Dr. N.W. Alberts


I was born in Malmesbury on 30th July 1952 where I attended school until age 10, when my parents re-located to Kraaifontein (near Cape Town). I have a brother (2 years older than me) and a younger sister.  I matriculated in 1970 at Eben Dönges High in Kraaifontein. Even though I fared well academically, I experienced school life in general as tough because I was physically weak and sport was very popular. At that stage I was not aware that I have Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT).  In fact, it was only much later (in my early thirties) that I was diagnosed with CMT.
 
After school, I did one year compulsory military training in the SA Navy, followed by full-time studies at Stellenbosch University, obtaining a BA degree in the early seventies. I then joined a semi government organization where I was employed until 1994, the year in which I was medically boarded due to CMT disease. My last position in this organization was as deputy director in human resources.
 
Whilst employed, I embarked upon postgraduate studies and obtained a BA (Hons) degree in Psychology at the University of the Orange Free State in the late seventies, followed by a MA (cum laude) from RAU, presently the University of Johannesburg. For my Masters research, which broadly dealt with the role of certain psychological factors in physical illness, I was awarded the bronze medallion from the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as academic honorary colours from the university. I then officially registered as counselling psychologist.
 
After my early retirement, I became involved with part-time tutoring at regional campus of UNISA in Cape Town. This part-time activity suited me in view of my physical weakness. However, I soon became interested in furthering my studies, as well as researching the dynamics of my disease. This led to my doctoral research with the topic “Engaging with Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, a grounded theory approach” at the University of South Africa. I was awarded the degree DLitt et Phil in May 2009.

I have been married for the past 33 years and have three children, a married daughter aged 32 and two sons ages 28 and 22 years respectively.