By Efemia Chela
A lot of the professions your parents suggested you study – doctor, lawyer, engineer – pay really well but aren’t always the safest places for LGBTQIA+ people. Certain fields are notoriously stuffy and lacking in racial, wealth and gender diversity. Regardless, queer people inventively find ways to thrive in these arenas. Dr Dulcy Ramakukoe, a lesbian and doctor, and Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, a non-binary lawyer-cum-literary critic do just that.
Dulcy has prioritised providing affordable and accessible healthcare for everyone, as well as making sure there is gender-affirming care for the bulk of her career as a GP. However, her career wasn’t always smooth sailing. In the past, Dulcy has opened up about being defrauded by her former accountant which landed her in hot water with the taxman. She weathered the storm to set up quadcare, a private healthcare company with a network of 13 primary healthcare clinics in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
Before she set up her medical empire, Dulcy put her sports medicine degree to use by taking care of the national women’s football team, Banyana Banyana. In 2020, she won the Feather Awards Role Model of the Year and if you don’t catch her in a doctor’s office, you might see her moonlighting as DJ Chai Latte at an event or two.
While Letlhogonolo is a high-flying advocate who has dominated and studied (graduating summa cum laude) under the likes of Kimberlé Crenshaw, they also bear a deep love of literature which they expounded upon for this documentary series. South African publishing is often a white-dominated space and Letlhogonolo, among others, have championed black thought and writing, and centred queer experiences on the page and in the industry.
They describe how both strands of their career intersect, saying: ‘I often bring the fiction books to the legal literature, and vice versa; I think about how Audre Lorde would be considering the law in this particular way, or how Chinelo Okparanta might think on it.’ They co-host the premier books podcast in South Africa, The Cheeky Natives which is a literary podcast primarily focused on the review, curatorship and archiving of black literature. On this magical podcast they have interviewed luminaries such as Warsan Shire, Mona Eltahawy and Brandon Taylor. In 2021, they were awarded Social Media Influencer of the Year by Brittle Paper and offline they are a beloved speaker at book festivals and launches.
Both Letlhogonolo and Dulcy, despite their busy schedules, find ways to give back to the queer community. The Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe Foundation which was established in 2021 helps young people access entrepreneurship education and champions queer-owned businesses. Queerwell, her other project, makes crucial mental health services available to the queer community.While Letlhogonolo has worked on various queer and feminist activism projects with organisations such as Sonke Gender Justice and Iranti.
These MxsterMinds have pursued two different career paths and managed to shape their industries queerly and positively, which we love to see.