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Embarking on an ethical journey

- Refilwe Mabula

Professor Ames Dhai navigates graduands towards an ethical path.

“Challenge the norm”, “Look down your intimidators”,  “Do not be a follower, you have showed that as a Witsie you can lead.” These were the words of Professor Ames Dhai, to graduands of the Faculty of Health Sciences at a graduation ceremony on Friday, 11 December 2015.

Dhai is the Director of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of Bioethics and Law amongst her numerous appointments and affiliations.

Speaking in full capacity as an ethicist of international standing, she explained to the graduands, who were going to take an oath at the ceremony – committing to uphold the highest ethical standards and conduct – what it would entail embarking on an ethical journey as health professionals once declaring their commitment to their professions.

“As you take the oath today you will put the needs of others above yours at all times. Practice in health care will continue to be a healing profession, dedicated to serving humanity. Its cornerstone will continue to be the relationship of trust between the patient, and you, the practitioner.

As you proceed on this road, resist the easy comforts of complacency, the glitter of materialism, and the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction.”

Dhai who continued to share profound words of wisdom with the graduands , encouraged them to be tenacious, confident and resilient as they tackle their life strides.

She reflected on the fees must fall movement which was led by Wits students and galvanised it nationally.

“There were lessons, which we learnt from you during this time. Not only did we see you, our future leaders continuing to emerge from Wits, but you underscored the need for a reawakening and in some of us, a sense of community and also a rekindling of our social consciousness.

“What happened here at Wits will not only change the country, but it will have far-reaching effects for the better, well beyond the country. Remember that you have to protect your own voice, no matter what it costs, and that takes tenacity, confidence and resilience. You are our hope for the future,” she added.