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In Memoriam: Tribute to Bongani Mayosi

by: Hugh Watkins, MD, PhD and Ntobeko Ntusi, MD, DPhil

The outpouring of grief that followed the shocking news that Bongani Mayosi had taken his own life reflects his stature as a giant of modern medicine in Africa and a beacon of hope in a period of turbulent transition. At the time of his untimely death at 51 years of age, Professor Mayosi was Dean of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, having been Head of the Department of Medicine at UCT for the decade before that. He was known in-ternationally as a transformative clinician scientist and cardiologist who was driving major advances in understanding the cardiovascular diseases that afflict the poor and disadvantaged in the global south.
Bongani Mayosi grew up in rural Transkei during the Apartheid era, one of 5 siblings and son of a district surgeon. He was home schooled by his mother, who instilled in him a love of learning and a remarkable sense of responsibility: to always help others, to lift as you rise. He qualified in medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, taking a year out to do original research for a BMedSci, a first for that medical school. By his own account, he became hooked on discovering new knowledge. In 1998, after completion of registrar training as a physician, he won the prestigious Nuffield Medical Fellowship to study for a DPhil in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in Oxford.

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