The late Prof Bongani Mayosi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The late Prof Bongani Mayosi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The passing of Professor Bongani Mayosi, and the manner in which it occurred, leaves one not only with a sense of deep grief of what has been lost to society but smouldering anger at what was likely a significant cause of his depression.

Prof was not only a national but an international beacon of personal and medical excellence of the highest degree. He was a man of warmth, empathy and understanding, and had a close relationship with students and their aims. He marched with them to parliament to support the fees issue, and with student unrest so poorly addressed by the University of Cape Town management, his dean’s office was surrounded by what one can only describe as a baying mass of young medical students with the usual panoply of "coconut" and "sell out".

One needs little imagination to envisage the impact and his dismay. He was allowed no "safe space" so beloved of current undergraduates and must have felt saddened, and likely humiliated. And we now face the fact that those students involved will likely soon be qualified doctors giving advice on depression. What a mockery. One hopes they have the deepest sense of guilt at what they did.

Prof was the epitome of "transformation excellence", if one needs mention this, admired and respected by all, and would likely have been a future UCT vice-chancellor. One cannot imagine any other colleague whose passing would elicit presidential and provincial acknowledgement and response.

Tragically we shall not see his ilk again. Ave atque vale, Prof.

Dr John Steer
Via e-mail