The field of aesthetic medicine has seen tremendous growth in recent years as more and more people seek to improve their body appearance through cosmetic procedures. Known for her skill in restoring confidence through body sculpting, Dr Pertunia Mathibe, better known as Dr Pert, helps others to attain the body they want.
Mathibe is a general practitioner with a special interest in aesthetics (cosmetic medicine). She trained with reputable international institutions and has a fellowship in liposuction and fat transfer, and is a master in ultimate body high-definition liposuction.
Her medical aesthetic clinic practice is based in Garsfontein, Pretoria, where she focuses on liposuction, butt lifts, aesthetic gynaecology, anti-ageing Rx, and vitamin drips.
Keeping her father’s dream alive
Born in Hammanskraal in Gauteng, the well-known aesthetic physician was raised in Giyani, where she started primary and high school and was raised by her grandmother and her father. Not only excelling in academics but also in sports, Mathibe represented South Africa in basketball at the age of 16.
“Growing up, I was very good and active in sports. The decision I made in high school was that I wanted to become a doctor; although I was never sure which kind, I knew I had to make sure I became one.
“lost my dad in standard 9, who was the one I had to make proud of because he promised that after going to study, he would go out there and build me the biggest medical centre when I came back. Despite the challenge of losing him and my love for basketball, I had to keep the dream alive and pursue becoming a doctor.”
Transitioning from public to private
After matriculating, Mathibe did a bachelor of medicine in surgery for six years at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and completed it through hard work and dedication.
After acquiring her degree, she did her two-year internship and one year of community service in Limpopo. Post-community service, she served and worked for the government for about two to three years, focusing on emergency units and obstetrics, where she did many C-sections and delivered many babies.
“The journey of opening my private practice, trying to get everything sorted, repaying my bursary, doing locums and calls in Limpopo and Gauteng in casualty and obstetrics, and trying to find something to marry my cosmetic interest with my surgical skill, was an uneasy one.”
Learning all about cosmetic medicine
Mathibe highlights that she developed an interest in the beauty side of medicine in 2011, and went for a course on aesthetics at the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine which visited South Africa twice a year. She says she obtained a diploma from the institution, which now makes up her current groundbreaking work of restoring body confidence.
“My diploma certificate in aesthetics started gathering dust because I did not have funding. The machinery was very expensive, and the set-up should be on point. I continued working as a medical officer and opened a general practice in Grobersdal.
“After advising someone on aesthetics, I decided to start with what I had, which was just my hands at that stage, and see where it took me. In 2017, I opened a small aesthetic practice and did small treatments such as drips and weight loss, but I still felt I could do more.”
“In 2018, I started doing Botox and fillers. It was a big change for me, as I’d always been scared of needles, but it was really rewarding to see people’s faces transform. I also started to do more complex procedures, such as breast augmentation and non surgical gynae aesthetics which includes sexual rejuvenation.”
“I’ve now been doing aesthetic treatments for over two years and I really enjoy it. I’ve never looked back and I’ve definitely seen a change in the number of people who come to see me. I’d definitely recommend starting out with aesthetics if you’re interested in the field, as it’s a really rewarding field to work in.”
Her breakthrough year
She travelled to Kenya for exposure to a well-known plastic surgeon and for training in Dubai and Turkey, where she acquired certificates of fellowship in liposuction and a master’s in ultimate body sculpting. Mathibe then returned to South Africa to officially start her aesthetic practice.
Mathibe says 2018 was the beginning of everything, including Dr Pert the sculptor.
“I now do liposuction and BBLs, which I personally call the African Butt Lift because I try to modify it and make it look African. Most people who do liposuction do BBLs. We aim to create an hourglass shape that is ideal for African bodies.
“My team consists of 4 masterminds; myself an aesthetic physician, an anaesthetist doctor, and my assistant; and last but not least God.
I have made it a tradition to pray with my clients before the procedure because the body is the temple of the Lord, so why not ask him permission to bring the best out of his temple.”
Making cosmetic surgery fashionable in Africa
Against all odds, Mathibe says she has managed to make cosmetic surgery fashionable in Africa because she has always been bold enough to advertise her work. In that sense, most black people have been exposed to new ways to improve their body image, as her market is mostly African.
“That is something I hold dear. It’s a life-changing procedure to give both males and females their confidence back because image is very important.
“Many patients’ emotions have been harmed because of being body shamed, and my cosmetic medicine clinic has changed people’s lives by not only improving one’s physical being but also one’s psychological being.”
Overall, Mathibe shares that nothing is as easy as people may think it is from the outside. “There have been many challenges, but I continue fighting because I have a vision. Improving people’s self-confidence is my priority, as is being an example to other black doctors that this is possible; it’s possible to dominate in professions once dominated by other groups.”
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