Tshepo Howza Mosese – Making the change

Kwaito singer and TV actor, Tshepo Howza Mosese, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 20. We hear how he changed his lifestyle after he was diagnosed.

Although Tshepo Howza Mosese has a family history of Type 2 diabetes, he was caught off-guard by the diagnosis; especially given his young age. Like many young people, he believed that diabetes was a condition that affected older people.

Type 1 diabetes primarily occurs in children and adolescents and is believed to be an interplay between environmental and genetic factors. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of individuals living with diabetes and typically occurs in older adults with genetic and environmental factors, particularly diet and exercise having a role in the development of the condition.

After recovering from the shock of his diagnosis, Howza was proactive about taking charge of his health and has never been shy about his diabetes diagnosis. He uses every opportunity he gets to raise awareness and educate people about diabetes using different platforms.

Making the change

After his diagnosis, Howza made the wise decision to change his lifestyle and make sure he takes care of himself the best way possible by engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet, and regularly checking his blood glucose levels.

His journey of managing his condition was not an easy one. He started losing weight, having blurred vision, dehydration, frequent urination, and loss of energy.

“I have lived with the condition for many years, and over the years I have learned to make health and lifestyle choices that support my ongoing quest to live well and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.”

Being diagnosed with diabetes didn’t stop Howza from pursuing his dreams and aspirations. He continued with his acting career and used his popularity to communicate the importance of understanding your body and ways to better take care of yourself with or without diabetes. He continues to live a healthy lifestyle and shares his journey with legions of people in the country.

Tshepo Howza Mosese

This article is sponsored in the interest of education and awareness by Sanofi. The article has not been changed or altered in anyway by the sponsor.

This article was written by Britespark communications on behalf of Sanofi.

Thapi Semenya – Passionate about advocacy

We chat to Thapi Semenya, who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 16 years, about how she uses social media as a platform for diabetes advocacy.

About Thapi

Thapi Semenya is a diabetes advocate and uses her social media accounts to educate about her multiple chronic conditions namely diabetes, vitiligo and bipolar disorder.

She is currently studying Law and is a looking to specialise in health law. Her passion for advocacy started in 2018 when she realised that she wanted to form a community and allow for a space where people living with diabetes can come together and share their hopes and struggles. The focus of her advocacy is access to basic diabetes management and affordability of diabetes technologies.

Thapi is also a dedoc° voice; dedoc° is an international community by and for people with diabetes, and she is also a trainee in the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes programme for 2022-2024.

Her volunteer work includes working as a professional advisor for a Glasgow-based charity, The Luna Project UK, that is committed to raising awareness of and supporting disabled young people

One-on-one with Thapi

When were you diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?

I was diagnosed in 2006.

What were your symptoms?

Nausea, excessive thirst, frequent urination.

When and why do you advise people to start testing for diabetes?

It’s important to continuously test as diabetes is a condition that can be diagnosed at any stage in your life, but it’s important to test when you show symptoms or if you know you have a family history of diabetes.

What treatment do you use to manage your diabetes?

A continuous glucose monitor and multiple daily insulin injections.

How often do you test your glucose levels?

Because I wear a continuous glucose monitor, I get my readings every five minutes. However, I pay more attention to them before meals and two hours after meals.

Have you experienced an hypo (hypoglycaemia) episode and how did you treat it?

Yes, I have frequent hypos and I treat them by eating a fruit, like a banana, or glucose sweets. Sometimes fruit juice also works but it ultimately ends up spiking my blood glucose levels so I try to avoid it.

How do you manage your diabetes?

Changing from a glucometer to a continuous glucose monitor has been one of the best ways to manage my diabetes. Besides the continuous glucose monitor, I exercise and move around often, drink water, eat smaller portions at every meal, snack regularly and check my blood glucose levels habitually which enables me to do corrections, especially when I’ve eaten something that could potentially increase my blood glucose levels.

What is the most challenging aspect of nutrition for you?

The most frustrating aspect of nutrition is how we as people living with diabetes are expected to follow diets such as the low-carb diet. I find this extremely frustrating as not all households can afford this particular diet, and most of the staple foods we eat, especially in African homes, contain a lot of carbohydrates.

Has diabetes ever affected your work or education?

It has affected my education. In 2019, I had to move back home when COVID started due to the fact that people living with diabetes were considered to be high-risk of contracting COVID so I had to go from being a full-time student to a part-time student and studying online at home.

Do you ever feel the need to hide your diabetes from people?

No, I’m comfortable to talk about my condition.

How do you raise awareness about diabetes amongst your peers?

By advocating on my social media platforms. I do community work and run support groups for other people living with diabetes. I volunteer at various diabetes organisations to help people receive insulin and I’m part of international diabetes communities, such as dedoc° voices, which allows us to interact with other diabetes advocates around the world. Luckily, we get scholarships to attend conferences namely EASD, ATTD and ISPAD. Through attending these conferences, we take what we learn from them and we pay it forward to our communities.

Do you exercise, if so did you start because you have, or was it a lifestyle choice?

Yes I do. This was a lifestyle choice and mainly because I love moving around.

What has diabetes not stopped you from doing?

Diabetes has not stopped me from obtaining my degree, getting my voice heard on large platforms, modelling, or being anything I want to be. I have done so much and diabetes has helped me to grow as an individual.

Thapi 1
Thapi 2

This article is sponsored in the interest of education and awareness by Sanofi. The article has not been changed or altered in anyway by the sponsor.

This article was written by Britespark communications on behalf of Sanofi.