Dedicated specialist: Bongani Mayosi, known for his outstanding work on tuberculous pericarditis, committed suicide in July. Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF
Dedicated specialist: Bongani Mayosi, known for his outstanding work on tuberculous pericarditis, committed suicide in July. Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF

Over two thousand people gathered in Cape Town on Saturday for the funeral of Professor Bongani Mayosi‚ the dean of health sciences at the University of Cape Town.

Mayosi, 51, took his own life eight days earlier, sparking an outpouring of mourning and tributes for the world-renowned cardiologist.

The programme for the official provincial funeral — given the go-ahead by President Cyril Ramaphosa and held at Cape Town International Convention Centre — showed that it would pay tribute to Mayosi as a son, husband and father; as a friend, academic, leader and visionary; as a physician; and as a global citizen.

The funeral was opened by the worship team from Every Nation Baxter, a church that meets at the theatre in Rondebosch attached to UCT.

Coega Development Corporation executive Chuma Mbande and Mashiko Setshedi, from UCT’s department of medicine, were then due to speak about "The living years of Bongani" before prayers led by the Rev Andre Buttner, from the Methodist Church in Pinelands, where Mayosi lived; and Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane.

Following contributions by family members, friends and academics were due to pay tribute to Mayosi.

They included: childhood friend Dr Fundile Nyati; Groote Schuur Hospital CEO Dr Bhavna Patel; UCT head of medicine Professor Ntobeko Ntusi; chairman of the UCT council Sipho Pityana; UCT paediatric cardiologist Liesl Zuhlke; UCT head of cardiology Professor Mpiko Ntsekhe; and British cardiologist Professor Hugh Watkins, who works at the universities of Oxford and Harvard.

Then one of Mayosi’s patients spoke. Selejang Kalane, from Cape Town, was the recipient of a heart transplant and his operation and recovery were documented in a video produced at Groote Schuur Hospital in 2017.

A Groote Schuur production The story follows Mr. Selejang Kalane and his family on his heart transplant journey and the people he encountered along the way.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was due to give a talk subtitled "The world has lost a true son of the African soil."

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