My Country:The Foundation of my Success!

Categories: People & Places.


Besong is very proud to say that he was born and bred in Cameroon. His country of birth holds so much memories and has contributed to the person he is today. Although he completed his nursing training here, in 2006 he decided to move to South Africa to seek better opportunities to study further. When he arrived to SA, Besong enrolled with UNISA where he completed his degree in health service management. As a professional male nurse, he found it to be quite interesting at the beginning. “The profession of nursing in my opinion is lured more towards females than men. For the past 8 years I have not met another male nurse that is doing the same work as I do “he said.

First interaction with Hospice Rustenburg

In 2007, Besong’s cousin invited him to stay with him in Rustenburg. Each morning he would notice a women driving a hospice vehicle down the road and it was at this time that he started to become inquisitive and wanted to know more about hospice. He soon discovered that this particular hospice at the time was looking to employ a nurse. To make this even more interesting, it needed to be a male nurse.Besong applied for the job and was employed by Hospice Rustenburg. His first “assignment” for hospice found him in Marikana who at the time was going through a phase of xenophobic violence. This programme lasted 5 years and when it ended, he returned back to Hospice Rustenburg.

Palliative Care in Cameroon

Palliative care in Cameroon is not a speciality as it gets included in your programme in nursing which I did over 3 years. Hospice Rustenburg has really helped me get a deeper insight as to what it really entails and there is so much more that I can still learn. There is so much that Cameroon can learn from South Africa.

Male Nurse Perception

Fortunately for me, patients don’t necessarily see me as a male nurse but rather as a medical doctor. When I visit a patient, I come dressed fully attired with a stethoscope around my neck. Often patients and families would address me as “Doctor Williams”, which I don’t mind. The community too has been very accepting of me as well as the community carers. I am always reminded that if a community knows that you are here for the well-being of people, they easily accept you. The experience around the Marikana violence is as perfect example. Although it was quite dangerous, the people of the community made sure I was protected because I was there to help.

Why Nursing?

I initially always wanted to study medicine because I enjoyed experiments and knew there was good money in it but in 1998 when my younger sister fell ill and I saw how she was treated during her illness, I immediately changed my mind and wanted to provide special care that patients deserved. I couldn’t understand how doctors could only prescribe medication to someone who suffered from a life-threatening illness. There was more to that as it needed to have a more psychosocial approach that not only included the patient but the family as well. I could have chosen to become a doctor but would this have limited me too not see to the patient’s whole need? I have seen nurses at work and their approach is far different from doctors, hence I made the choice and have never looked back.

Average day at the office

Because there are only 2 nurses with up to 400 patients that we need to attend to, my average day is always shuffling between administration and patient visits. With 9 home based care workers working with me in 5 different villages, it is always challenging meeting all our patients. We do strive to do our best and especially meeting the patient’s needs. There are often times when patients don’t have transportation to go to clinics – we will pick them up drop them off, do our rounds and collect them again when they are done. This is part of our values at Hospice Rustenburg.


One of the challenges for me is that hospices are not visible enough in our communities. For example – the department of home affairs is literally 1km away from our office but when you ask if they know about hospice, their response is no. Secondly we need to educate the community more as the stigma associated with hospice needs to change. I do believe that we can overcome these challenges as we have an amazing team that works so well together.

To learn more about Hospice Rustenburg, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *