In South Africa, seven friends from different parts of the vast country have made it their mission to change the health care system.

Moliehi Mareka, Mahlatse Mothiba, Tshepang Motete, Thato Mosehle, Toni Motseoile, Lungile Mkhungo and Lijeng Lefosa will graduate from the University of Free State with medical degrees next month. For the last three years, the seven have cultivated friendships. 

The TimesLive reports the group of women will enter the public sector, serving some of the nation's most vulnerable. Long hours, low pay and institutional biases are just a few obstacles they will have to overcome to achieve their dreams.  

Over the past few years, the University of Free State has been overtaken by student protests, demanding the school lower student fees and provide better resources.

“We are prepared for anything and everything," Tshepang Motete‚ 24, told TimesLIVE. "We are confident that we will be able to handle whatever comes our way.”

Family lineage means a lot in the country. Motete did not come from a family of professionals and will be the first person in her family to become a medical doctor.

The seven formed a close bond, in part, because of the limited number of Black women in the class of 130 students, according to With only nine Black girls in the class, the group leaned on one another. 

Thato Mosehle, 23, wants to change perceptions about young Black women in the medical field. 

“There are patients who would prefer an older [nursing] sister over a young doctor," she said. "There are males who prefer to be attended to by other males‚ but I am strong enough to handle all that.”

A lack of educational resources and other opportunities prevented Moshele's mother from achieving similar professional goals. Mosehle is glad she can make a difference.

“I didn’t only see a lack of doctors in my community‚ but a lack of Black doctors‚ generally.”

The group will graduate on December 6.

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