Sweet Life is an inspiring diabetes community for Diabetic South Africans. We are a registered NPO with a single focus: to improve diabetes in South Africa.
Sweet Life is a diabetes community that informs, inspires and connects people with diabetes in South Africa. We are here to offer reliable advice on all you need to know about diabetes, support people with diabetes and share that just because you have diabetes, doesn’t mean you can’t live a happy, healthy life.
As a registered NPO (220-984), our goals are to improve the diagnosis number in SA (at the moment 1 in 2 people with diabetes are undiagnosed) and improve the health of people with diabetes. We want to do this by encouraging healthier eating, medication compliance and increased physical activity in ways that really work: actionable ways to live well with diabetes. Up till now we’ve believed that if you give people information in the right format and the right words, they will change their behaviour. But this is not actually true. We need to focus on behavioural change because information is not enough.
By working directly with people with diabetes in South Africa, we’ll be able to get a better understanding of the current status of diabetes in SA, and where the problems actually lie. And then we can work to start fixing them.
Our core team is supported by an expert panel of top diabetes specialists in South Africa. Diabetes isn’t just a medical condition. Our team includes top diabetes experts from all over South Africa: endocrinologists (diabetes specialists), doctors, diabetes educators, dieticians, podiatrists, ophthalmologists and counsellors. These diabetes experts help us to provide you with reliable, relevant and medically accurate diabetes information.
Sweet Life Voices
Bridget McNulty is a published author, Type 1 diabetic and co-founder of Sweet Life Diabetes Community (www.sweetlife.org.za), one of South Africa’s most trusted diabetes voices. She has over a decade of experience with some of South Africa’s top media brands, as creative director, magazine editor, content strategist, writer and editor. She has published numerous articles on living with diabetes in South African lifestyle magazines, is a former finalist in the Novo Nordisk Media Prize, and is frequently interviewed on national radio and TV on the topic. She is also a member of the IDF Blue Circle Voices.
Montsheng Botlhoko has been living with Type 2 diabetes since 2011. Her father lived with diabetes for decades, but it was still an emotional challenge getting used to having the condition herself. Her passion is to raise diabetes awareness so that more South Africans can be diagnosed properly and given the right medication and support. “For us to stand up and fight comes from the support we get from home,” she says. “So many people get amputated or go blind because of lack of knowledge: we can avoid this.”
Sweet Life Board
Mark Peddle is the Creative Director and co-founder of Sweet Life. He is also a professional photographer and has many years experience as both a graphic designer and art director. With extensive experience in both print and digital design and strategy, BTL art direction, brand development, corporate identity and publishing expertise, Mark understands how to translate information visually. Both his brother and his wife are Type 1 diabetics, so he has a deep understanding of the condition.
Dr Sundeep Ruder
Dr Sundeep Ruder MBBCh, FCP (SA), FSEM (SA) is an endocrinologist in private practice as well as an associate lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, honorary consultant at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and an Executive Committee Member of SEMDSA (Society of Endocrinology Metabolism and Diabetes South Africa). He is an experienced speaker on the topic of Philosophy and Diabetes, and has contributed to many scholarly articles in the SA Journal of Diabetes and the Indian Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, amongst others.
Sebastian Thompson is a behavioural design practitioner and the co-founder of Gravity Ideas and Lake Innovation, two of South Africa’s most respected behavioural science companies. Sebastian uses the learnings and techniques from the behavioural sciences to better understand users and improve the design of business products, programs, services and communications. He is working to make the world a better place by designing for the mind, and curious about how this can be applied to diabetes.
Nobuntu Webster is a recognised business leader and development strategist. Her work over the past 10 years has been focussed on media strategy in the areas of social end economic development. As an entrepreneur, she counts amongst her accolades KZN Businesswoman of the Year 2010 and was a recipient of a KZN Department of Economic Development Umyezane Award in 2009. She was recently selected by the US Embassy in SA and the US Department of State as one of 23 women leaders from around the world to take part in the International Women Leadership Programme. Nobuntu has extensive leadership experience chairing development organisations such as the International Women’s Forum SA, Businesswomen’s Association of SA and KZN Youth Chamber of Commerce.
Christelle Pike is the administrative brain of Sweet Life. She has many years experience working for various clients ensuring that their financial management is in order. She worked with Tsebo FS, a leading Southern African Facilities Management company for 9 years, generating private- and public sector-focused marketing material for them. In this time, she learned how to plan, compile and disseminate effective communication tailored for a diverse target audience ranging from boardroom level to site staff – with a similar spread of healthcare, retail, education, mining and other sectors. Her husband has diabetes, so she has lived with it for 20 years and understands the many facets of the condition.
Panel of Experts
Dr. Joel Dave
MBChB, PhD, FCP Cert Endocrinology. Head of Endocrinology at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital. He specialises in the diagnosis and management of a wide spectrum of simple and complex endocrine-related disorders, particularly thyroid disease and diabetes.
Dr. Claudine Lee
A family doctor (GP) with a passion for treating diabetes well. She is based in Hilton, KwaZulu/Natal. She has a Diploma in Diabetes (Cardiff University) as well as Ophthalmology and Anaesthesiology (so is able check your eyes). She also runs an insulin pump centre. Get in touch with her on 083 289 8351.
A dedicated registered pharmacist and diabetic educator with specialty experience in primary health care and diabetes, Jeannie serves on a clinical co-ordination committee of a medical aid administrator and works in Secunda. Her motto is: Diabetes is a journey and we need a lot of friends to walk it with!
A qualified nursing sister and certified diabetes educator who runs a Centre for Diabetes in Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg. She works with clients of all ages and types of diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, Pre-Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes) guiding them in self-management. She also organizes wellness days in the community, and complimentary diabetes education sessions for patients at local medical centres. She has been involved in diabetes education since 2006, and has a Diploma in Diabetes Care from Glammorgan University.
A dietician based in Durban, who is registered with ADSA, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, and specialises in diseases of lifestyle, diabetes and weight loss. She is the co-author of Your Journey with Diabetes: guiding you through the highs and lows towards optimal blood glucose control, with Dr. Kathryn Wiseman, and is in private practice in Durban.
A Registered Dietician in Pretoria East and the Founder of Easy Health Wellness in Moreleta Park. Her special interest is ICU nutrition and lifestyle diseases, mainly obesity and diabetes. With over a decade of experience in working with clients, she loves seeing the results of people make positive lifestyle change.
A Registered Dietician based at the Diabetes Life Clinic in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, Lauren holds a Masters degree in Nutrition and is a member of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa. She has a special interest in nutritional management of diabetes, kidney disease, cancer and gastrointestinal disorders. Her passion for dietetics stems from her desire to help people by empowering them with practical knowledge and giving them the confidence to make healthier choices and live more fulfilled lives.
A dietician registered both in South Africa and the UK and an accredited diabetes educator, Louise has a Masters degree in the management of diabetes and a special interest in paediatrics. She is currently in the process of registering as a diabetes educator with DESSA and has designed courses for people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Louise is passionate about holistic health care. Her private practice is in East London and she can be contacted at email@example.com
A podiatrist who has been in practice in Cape Town for over 10 years, where she now lives with her three children. She is currently running the Western Cape Diabetic Foot Clinic with a team of other specialists. She holds a 4 year National Higher Diploma in Podiatry, and is on the Western Cape committee of the diabetic foot working group (DFWG). She has a certificate in biomechanics from the international ICB college of biomechanics and is a member of the HPCSA and BHF. Her special interests are the diabetic foot and her motto is: Prevention IS the cure.
Holds an M Tech Podiatry (UJ) and B Tech Podiatry (SA) and is currently Chairperson of the Footwear Committee of the SA Podiatry Association; Clinical Director for Anette Thompson & Associates, Inc., Podiatrists, KZN and accredited with both the CDE and Diabetes SA. Anette is passionate about foot health and footwear and has registered 3 footwear related patents. Both her mother and husband are Type 2 diabetics so she knows how to “walk the talk”!
Dr. Dale Harrison
An ophthalmologist in private practice in Cape Town, and a sessional consultant at Groote Schuur Hospital. He did his undergraduate training at UCT graduating MBCHB in 1992, and completed his specialist training at Groote Schuur FC Ophth (SA) in 2002. His motto? Get your eyes checked annually!
A Type 1 diabetic and a counsellor using emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and grief counselling as a framework, Gabi is passionate about helping those with diabetes with the emotional side of the condiiton. EFT helps people to break negative cycles and create new and positive ones.