Mr Dimitrije Mamontov, an MBChB student, says it is an honour to be the recipient of the best single undergraduate award in the entire University, the prestigious Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship.
The award is named after Lawrence Robinson who was the Chair of Council of the former University of Natal.
‘Coming first in my College in 2014 was a huge surprise, but to receive this award for the best undergraduate student in UKZN was truly unbelievable. It is an honour to have my hard work recognised by my institution.’
He said his parents were very proud that he is doing well whilst doing what he loves.
Mamontov has always wanted to study medicine. ‘However, this was almost cut short when all my MBChB university applications were rejected. It seemed like a miracle when UKZN decided to give me a place in the programme at the eleventh hour. As a result, I have always felt like I was not good enough or have something to prove. This scholarship is very important to me as it reaffirms that I do indeed deserve my place and that my hard work has not gone unnoticed.’
Mamontov is fascinated by all areas of medicine and enjoys rotating through the different specialties. ‘What appeals to me most is the art of physical diagnosis. I find it amazing how much we can learn from looking, feeling and listening to the body. There is no thrill quite like solving the puzzle of a patient’s illness and seeing them improve dramatically with the corresponding treatment.’
‘I particularly enjoy the complexity and challenge that diseases of the nervous system provide, I am also passionate about medical education and passing on knowledge to the next generation of physicians. I hope to one day be a specialist in either neurology or internal medicine, with the long-term goal of becoming a professor of my discipline.
‘Being a doctor is not about showing off,’ declared Mamontov. ‘Taking selfies with your stethoscope and scrubs or thinking a title somehow makes us better than other people. By embarking on this journey, we have accepted a responsibility to hone our skills and to give, to each patient we interact with, the excellence that they deserve,’ commented the previous recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship.
He thanked UKZN for investing in his success: ‘The scholarship has enabled me to set up the perfect environment for excelling in my studies.’
Mamantov was born in Durban, but is the first South African in his family. His parents arrived in South Africa as immigrants from Serbia (then Yugoslavia) about 25 years ago. He matriculated from Durban High School in 2012.