At just 22, Bongiwe Nhlangulela aka Dr. Bee graduated from the University of Pretoria to pursue her career and love for Dentistry in Durban.
Now in 2019 she is the principal dentist at her own practice, ‘Dr B Nhlangulela Inc’ in Johannesburg. Join us as we get to know the young fiery female on a deeper level. Not only will she gain ‘access’ into your hearts but you will definitely ‘smile for Dr. Bee’.
A common norm for kids is always ‘wanting to become a doctor’. Did you always want to be a Dentist?
“Oh no! I would have never thought. I initially wanted to pursue a career in law just like my dad at the time- who is now a Deputy Judge President of the High Court”, she says.
Apart from wanting to give everybody a picture-perfect smile, what was it about Dentistry that made you pursue this career choice?
“I shadowed my Dentist in high school when I started realizing I have a lot of dental issues. She treated a client who believed her teeth were so imperfect her corporate husband would leave her. They performed a smile make over and her reaction was so overwhelming. It also changed my life and I immediately wanted to make others feel that good about themselves”, she explains.
After graduating from the University of Pretoria in 2015, why did you choose Durban for your community service?
“That’s because I’m truly from Durban, eMlazi to be exact. My father was born there and I went to high school there as well. Durban has always been close to my heart. Plus, I couldn’t wait to live by the beach after 5years of Pretoria”.
What does being a dentist mean to you?
“It means being helpful, being an educator and contributing to my people by bringing them perspectives on health they have never considered before.
Also, it means changing the game! From it being a white male dominated profession to something black girls can see themselves doing”, she says.
What attributes do you love about Dr. Bee and what about yourself stands out the most?
“I love how strong I am and how good I am at letting go of things that don’t align with my values, beliefs- basically things that don’t grow me. I’m most proud that I can be me in a world that tries to make humans the same. I love how much I care for people. That gives me purpose”.
You have a very beautiful smile, is that something you often hear? Or is that part of the dentistry mantra (ha-ha)?
“Yes! Many strangers and my most recent ex-boyfriend would tell me. No, it’s not a Mantra at all”, she laughs.
You’ve helped put a smile on quite a number of celebrities dials (face). This past year, which celebs stood out the most?
“Bonga and Thabo from Black Motion. They shared so much with me and inspired me more than they would know. I am so proud to now call them my friends and more so, I am proud of how true they have remained to themselves and where they come from”, she says.
Hypothetically speaking society often perceives doctors as being antisocial. Do share what a young doctor such as yourself does for fun?
“I didn’t know that’s how doctors were perceived… (Laughs). How ridiculous! We are human and no different. We take our jobs extremely seriously. For fun, I dedicate my time to people I love. I eat out a lot, spend a lot of time indoors with friends cooking, eating, laughing. I also spend a lot of time with family and I also love to travel”, she shares.
Congratulations on starting your own practice ‘Dr. B Nhlangulela Inc’. Was this always the end goal?
“No, it’s not the end goal! I’m just getting started. This was my parents dream for me even though I was scared to even dream it for myself. It opened me up so much”.
You’ve achieved great things thus far. Tell us a bit about making your dreams a reality and where you see your practice in the next 3 years?
“I believe in opportunity! I received a life changing opportunity to be a practice owner at Lister Clinic SA. I couldn’t say no. I was terrified but the thrill and hunger to make my loved ones proud drove me to pursue it. It completely changed my life!
I’ve been at it for three years and I pray every day that the practice will be full of patients and I can offer quality, honest and affordable health care to people from all works of life.
I agreed to be apart of Lister Clinic in Johannesburg CBD because I wanted to offer my best self to the majority of the people who can’t make it to the surburbs. I wanted to bring quality and competitive health care to the people. I wanted to give them ACCESS”, she shares.