Oxford University academic Hugh Watkins has lauded Professor Bongani Mayosi as one of the greatest minds he’s ever known.
Watkins was Mayosi’s supervisor when he did his PhD at Oxford in 1998.
His PhD studies centered around the goal of discovering the gene that causes heart disease, but that had to change.
“I could see that he had the intellect, he was tenacious and resourceful. He wanted to discover a gene that was causing heart disease in the family he cared for. We looked at it and I had to be honest – it wasn’t possible with what we knew those days. We had to set it aside. He came back to it later and he cracked it last year. It was a wonderful email to receive; the pride he had that he and his team here had solved the mystery we couldn’t 20 years before,” says Watkins.
Meanwhile, the children of the late Professor Mayosi have paid touching tributes to their father at his funeral service at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
51-year-old Mayosi ended his own life last Friday following a two year battle with depression.
A friend of one of his two daughters, Camagu, read out a letter that detailed light-hearted memories from the Mayosi household when they were kids.
“I’ll never forget the night Mama and Tata were having a heated debate about the age at which one can officially be called a teenager. Tata was convinced it was 10 and mama knew it was 13. We kids saw this as an opportunity to get out of washing the dishes. We brought out the trusty encyclopedia. Once that had been settled, Tata rolled up his sleeves and washed all the dishes with that infectious smile on his face,” read Camagu.
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