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I had to abandon nursing because of conflict of interest - Thandiwe

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MBABANE – Swaziland’s
first Director for
Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society Thandiwe Dlamini (71) had to abandon the nursing profession after it was discovered that she was married to a medical doctor.

This was because it was not allowed, as there would be a conflict of interest.

Speaking to the Swazi News on Wednesday, Dla-mini said she trained as a nurse and when she got married to Dr. Zibuse Dlamini, she found herself forced to change her career because her husband was in the same ministry.

Dlamini said she did her primary education at Ermelo Primary School before proceeding to Nkamane High School in 1957 to 1958.

Dlamini then enrolled at Coronation Hospital and was attached to Baragwaneth Hospital, from 1962 to 1964.

Her husband was a doctor at Hlathikulu Government Hospital at the time.

"Trouble started in 1965 when I was posted to Hlatikhulu Government Hospital.

I was there between 1965 and 1968 where I briefly worked as a nurse. I later applied for a Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Techniques where my boyfriend, who later became my husband, was studying. In 1966, we got married while he was studying Medicine at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel.

After it was discovered that we were working in the same hospital, I was then told by the authorities to leave and it was at that stage that I changed my career," she said.

From1969 to1970, Dlamini then enrolled for a course in Shorthand at the Swaziland Institute of Management and Public Adminstration (SIMPA).

"I was then hired as typist and secretary by the Ministry of Home Affairs based at the Hlathikulu Home Affairs offices. My husband, who was a doctor, was earning E270 per month. I was earning E47 salary and we were regarded as the highly paid family.

In 1973, my husband was promoted to Director of Health Services and he moved to Mbabane.

After that, I was then attached to a Danish Consulting Firm that was tasked with designing the Matsamo –Motshane Road.

At my new job, I earned E120 per month. My attachment with the consultancy lasted for a few months and I was then recruited by Baphalali Red Cross," said Dlamini.

SD Red Cross can face any disaster – former director

MBABANE – Thandiwe Dlamini believes that the country’s Red Cross Society is a body that has reached maturity such that it can compete with other bodies from the region.

Dlamini said the local society can face any situation or disaster because the staff’s skills have been harnessed by the events that have taken place in the country.

In 1984 during the Cyclone Domonia that swept through the country, Dlamini said she found herself working non-stop for two weeks.

After the heavy floods, Dlamini said she slept for over a period of two nights without waking up.

"The Red Cross was tested to the limit. We surprised ourselves with the way we handled that disaster and I was even shocked with the determination that was shown by our team. When I eventually woke up, I was told it was a Sunday afternoon and I thanked God that I came back to life. I found that our friends had already started panicking but they were comforted when they discovered that I was still alive. I am grateful that the Swaziland government entrusted us with such a huge task and we were also made to receive the donations on behalf of the government. Our work during the 1984 distaster will remain perched in our minds for many years to come," said Dlamini.

In the early 90’s, the society embarked on projects of building Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT).

Dlamini said this was because of the spread of HIV/AIDS which was discovered in the mid-80.

"The Red Cross was to be prepared to fight the epidemic that was threatening to wipe out the Swazi nation."

Before retiring in 1986, Dlamini said she asked the Nowergian Red Cross to assist with buying a block of flats.

"As a gift to me, the Nowergian Red Cross decided to buy a block of flats known as Carlton Court and in 1986, I retired as director of the society. I had asked the Norwegians to buy the flats so that I can present the flats to the society as a thank you for supporting and nurturing me. I had hoped I was done with the Red Cross but I found myself back with the Red Cross. When I arrived in Harare the International Federation of the Red Cross offered me a job as director for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and I was in charge of 10 countries. My husband was Director for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and he was based in Harare. I was in charge of the society for two years, from 1988. At the begining of 1991, the local Red Cross was going through a rough patch and I found myself returning as director," added Dlamini.


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