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In the Life: Jamila Aboobaker

December 2002

Jamila Aboobaker

Vanity Fair readers have every month since 1993 enjoyed The Proust Questionnaire, a series of questions posed to celebrities and other famous subjects. In May 2002, IAPAC Monthly introduced "In the Life," through which IAPAC members are asked to bare their souls by answering ten questions.

This month, IAPAC Monthly is proud to feature Jamila Aboobaker, who is Head of the Department of Dermatology at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of Natal in Durban, South Africa.

What proverb, colloquial expression, or quote best describes how you view the world and yourself in it?

Perseverance and tenacity achieves success.

What activities, avocations, or hobbies interest you? Do you have a hidden talent?

Reading, listening to classical music, aerobic exercises and long walks.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

South Africa. I have traveled through many countries and find that South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries I have seen. It has a very democratic and well-meaning government with the best constitution in the world. However the government is grappling with service delivery because of the poor financial status (due to globalization) and the lack of skilled manpower.

Who are your mentors or real life heroes?

My father (now deceased) emphasized over and over again the importance of education as a means of liberation and independence. Dr Nelson Mandela, the man of the millennium and Nobel Laureate is a real life hero, for all his achievements, forbearance, forgiveness and willingness to make this a better world for all who inhabit it.

With what historical figure do you most identify?

Florence Nightingale -- I love and care for the sick as she did. I have spent all my working life in the public sector.

Who are your favorite authors, painters, and/or composers?

Author: Upton Sinclair; Painter: Van Gogh; Composers/Musicians: Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky.

If you could have chosen to live during any time period in human history, which would it be?

The present. Man has achieved so much technologically and scientifically. Man now has to improve on humanity.

If you did not have the option of becoming a physician, what would you have likely become given the opportunity?

I enjoy my work and am happy doing what I do, that is, teach and help the ill.

In your opinion, what are the greatest achievements and failures of humanity?

Man's greatest achievements have been in science and technology. Man's failures are the lack of humanity and the making of the atom bomb. Also the United Nations has failed miserably in keeping world peace. There are pockets of war going on in many parts of the world.

What is your prediction as to the future of our planet one full decade from present day?

If the warmongers are not curbed the world will be destroyed. We need another Messiah. Sub-Saharan Africa is going through the worst epidemic of all times -- the HIV/AIDS catastrophe.

Back to the December 2002 issue of IAPAC Monthly.

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This article was provided by International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care. It is a part of the publication IAPAC Monthly.