Who is this Barefoot Person?

Medical Officer in Anaesthesia here, hai!


I haven’t managed to limit my interests. I love illness narratives, reading, pain management, wilderness medicine, and primary healthcare, too.

(I do walk around barefoot a lot, but less than I used to. Work insists I wear shoes.)

I write about books, medical training, the South African healthcare system, and mental health. I’m easily distractible.

Sometimes I get on my high horse about things. Sometimes I’m wrong. I like to think that I am teachable.

I started this blog for self-debriefing in my second year of medical school, and to approach my studies from a different perspective. I found that vignettes helped me to retain knowledge.

As much as I meant to write about medicine, I cannot pretend that my realities are all separate. I am a doctor, but I am also a book dragon (not a worm!), a South African, a feminist, and a runner who often falls off the wagon (etc).

I vacillate between cold cynicism and ardent passion. I care deeply about human rights, reproductive choice, truth, history, equality. But I am also often overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness. (Is this too much? We’ve only just met.)

I’ve blogged less recently these days. But, I do try to keep up.

barefoot reads

barefoot travels

Note: I always change details about patient vignettes. I use a lot of poetic license. I respect the need for privacy, but I also do believe that social media is invaluable in medical education.

I always welcome guests posts. Contact me if you have a story to tell.

elective extravaganza

To contact me, email barefootmeds[at]gmail[dot]com


  1. senzo was a friend of mine. i really hope things change. im also a doctor at a hospital here with very poor security and i realise ive been lucky to have no incidents. yet id rather be safe then lucky. keep up the good work. lee

  2. Hi got really interested due to what l thought were name similarities but alas not.l see you mention Greytown – l know a man called Angus Buchan from there – just by the way bit of coincidence as l am from Northern Ireland a long way away.

    1. Hi James, thanks for visiting πŸ™‚ Sorry about the name un-similiarities eh.
      Funny thing though, Greytown, where Angus Buchan is from, is in Kwazulu Natal.
      Greyton, where I went, is in the Western Cape πŸ™‚
      Really cool that you know Buchan though, living so far away.

  3. Hey. I’m a fourth year medical student from Malaysia. It’s a nice blog you have here. Am thinking of doing my electives in Cape Town. Wonder if I can get in touch and ask some questions about yr uni.

  4. My significant other is a half shrink (long story) so I get a flavor of medicine and stupidity both at home. I read your first post, cruising along the second when I caught the legal fine print link clicked it. I’ll pursue further reading after I have reviewed the fine print with my legal adviser. πŸ™‚ Its one fun blog you’ve got there and would love to visit it frequently.

    1. Sounds like an interesting long story πŸ˜‰
      LOL, the simplified version of the legal fineprint is basically the following:
      1. I will not be held liable if anyone takes anything written here as medical advice; it is ot written to be taken as such;
      2. I am not paid or rewarded for anything I write, it is in personal capacity;
      3. None of my family, friends, colleagues or associates are represented in these views posted here;
      4. Any problems with this blog can be addressed to the author directly.

      That’s about it, basically there to protect myself and my readers. Nothing hectic πŸ™‚ so I look forwardnto seeing you around here again soon πŸ™‚

  5. I went to law school (eventually becoming a lawyer) and promptly getting involved in politics, writing and art. By the way, I am a barefoot runner … seems we have much in common πŸ™‚ Anyways, I am convinced that all academic professions truly profit from their members being interested in life (as expressed in politics, writing, journalism, art) rather than exclusively in the economic potential of their professional pursuits. I will continue to follow your writing …

  6. Hats off to you!! I am also a true 90’s kid, and I avoid conformism like the plague =D So South Africa? Have you ever travelled to see the great whites breach off the cape? That’s always been a dream of mine…

    1. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the whale-watching route, so I’ve seen plenty whales and dolphins, but never any great whites, actually. You should totally travel to Cape Town, you’ll love it!

      1. I want to soooo badly!! Maybe if someone decides to pay me for blogging Ben and I can travel there LoL – I would head straight for the beach =D

  7. I recently got accepted at UCT to study medicine next year (I’m currently in matric, from Cape Town) and I’ve been searching everywhere for a South African medical student’s perspective. Thank you so much! I’ve devoured pretty much every post of yours within one day and I feel I really understand more about what it’s like being a trainee doctor in South Africa. Although I’m apprehensive, I am also excited to be part of what you describe.

    1. Tim, first off CONGRATS on your acceptance to medicine, that is something you can be very proud of!
      I’m glad to hear that my posts have been of some value to you. You are always welcome here, and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions. I try to help as much as I can. No matter the difficulties in our health care sector, it’s a worthy pursuit. I look forward to hearing more from you.

  8. I can’t find a way to email you privately. I hope this is okay. I have you on my list for blog feedback. I got several requests, but I will get to you as soon as I can. I hope all is wonderful in your world!

  9. I am a 1st year matie and I absolutly love your blog! Through out the year your blog has really kept me going from boring PPD to the impossible to remember pharms (the end of block test is aproaching all to quickly).
    Keep well and keep on inspiring πŸ™‚

    1. Wow, thank you! You have no idea how happy your comment made me, my dear. It’s good to know that what was initially intended to be my own debriefing is meaning something to other students too. Pharmacology is scary, best of luck with that (it doesn’t go away after first year, sadly, so try to retain some of the info you study now).
      Take care! xXx

  10. Hello there =) I am a 2nd year Medical Student in the Philippines. While searching for something over the net, I came across over your blog and Voila! Can’t stop myself from reading, I am mesmerized by your thoughts about Medschool.

    It is actually our semestral break (only 12 days) and it is actually a good time for us to hibernate from the stressful Medschool. More powers to you. Keep blogging. =)

  11. Hey, my name is Ian and I follow your blog. I have read every post you have made(: I am in the process of deciding which med schools I would like to go to, and I love reading about all the difficulties you face and all of your opinions. I however will be studying medicine here in the states and hopefully expanding to the other side of the world(:

    1. Hi Ian, sorry for only responding to your comment now. It’s really good to hear you’ve enjoyed my posts. Best of luck in the big decisions coming your way. I’m always interested in Med Schools in the States – I look forward to hearing more!

  12. i enjoyed reading some entries of your blog. Im a speech pathology student…it came up when i was searching something for uni…great procrastination haha :):)

  13. Hi miss barefoot, nice to see your blog and your love of reading. Medicine is service to humanity and keep it up…Many people write books to save their travel account. I invented a new method. If you want to save memories of your travel & tour with pictuers, audio,satellite views, travel account, lyrics, etc. then have a look at my blog to see how to make downloadable video presentations:

  14. “..top South African University..” Jy hoef nie so nederig te wees nie, ons kan dan sekerlik ook met die Ivy legues net oor die see kompeteer. πŸ˜›

  15. Hey barefoot med student! Fantastic blog πŸ™‚ You’ve literally restored some of my hope in my future as a med student X-D I’ve a few questions that I’m really hoping you could shed light on… could I please email you? PS: love the way you response to most of the comments!

  16. Howzit from another South African blogger. First visit today so I can’t brag of having read many posts, but those I have read, I thoroughly enjoyed and will be back to read more. The only experience I’ve had with the medical profession is as a platoon medic way back when and now as a massager of funny bones.

    I wish you all the very best for your studies. Do us proud and continue the tradition of becoming an excellent medical professional.

    Kind regards

  17. I am a doctoral student in the Teaching & Learning PhD program at the University of North Dakota. I am conducting a study exploring the connections between blogging and higher education. You are invited because you are a member of the blogging community and a college student. I would like to invite you to complete a quick survey – if you would be willing and interested, please email me at laura.parson@my.und.edu.

  18. Hi again marie! I’m joanne and an avid fan of your blog and have been following for a couple of years now! Currently jz started final year med and am planning to do a medical elective in SA (which honestly your blog plays quite a part in making this decision! I am really intrigued by your experiences and the healthcare system in SA in general, not to mention the people and culture! =) Mind emailing me on any advice that you might have (like what hosp in cape town would you recommend and stuff?) It would really make my day! =pppp Thankssss!

    1. Hi! Sorry for the delay in responding. Exams are rough! I’m going to send you a quick email and you can send me loads of questions, to which I will respond in the first week of May. I’m super flattered by your lovely comment! And I’m so excited that you want to come to ZA!

  19. Hello, have heard much recently about your petition. This topic resonates with me personally. I am a registrar planning a thesis on a topic regarding our work. I would like to get in touch to discuss this topic further. Kind regards, Seb

  20. Wow! I’m awed by your blog! It has been my lifeline! Med school has always been my dream… Just need to find a way to get there…I’ve just written my NBTs though… feel pretty down about them… How bad is too bad? Oh and wish you all the best!!!

    1. I’m so glad to hear from you! Keep on keeping on and good luck! Oh, NBTs… wow. They really got a lot of people down. It helps to do well in them, but I know a lot of people who did badly in them and still got in based on their fantastic applications! I thought I did really badly, but I ended up doing quite well, so don’t lose hope. It could be better than you think. Thanks for stopping by. You’ll be great!

  21. Hi Megz!
    I’m not sure how I came across your blog (probably by clicking from other blogs, I can totally get lost in going from blog to blog to blog :p ) but I’m so glad I did! Your posts are really good and I can’t wait to read more! I love seeing the subtle differences among everyday life since we both live on different continents but I think that’s so cool! Super excited to have found you!


  22. I love your posts! I am an aspiring MD, currently in college trying to get myself into a med school. so I enjoy reading everything you post ha!

    I’ve just nominated you for the β€œOne Lovely Blog Award”! To accept it and know more, check out my post!

    keep up the awesome work!

  23. What made you want to start practicing medicine, was it something you’ve always wanted to do? Also, which do you think is the best university for medicine between UCT and Medunsa?

    1. Hi Aneme. This will be a short response because I’m studying for exams but basically: I did not always want to do medicine. I wanted to do EVERYTHING and I was inspired by a book, 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, which I read in Matric, do apply last-minute. I have a review of it somewhere on the blog.
      As for UCT vs. Medunsa: I’ve had questions like that before and I always say it’s a multifactorial matter that ultimately you are the best to answer. Go somewhere where you will be happy – based on environment, people and syllabus. You can go to the best med school in the world but if you are unhappy it’s pretty useless.
      That said, if I had to make the decision I would choose UCT, not only because of locale and social life, but because the training hospitals have a good reputation and UCT does consistently better on ratings. But you should take ratings with a pinch of salt, because they are ALSO just someone else’s opinion. Health Minister Motsoaledi’s daughter goes to Medunsa so it certainly has his approval!
      If you check back here in the next week or two (or three), I’ll put some posts up to answer both your questions.
      Hope this helps!

  24. I just happened upon your blog and it is so refreshing! I am an RN and love your view on the teamwork aspect if medicine between doctors and nurses. I also participate in medical missions and thought you might enjoy my blog series on the top 10 excuses why people don’t go on medical mission trips on my site! I will be following your adventures. Have fun on the journey!

  25. Your blog gets me excited for med school, 😊 im just here in Cape Town working really hard to make it possible.

  26. Just stumbled across your blog after finding one of your images on pinterest. My mom and grandparents used to live in South Africa and now I’m a med student – so your blog looks really intriguing to me!!

  27. Hey Megz! Just popping back to say Hi and let you know about my “new” identity. I’m an old blogging friend who used to be a certain emotional animal. Pop on by and you’ll know what I mean! Looking forward to getting back into the blogging world.

  28. hello barefoot!!!
    lm an aspiring med student and ive bn loving reading your posts. l could use some advice.Hope you find time to say hie back!

  29. Hi!I’m glad to find your blog here and I notice you are doing reviews sensibly. I would be very hapy to give you a copy of my book about the disease of alcoholism. I did it after losing my son to drunk driving hoping to carry the message about this disease so many are lost. thank you.

  30. Hi Megz!
    Long time reader and occasional commenter, dropping in another comment (under a pseudonym, of course!). Just wanted to let you know that I have always liked your blog, and finally, when I decided to take the plunge into the blogging world myself, I thought of leaving you a note to let you know that you have, in part, inspired me to take up this avocation. Hope to hear/read more from you! Cheers, Med Utopia.

    1. Hi! Oh wow, thank you for stopping by and telling me about your blog! I’m going to check it out now. I’m so glad you took the proverbial plunge, thanks for making my day πŸ™‚

      1. Thank you SO much for dropping by my blog, and leaving a comment. I cannot tell you how awesome that felt (considering that I mostly crib and complain on the blog!)… I need to find a “voice” for my blog that is not all cribbing and complaining about how hard life is!

  31. Hi, Megz! My name is Aya, and I am a fellow book blogger. What I am about to ask you is slightly irrelevant to this post, but hope that is okay, since I wasn’t sure of where else I could contact you on. Anyways, I was wondering if you would be interested in participating in a small project that I am doing. I wanted to ask a bunch of bloggers (49, to be exact :p), to give me one of their favorite book quotes. I’m going to compile them all in one post and then post it on my blog on the 22nd of this month. It’d be fantastic if you were to be a part of this. Just let me know by this Wednesday please, so that I have plenty of time to compile and/or ask someone else. Thank you!

  32. Hi, I am trying to get hold of you regarding one of the poems you wrote about a subject we are making a documentary on, how can I get in touch with you? Thanks

    @lwanie on twitter, @ele_lwani on instagram.

  33. Hi. Cool blog! Have you thought of creating an index, classified by date for example? I like to start at the first blog and then browse around. That means a lot of scrolling in the current form.

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