Mayosi was a 'symbol of pride and encouragement' for black medical students - Mkhize

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Zweli Mkhize has paid tribute to renowned cardiologist Professor Bongani Mayosi, calling him a role model and hero of South Africa in the medical sector. 

In a statement on Sunday, Mkhize said that there was no underplaying the obvious fact that Mayosi was an inspiration.  

"Many of us who qualified in medicine ahead of or together with and after him held him in high regard as a symbol of pride and encouragement for more black students to aspire to the greater heights of the medical profession," said Mkhize. 

"In this sector Prof Mayosi was a role model and a hero of a democratic South Africa. He represented the actualisation of the dreams and aspirations of the previously oppressed and the celebration of our newly found freedom."

Mayosi committed suicide on Friday, following a struggle with depression, his family said on Saturday.

"In the last two years he has battled with depression and on that day [Friday] took the desperate decision to end his life," the family said in a statement - whose veracity was confirmed by News24. 

"We are still struggling to come to terms with this devastating loss."

At the time of his death, Mayosi was the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town and an A-rated National Research Foundation researcher.

Mkhize said Mayosi was a highly revered chief specialist, a brilliant academic and researcher as well a world-renowned cardiologist, adding that no tributes could suffice to commemorate a doctor who dedicated his entire life as a committed servant of our people.

"How does one bid farewell to such an illustrious life cut too short? How does anyone bid farewell and accept the loss of so brilliant a mind, ranking amongst the best brains that South Africa and our continent can offer the world of modern medicine?
 
"He was one of the rare breed of African physicians to have scaled the climax of this complex and highly technical specialist field of cardiology.

"Prof Mayosi possessed a rare combination of a brilliant mind, yet remained very friendly, warm and sociable due to his humble and extremely down to earth personality."
 
In bidding farewell, Mkhize said that Mayosi's achievements were a source of pride and inspiration to all. 

"You ran a good race and you fought a good fight."

Parliament issued a statement on Saturday, honouring the legacy of Mayosi – who in 2009 received the country’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe.

"Professor Mayosi's death has robbed South Africa of one of the finest brains and passionate health experts who still had so much more to offer the nation," said Parliamentary officials in the statement.

The country was indebted to him for his "immense contribution to the country's policy and strategy for health research".

Earlier, condolences were extended by President Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of government and South Africans as a whole.

"May his soul rest in peace," he said.