist.

INTELLECTUAL Doctor Emmy Ngokoana Nokaneng is only the second black woman in the country to qualify as a maxillo-facial and oral surgery specialist.

Her speciality can be regarded as the surgical aspect of dentistry - involving the mouth, jaws, face and skull.

Nokaneng is one of the six extraordinary siblings in her family and says her parents have always been very encouraging and supportive of them.

Though she is the only girl in the family she is, however, not the only doctor or professional.

Her eldest brother, Doctor Shima Henock Nokaneng, obtained his PhD in economics earlier this year, while her second eldest brother has a Master's degree in Environmental Science.

The genetic intellect, however, can be traced back to their parents, Portia and Professor Mogobo Nokaneng, who have a Master's degree in African Languages and a D Ed degree, respectively.

Nokaneng said sibling rivalry or competition was never an issue in their family since they all had individual interests and goals.

She said her childhood was a normal one filled with homework and chores.

"I was a lazy student at school. My homework always had to be checked by my parents.

"Initially, I wanted to study hotel management because I was creative and never thought I would go into dentistry. But I didn't realise just how practical the field is," Nokaneng said.

Asked what advice she would give to aspiring dentists, she said: "It is not easy and it is a long journey, but try and find mentors and always be yourself."

She said her field is dominated by males and that there were times when she felt overwhelmed by emotion.

"I cried if I needed to. Females should not be expected to act like men just because they are surrounded by them."

Her father, Professor Nokaneng, said: "I'm so excited and truly proud of all their achievements, but I must say that it wasn't always easy. They copied what they saw from their mother and I."

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