Kasi shuffle doc a breath of fresh air

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and more people returning to work, London boutiques that sell formal wear expected an uptick in their sales. To their horror, it turned out professionals who had been stuck at home during the many lockdowns had lost their sartorial sense. After all, Zoom meetings don’t require a tie, formal shoes or a jacket.

After being cooped up at home for more than a year, many employees felt comfortable in casual wear as opposed to the more formal corporate look of grey suits and black shoes.

Now, I own a measly three suits, which I hardly wear except to the odd funeral or presentation. I was shocked when then Mrs Gigabyte, Norma, revealed that former minister Malusi Gigaba owned suits that could fill an average RDP house. I can only imagine what his dry cleaning bill must be like.

I know clothes make a man and society judges you by what you wear, but I do not put any currency to looks.

I tend to trust what comes from a mouth or what your hands can do rather than be impressed by your rags or expensive scent.

Imagine my horror then when South Africans went into a tailspin over Dr Sandile Qwabe, the Newcastle medicine man with a flair for the pantsula. The good doctor upset many tweeps when he posted his videos puffing a cigarette at work and doing the kasi shuffle. Others deemed it as sacrilegious that Dr Qwabe did hospital rounds without the white coat associated with healthcare workers.

Instead, he wore Dickies pants and shirt in honour of his pantsula craft.

While many defended his right to wear what he likes, others decried his look, which they associated with township criminals or gangsters.

“Imagine going into his surgery and being robbed at knife point,” exaggerated one tweet.

So incensed were some people who believed they knew what a doctor should look like that they reported Dr Qwabe to the Health Profession Council of South Africa, a body which regulates the conduct of doctors. The council was gracious enough to respond that its scope was limited to qualifications and conduct and not aesthetics.

As for Dr Qwabe, those who studied medicine in Cuba with him describe him as hard-working and blessed with dollops of humour, which kept them in stitches.

His colleagues and patients describe him as ethical and committed. Others say he is an inspiration to aboMavusana elokshini to see someone who looks and talks like them wielding a stethoscope – that they too can attain those heights in their careers.

From where I sit, I find him a breath of fresh air.

I mean, who spread the lie that doctors have to wear white coats?

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