Ben Porter

An English Doctor in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Sangoma

A nursing colleague recently came up to me mid-shift and asked for a sick note, even though I couldn't see anything wrong with him. He informed me that he needed to go back to his village for a family ceremony to inform their ancestors that his ‘Gogo’ (grandmother) was moving house. Not wanting to b...

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Due to work and weekends away I missed the opportunity to play in any of the remaining league matches which saw ‘The Killer Stars’ make a late surge up the table, putting them in second position with just a couple of games to play. Regrettably, bad results at the business-end of the season saw them...

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Ingcibi

One morning last week I arrived in casualty to be met by one of the senior nurses who had a grave expression on his face: ‘Come here Dr. Ben, I’ve got to show you something.’ I was led to a bed space in a quiet corner and, on parting the curtains, saw a sixteen-year-old boy lying on the bed with a v...

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I went on holiday a few weeks ago and was driving through Qunu, the birth place of Nelson Mandela, where I was hoping to visit his museum which I’d heard great things about. ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ is the clichéd book of choice for my South African gap year just as ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ was for th...

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Over the last few weeks I’ve made a conscious effort to try and make local friends and get to know Bizana a bit better. The initial disappointment with its dusty frontier town appearance and the violence that happens (mostly) after dark has been whittled away by the warmth and friendliness of everyo...

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