Prof Shingai Mutambirwa

Oz - Mens Health Awareness Jan 2012

Head of Department of Urology, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU).

A charismatic leader in the field of men’s health, striving for brilliance and uniting men in a brotherhood of caring for each other.

Although born in Zimbabwe, Shingai grew up in Canada as his parents had relocated in order to pursue post graduate studies. He has retained a strong American accent, and his deep baritone voice is now instantly recognisable on radio in South Africa. He has fond memories of the tightly knit unit that he and his brothers formed, but definitely prefers the climate in Africa. He returned to Zimbabwe in the eighties to study medicine. He graduated cum Laude and was the youngest ever medical doctor to graduate in Zimbabwe at the time.

MB ChB – 1988 Godfrey Huggins School of Medicine Zimbabwe.

M Med (Urology) Medunsa. FCS (SA) Urology.

Prof Shingai is currently head of the Urology Department at The Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU).

He was inspired to enter the speciality by Zimbabwe’s first Urologist, Dr Danso, a vibrant and enthusiastic mentor who encouraged Shingai to pursue his studies in South Africa. Studying at Medunsa during these turbulent times in South Africa’s history was a challenge, but Shingai acknowledges that the brotherhood that existed in urology was deeply motivating.

His passion for research and his desire to “make things happen”, has resulted in his involvement in a number of innovative projects. These include; being a founding member of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa (PCF) and heading a review board for “South African Guidelines for Enuresis” under the Enuresis Academy of South African.

In addition he is extensively involved in various leadership roles, these include;

being a peer reviewer for The Journal of Urology (AUA), African Journal of Urology and Hindawi online publications.

Heading the medical and scientific advisory board of The Prostate Cancer Foundation of SA (PCF) and heading the academic committee for the South African Urological Association (SAUA)

He is also a member of the Continence Association of South Africa (CASA)

Shingai is the developer of a technique that uses skin glue for circumcision and he has completed the largest number of cases worldwide using this technique (presently over 3000 cases). With Southern Africa’s prolific HIV rates this accomplishment has no doubt made a significant contribution to reducing the rates of HIV and STI infections in Africa.

He has become one of the prominent public figures involved in creating awareness about men’s health issues. In his many public appearances he never fails to encourage and educate men about critical health issues. His influence on the lives of ordinary men is perhaps his greatest career achievement.

Prof Segone, (the past Head of the Department of Urology from whom Shihgai took over, but currently still a senior consultant at the Department of Urology, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University), whom Shingai describes as “a brilliant surgeon” played a pivotal role in his career. “He challenged us registrars to be brilliant rather than mediocre by forcing us to deal with the difficult cases.” In so doing he inspired my own lifelong commitment to academic excellence”

Shingai is the complete antithesis of the stuffy academic professor dressed in a crumpled tweed jacket. If there was a prize for the best dressed doctor in SA he would be one of the top contenders. He enjoys a good time, has a wicked sense of humour (even on radio) and he laughs loud and hard. It’s probably why men see him more as a brother than a leading academic and why they are so willing to open up to him.

But there is a serious side to the prof. He exercises hard and is not afraid of a physical challenge. (He has done some serious cycling in the last two years in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer). He also reads extensively and has a love for philosophy.  One the philosophers who has had a strong influence on his own life is George Gurdjieff who believed that most people live their lives in a state of unconsciousness and that it is only when they are “awakened” that they can become different human beings and to achieve their full potential.

“If a man reasons and thinks soundly, no matter which path he follows in solving these problems, he must inevitably arrive back at himself, and begin with the solution of the problem of what he is himself and what his place is in the world around him.”

George Gurdjieffev

“Men’s health is a neglected area within medicine, men need to embrace the concept of brotherhood and in so doing they can help to take care of each.”