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20 South African voices for diabetes

In the last year, South Africans with diabetes have raised their voices online. Not just in online communities like Diabetic South Africans, but individually. Here is a list of the top 20 diabetes voices in South Africa: people who are sharing their daily experiences of what it’s like to live with diabetes, in the hope that it helps others. Follow them and share this list – let’s spread the word about inspiring diabetes voices in SA!

south african voices for diabetes

Top South African voices for diabetes

Howza Mosese (@howza_sa)

Tshepo Howard Mosese (Howza) is a South African rapper, songwriter and actor – and a Type 1 diabetic.

Holly Rey (@hollyreymusic)

Award-winning South African house artist. New Single #WannaBe available now.
She recently started speaking publicly about the challenges of living with Type 1 diabetes.

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The decision to open up about this part of my life has been a very scary one for me because of how personal and difficult this particular journey has been for me. When I was 11 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and my world changed forever. Diabetes is a chronic disease and something that diabetics have to navigate and calculate everyday. We have good days and we have bad days. But on top of that we deal with so many stereotypes and misconception that makes us feel uncomfortable and sometimes ashamed of our condition- I often hear people say things like , “only old people have diabetes”, “only overweight people have diabetes” “did you get diabetes from eating too much sugar” - and the answer to all of these questions is no. When I was younger I would avoid telling people about my condition until it was absolutely necessary to avoid judgement which often meant putting my own health at risk. This period of the Covid pandemic has been an incredibly scary time for people living with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and everyday I wake up and think about all the people across SA who are living with diabetes and aren’t able to isolate or fully protect themselves. I have realized that I have a responsibility to open up and create awareness about diabetes’s. What I thought would be my greatest weakness in life has become my greatest strength. I want to show kids and anyone living with Type 1 diabetes that you can achieve your greatest dreams. Having to constantly monitor your glucose and depending on insulin is not a limitation and you do not have to hide it. I recently went on to a CGM system and although I was nervous to have a foreign object attached to me at first, I honestly don’t even notice it and it has changed my life completely. It has become my best friend. I always joke with my friends and say that I am a semi-bionic woman. I want kids to learn about CGMS and I want to be a part of changing the lives of South Africans affected by Type 1 Diabetes. CGMS has helped me accomplish so much. The journey to self love is a process and I cant wait to share it with you. #OwnYourStory #DexcomG6 #Ethitech #HealthInnovation #type1diabetes #diabetes

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Kirsten de Klerk (@everydayisdiabetesday)

Type 1 diabetic since 2010. Here’s to conquering life one injection at a time.
In Cape Town, South Africa.

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The best compliment that I ever received was that I looked healthy. ⠀ ⠀ I think when living with an invisible illness, outsiders looking in often don’t know that as healthy as we may look on the outside, we might not feel that way on the inside.⠀ ⠀ At this particular point in my life I had just come out of a really long burnout phase, I was finally putting in the effort to look after myself again and to hear someone say that I looked healthy was the best compliment I could have ever received because I was finally feeling great on the invisible side too. ⠀ ⠀ It’s not everyday that I feel this way and even when I’m at the top of my game - there are days in between where diabetes wins. Where the exhaustion and dehydration and nausea kicks in, where I’m moody and sensitive to sounds and light, where I wish I could feel as healthy as I sometimes look. ⠀ ⠀ Diabetes has given me the opportunity to understand my body in ways I never did and has pushed me to constantly be in tune with my happiness and health. Enjoy those wonderful healthy inside and out feeling days and be proud of whatever progress you have made - big or small ✨

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Type One Warrior (

This Instagram account and blog details adventures with their Type 1 diabetic son (diagnosed at 11 months) and his little brother. Read their blog at

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Obligatory first day of school pics! Our little type 1 warrior rock star started Grade RR today! We left home in exceptionally high spirits - he has been counting down the days to the point that last night he just would not sleep. . At 19:45 I was still trying to convince him time goes by faster when you fall asleep to which he exclaimed "but I'm just too excited for this day to become the next day" (his way of saying: for it to become tomorrow). . We were up at sparrows to get him and ourselves ready after being out of routine for what feels like months. Measured out his school snack carb doses so the teachers would be prepared. All has gone seemingly well for a first day, including being sent home with birthday treats from a friend! What a great day for the big boy. . Coming soon : toddler lunch inspirations including carb doses 💙 . . . #typeonediabetes #typeonestrong #typeonediabetics #t1dawareness #t1dlookslikeme #juvenilediabetesawareness #juvenilediabetes #t1dkidsrock #t1dkids #type1warrior #type1kids #momofatype1 #beyondtype1daily #diabeticlifestyle #lowcarbrecipe #pumplife #t1dwarrior #t1dwarriors #Medtronic640G #insulinpump #insulindependent #type1warrior #typeonewarriorpantry #typeonederful #type1life #cgm #insulinjunkie #type1ofakind #t1grit #t1dtravel

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Jaco Cronje (@cronje.jc)

Type 1 diabetic trying to stay alive while he swims, bikes, runs. Diagnosed in 2006. Trying to make the best use of technology to manage Type 1 diabetes. Read his blog at

The Sane Diabetic (@thesanediabetic)

Type 1 diabetic since 1996.
Diagnosed at the age of 7 years.
Look, I’m not saying I know it all regarding diabetes, but I am here to share my experiences.

Lynette Cronk (@lillytri)

Daughter of a King. Mom of the @cronks2017. Founder of @ultimatesportscoaching.
Type 1 #diabadass since 05/09/2018. A.T.H.L.E.T.E.
Read her blog about Type 1 diabetes and pregnancy here.

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Week 20 🤰 anatomy scan done today! My stress levels are always somewhat elevated when it comes to my appointments but I get so excited knowing I'll get to see Cronk Jnr! All went beautifully - baby is in the perfect percentile & everything that needs to be there is there & working!💙 The 2nd Trimester has been much more forgiving!🙏 I no longer feel ill or nauseas. Appetite & energy have massively improved & I no longer have intense carbohydrate cravings which just turns my blood sugars upside down so this has been much better to control! I've been able to eat much more consistently following mainly a low carb diet which requires minimal amounts of insulin! My diet has consisted of: Smoothies/Fresh Juices✔ Lots of greens✔ Plenty fibre✔ Good fats✔ Fish, fish & more fish✔ This baby doesn't like red meat & chicken - this makes me nauseas or I get acid reflux🤪 so I have not been eating much on this front! Plenty of Rooibos tea & water✔ Dark mint chocolate ✔ Preggy cravings - CHEESE🧀🧀🧀 AVOCADO 🥑🥑🥑 & SNAILS🤷‍♀️ Preggy blessings - my hair has never looked better!😃 Preggy challenges - tying shoes! On the exercise front doctor has told me to cut back A LOT being a high risk pregnancy. So I have become an adamant walker😊 & I cycle on my indoor trainer 3 - 4x a week along with my preggy pilates which has been great! What do I miss - running, carrot cake & WINE!😂 but it's all OK as I am comforted knowing my strict eating & listening to my body is paying off, baby is healthy! That is all that matters to me💙 I have loved feeling how our little bug kicks! It instantly puts a smile on my face😊 I have had upside down days where I get upset & angry about my zombie pancreas! Knowing that high blood sugars can hurt my baby & lead to many complications is daunting! This is a massive responsibility & one I wouldn't wish upon anybody! On these days I take many deep breaths! And I pray just that much harder! 🙏 I am truly thankful I get to experience yet another pregnancy even if I do get days like this☝️ I know who I will get to meet by the end of this journey🥰 I take things day by day which keeps me sane during this pandemic! #itsworthallthetears #type1pregnancy

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Zanel Bester (@zaneli_t1d_southafrica)

South African. Type One Account! ChronicLife.
Diabetic diary since 2019/08/19.

Yuvanya Naidoo (@diariesofdiabeteing1t)

Football fanatic, wannabe actuary, aspiring philanthropist, sarcastic comment specialist and Type 1 diabetic activist @bete_it

Villiers van der Walt (@type1can)

His Type 1 Diabetic story started in 2009. Mountain biking became his lifeline to fight it.
He rides what he stands for:
Diabetics… Can!

Emma Leigh Allen (@emz_allen)

Johannesburg. Web/Graphic designer. Proudly Type 1 diabetic and advocating for change.

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As a Type 1 Diabetic, and after 13 years of +-4 finger pricks a day (about 19 000 finger pricks so far in my life), this device is absolute heaven. A tiny little machine which many have mistaken for a smoking patch 🚬, which reads my blood glucose levels every 5 minutes! Meet the Freestyle Libre- my new best friend 😍 This device is absolutely unreal and gives me the most accurate vision of what my blood sugars are doing at every point of the day. Being so aware of what my body is doing and how it reacts to certain things (stress, food, exercise, alcohol) is so important for my general health, and to prevent future life threatening complications. Unfortunately there is no simple recipe for a Type 1 Diabetic to keep your sugar levels in range, which is why this device is such a game changer (and a life saver!). The issue is that one of these devices, which lasts for 2 weeks, costs R1000- which means an extra R2000 a month to essentially live as normally as possible. This is a huge extra cost, and definitely not one that I (nor other Type 1 Diabetics) can afford on top of other medical expenses! Discovery does not cover this, nor does any other medical aid. I- alongside many others- am trying to change this. Please click the link in my bio, and sign the petition to help me make some noise 💙 @freestylediabetes #type1diabetes #freestylelibre

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Daniel Sher (@danielshertherapy)

Type 1 diabetic and clinical psychologist with a focus on diabetes – both Type 1 and Type 2.

Gillian Fraser (@gilly.fraser)

Welcome to my world. Type 1 diabetic and journalist living in Cape Town.

Thapi Semenya (@babygun_thapi)

Epicurean. Type 1 Diabetic.

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Confessions.| Growing up i really wasn’t confident and it has really impacted my self-esteem. I was always so shy and conservative and well it hasn’t really changed but I’m more open to the idea of being out there. It got so bad to a point that I started wanting to cover up more and became very afraid to wear things like shorts and bikinis because I was afraid to be judged but I must say as time started passing, I grew out of this and I am now confident to wear anything that I want to wear and I must say I really love my legs. I hope that as I share my story, it will also help others to come out of their shells and because the very best version of themselves because it is possible and you can do it. Also I want to ask y’all what is your feature of you body? Please do share in the comments section. 🤍🌱 #selfcare #selflove #confessions #selfesteemboost #happiness #newstart

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Tracy Leigh Sanders (@type1tracy)

Doctor. Type 1 diabetic. Part of the founding team of @bete_it.

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CGM FOR ALL. Are you a South African Type 1 diabetic or a Type 1 supporter? 🇿🇦⠀ ⠀ @bete_it needs your help 🙏🏻 ⠀ ⠀ From May-August the medical aid schemes in South Africa will be busy writing up their 2021 Chronic Medical Aid Benefits List. ⠀ ⠀ We want to see Continuous Glucose Monitors on that list! ⠀ ⠀ If you use a Dexcom, Medtronic or FreeStyle Libre sensor or if you are currently finger pricking and would like to go onto a CGM, please send @bete_it a video of no longer than 1 minute or a photo with a caption on how a CGM has or could change your life. ⠀ ⠀ If you are a diabetic supporter and have seen the effect a CGM has had on your friend or family member, please send us a video of no longer than 1 minute or a photo with your friend/family member and a caption on how a CGM has or could change their life. ⠀ ⠀ Please send through your videos and pictures to us by Thursday, 28 May 2020. ⠀ ⠀ Let’s work together as Type 1 advocates and supporters to make this life changing technology affordable and accessible to South African diabetics 💙🇿🇦 #ethitech

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Shelly Schutte (@shellyjane_s)

Type 1 diabetic living life to the full. With the right technology, diabetics can do anything. #DSA #YT1 #freestylelibre #ilivewithdiabetes @librelifesa
Read her blog here.

Nick Caracandas (@DiabeticAthletic)

Fitness and nutrition coach living with Type 1 diabetes who helps diabetics learn and discover how to live life with better diabetic impact, freedom and control. His passion is teaching others how to eliminate diabetic overwhelm, and how to implement winning strategies to succeed and overcome our condition.

Terry Cronje (

Type 1 Diabetic. Graphic and Web Designer. Humalog/Medtronic 640G/HbA1c: 6.8%.
Plant-based. Wannabe Cook. Dogmom. In South Africa.

Shirley Desmond (@shirlsdsmnd)

Dog mom. Registered dietician. Type 1 diabetic diagnosed in 2003 who really wants to see changes made in diabetes care and access across both public and private sectors.
Sunrise. Food lover. Home baker.
Durban. Crochet. Running.

We can all be voices for diabetes in South Africa

What these 20 South African voices for diabetes show us is that each of us can be a voice for diabetes. Whether we’re sharing our personal experiences or speaking about diabetes as a national condition, we all have something to say. Please follow and share these voices to amplify their message!

And let us know if we’ve left anyone off the list… We’re all in this together.

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.