Born and raised in the close-knit mining town of Welkom in the Free State, Kelebogile Mojanaga’s path to becoming a respected clinical psychologist was paved by her mother’s unwavering commitment to her education, even amid frequent relocations. Today, Mojanaga is recognised for her compassion and expertise, shaping lives and influencing healthcare policies alike.
Growing up, moving around fostered her resilience and adaptability which would become defining qualities in her life’s journey and career in Mzansi’s healthcare sector.
How challenges helped her grow
“I’ve been to seven different schools. In my early years, I was forced to make friends quite quickly because I was always the new kid. I just interacted with people from different social backgrounds, different communities, in some ways,” she says.
“I used to hate being the new child. Looking back, I’m quite grateful because it allowed me to be open-minded to life and changes and adapting to that,” she adds.
Fuelled by her mother’s unwavering support and the simple yet impactful words “let’s see”, she’s never questioned her ability to do whatever she sets her mind on.
Finding her calling
Mojanaga’s unwavering dedication to the mental well-being of others began to take shape in her early years, when, as a young teenager, she offered advice to peers in Drum magazine. This initial venture into helping others crystallised her resolve to pursue psychology, setting her on a trajectory to support individuals through their emotional journeys.
“It’s been quite a journey and full of surprises”, she says. Her academic path toward becoming a clinical psychologist was far from linear. The realisation that achieving her dream demanded more than a simple three-year degree was a sobering surprise. It encompassed numerous milestones – undergraduate studies, honours and an arduous two-year master’s programme.
She emerged as the youngest in her class, she not only built up her academic knowledge but also embarked on a profound therapeutic journey, gaining a deep understanding of herself.
Today, Mojanaga serves in multiple capacities, offering support to parents navigating children’s surgeries and conducting private therapy sessions, leaving an indelible impact on her clients lives.
Bridging the mental health gap
Beyond her clinical practice, she stands as an advocate for mental health policies, aiming to reshape and influence governance. Leveraging her hands-on experience, she seeks to bridge the gap between practical application and police driving impactful change in the field of mental health.
When asked about anyone considering pursuing a career in psychology, Mojanaga says, “It’s very important to think about investing in your mental health first. You can’t help other people with their mental health if you haven’t done any check-ins with your mental health. So, it is very important.”
With her unwavering dedication and profound expertise, Kelebogile Mojanaga continues to champion mental health causes, leaving an enduring mark on individuals and policy alike.
Listen to the full interview on the Health For Mzansi podcast:
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