Wits health sciences alumnus Dr Sivuyile Madikana was honoured this past Saturday by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

Former Wits student Dr Sivuyile Madikana was awarded the Health Excellence Special Award at the second Gauteng Premier Youth Excellence and Service Awards in Centurion on Saturday, March 10.

Madikana received the award for his innovative use of social media to spread medical and health information. He uses his social media platforms to promote HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns with organisations such as Brothers For Life. Madikana, who was one of the Mail and Guardian’s 2017 Top 200 Young South Africans, also launched #VarsityConvos, where he hosts discussions with students at tertiary institutions about HIV/AIDS, engaging in risky behaviors, and gender-based violence. Madikana said, “the award itself is great because it’s a recognition of the work I do”.

Madikana graduated from Wits in 2012 with his Bachelor of Medicine degree and then completed a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the Wits Business School in 2017. His MBA research topic was on how to use social media to communicate health care and encourage behavioral change.

“As part of my degree I studied brand strategy and communication. [Using] Twitter forced me to find creative ways to thread information in a way that is easily understandable”, said Madikana.

According to Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Lionel Green-Thompson, the faculty is committed to growing doctors applicable to South African situations. “My approach is to stand by our students encouraging them to be the best professionals they can be – graduates who are more than the facts that they accumulate in their studies,” Green-Thompson said.

The Gauteng Youth Awards were created in order to acknowledge the positive impact made by youth and to encourage young people to serve their communities. A project manager of the event, Simon Modise, said the winners are voted for by the public and their contributions are then verified by a committee. “We encourage winners to be mentors to the youth and ambassadors for the program”, he said.

There are over 30 recipients of the awards with the biggest award being a R10 000 prize to undergo training in leadership and management with a local skills development firm.