Exhibition honours former UCT dean

The Bongani Mayosi permanent exhibition

UCT has set up a permanent exhibition to commemorate the life of the former dean of the faculty of health sciences, Professor Bongani Mayosi, whose suicide in 2018 followed a battle with depression and abuse from #FeesMustFall protesters.

The Bongani Mayosi Legacy Project was launched on Tuesday January 28 and includes a library project, the Mayosi Research Collaborative, the Bongani Mayosi Foundation and a permanent exhibition of his work, among other things.

This launch was on what would have been the professor’s 53rd birthday and included an inaugural annual lecture in his honour and

the renaming of the health sciences library as the Bongani Mayosi Health Sciences Library.

The professor’s suicide in 2018 sent shock waves through the university (“UCT mourns prof,” Tatler, August 2 2018).

At the time, vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the #FeesMustFall protests of 2016 and 2017 had not been kind to him.

“His office was occupied for about two weeks in 2016. He had to manage pressure coming from many different directions, including from staff and students. And some black students were angry with him. “They called him names, like coconut or sell-out, when his intentions were really for the students’ best welfare.”

According to a Sunday Times report, his sister, Ncumisa Mayosi, later told mourners at his funeral that his soul had been “vandalised” by #FeesMustFall.

Now, as part of the drive to commemorate his legacy, UCT’s libraries have also launched an open-access bibliography of Professor Mayosi’s published original research, opinion pieces, editorials, health reports and policy positions.

Professor Mpiko Ntsheke, head of cardiology at UCT, said: “This comprehensive bibliography will be a fantastic resource for generations to come, and will serve as a great testimony to his incredible achievements and accomplishment.”

Reflecting on his legacy, Professor Mashiko Setshedi, UCT’s head of medical gastroenterology, said: “Through this legacy project, we reflect on his lived experience, the values he subscribed to, and to thank the universe for a life well lived.”