Getting to know our registrars: 2023 – Part II

Drs Jacqueline Holdsworth-Jenkins, Luzanne van der Colff, Nikita Hagroo, Shazia Jassat, and Zikhona Cwayi joined the department as psychiatry registrars in August 2023.


Dr. Jenkins has taken many years to find herself in a career that resonates with her values formed from the richness and diversity of past experiences. After leaving school she took a gap year and worked as a labourer on a banana farm. She then completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Business Information Systems. Thereafter, she travelled extensively throughout Africa, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Asia. “This era of my life shaped my approach to humanity”.

In 2015, Dr. Jenkins graduated with her MBChB, then completed her internship at Helen Joseph Hospital and her community service at Khayelitsha District Hospital. At this point, it was not immediately apparent that Psychiatry was her future. After working as a General Practitioner for a year, she realised that she was unprepared to treat the extent of mental conditions that she was seeing daily. “Returning to a hospital setting and working in an acute psychiatric ward at Eerste Rivier Hospital for 3 years was life-changing. It brought me satisfaction through close and meaningful connections to the surrounding community.

Dr. Jenkins has worked in diverse industries from IT to retail and banking, both as an employee and as a business owner. She has a lapsed Commercial Pilot’s License, as well as an Instrument Rating in aviation, and has flown extensively throughout Australia and Southern Africa. She has raised three teenagers, and “experienced both the joy and heartbreak that unfolds with parenting.

I love psychiatry because in psychiatry we are afraid of nothing. Through our patients, we see and experience extreme human suffering. We see the extent to which the human brain can lead us. We see these aspects of the human condition because we actively look for them through our holistic and thorough approach to medical conditions. We fight stigma from within the institutions we work in, as well as the communities in which we live, on a daily basis. Psychiatry is complex and multi-faceted and let’s face it, the brain is the coolest organ.


Dr. Colff completed her MBChB studies at the University of Pretoria in 2016. Following her studies, she completed her two year internship at Kimberley Hospital Complex, before moving to rural Limpopo to complete her community service at Thabamoopo Psychiatric Hospital.  She also obtained her Diploma in Mental Health in 2019 during this time.

Though she loved working in psychiatry, she opted to broaden her scope before settling for one speciality.  The better part of two years were spent in private GP practice in Pretoria.  However, it was the mental health challenges of her patients which drew her most and she shifted her focus back to psychiatry by working in Mental Health in the Tshwane District Health Services in 2021.  Working in the community clinics helped foster her love and interest in psychiatry further, but she knew that to truly address many of the challenges in the system and offer the best for her patients, she had to become a specialist. She was finally offered the opportunity in August 2023 to join the registrar program and eagerly moved down to Cape Town with her husband, two cats and dog.

I’ve had the great fortune of working in psychiatry in a variety of settings. It may take on different faces, but mental illness does not discriminate.  If left untreated, it can ruin a person’s whole being, from their thoughts and how they experience reality, but also their relationships and ability to function.  Add the stigma from society and even health care workers and this can seem like an insurmountable obstacle for many to overcome.  I want to continue aiding these people and assisting them with the tools to live life to the fullest. I hope by specialising I can do so with even more confidence and with greater reach and results.


Dr. Hagroo attained her MBChB degree in 2015 from Sefako Makgatho Health Science University. Thereafter she completed her internship at the Pietermaritzburg Hospital Complex and her community service at Edenvale Hospital working in Emergency and Obstetrics and Gynaecology. During this time she obtained her Diploma in Emergency Medicine.

From 2019 to 2021 she worked in the Emergency Medicine department at Tambo Memorial Hospital. Here she obtained certificates in ACLS, ATLS, PALS, and ultrasound. “While working in the Emergency department I felt drawn to the field of psychiatry, specifically the suicidal/parasuicidal patients. I believed that these patients required compassion and empathy to alleviate their acute emotional pain which is just as important as physical pain.

She decided to make a career change and worked in District psychiatry in Johannesburg from 2021 to 2023. This assisted her in completing her Part I exams in 2022.

I feel that psychiatry gives me a great sense of purpose to advocate for a population who is often overlooked, under-served, and stigmatised.


Dr. Jassat completed her MBChB at the University of Witwatersrand in 2016. She then moved to Cape Town in 2017 where she completed her internship at Groote Schuur Hospital and her community service at Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Paediatric Medicine. “I loved my time in paediatrics but all throughout my medical career I knew I wanted to do psychiatry, and was hungry for an opportunity.

For Dr. Jassat, a silver lining of the COVID pandemic was that it opened up a lot of locum posts, where she managed to get her big break at MPDH acute males, in a 2-week locum post, and she has been hooked ever since. She then went on to work in a long-term nine-month locum post at Valkenberg Hospital that allowed her to get a medical officer post at Karl Bremer Hospital from August 2021 to February 2023. There she gained exposure, learning opportunities, and general skills to manage a busy district psychiatric facility. She then went on to work at Groote Schuur Hospital for a few months before starting my registrar time in August 2023. In 2021 she also obtained her Diploma in Mental Health.

Her passion lies in maternal mental health, child psychiatry, and infant mental health. “Being a mother myself, I feel that intervention and education at this level can work as prevention to many of the traumas contributing to mental illness which we see manifest in our communities. I take a holistic approach when managing patients and I am excited to be in a programme where I’ll be learning a lot more on how to do this.” 

I am fascinated by people in general, what makes us who we are, the way the mind works, the contributing factors that cause mental illness, and the resilience of the human spirit.”


Dr. Cwayi completed her MBChB at Walter Sisulu University in Umthatha in the Eastern Cape. She then did her internship at the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex in Gqeberha. Following this, she worked as a medical officer in the 72-hour unit at Dora Nginza Hospital for 5 years. 

I have always found psychiatry interesting and challenging at the same time. It’s fascinating to me to see how human behavior is impacted by so many factors including social and psychological matters. I noticed, a lot of stigma about mental illness which I feel is mostly related to a lack of awareness. This could be curbed by bringing services to our people including public awareness programs.” 

Dr. Cwayi is originally from Idutywa in the Eastern Cape. She is married to Dr. Chiliwe and they are blessed with 2 children- Xhanti, a 5-year-old boy, and Amila, a 3-month-old girl. She is also part of the Methodist Church- Mothers Union group. She also enjoys cooking and gardening.