Carol Thomas was a trailblazer for women’s sexual and reproductive rights in South Africa. A gifted gynecologist and founder of the WomenSpace, she practiced and advocated for non-traditional ways of delivering healthcare to women, offering services that were high quality, empathetic and accessible.
“She entered into not only the joy of pregnancies and new babies, but the anxieties of infertility and premature deliveries and female cancers, the heartbreak of miscarriages and stillbirths.” Helen Moffett
Carol thought in new paradigms that centered the needs of women with the least access to services and rights in society:
“The prevailing socio-economic environment that we find ourselves in means that women bear a disproportionate burden of disease and unemployment…As a black, previously disadvantaged woman I have a good sense of what is happening in our communities.” - Carol Thomas
Carol’s innovative and multi-award-winning social venture “iMobiMaMa” used mobile kiosks and interactive technology to connect women directly with antenatal and reproductive health services, information and support in communities all over South Africa.
Carol supported women both in wanted and unwanted pregnancies, mentoring many nurses and doctors during her lifetime.
She was also described as the go-to gynecologist “for trans folks who could have affirming care. She got it right when so many did not have the language or pronouns. Her warm blankets, listening and saying just what you needed to hear was so comforting.” -Marion Lynn Stevens
Carol Thomas was described as being at the height of her professional career when she died on 12 April 2019 of complications following a double lung transplant.
The tributes that poured in following her unexpected death referred to her as many things: