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UCT heart pioneer Bongani Mayosi dies at 51



Mayosi, born in Mthatha, was inspired by his father, also a physician, to help others. He began to study medicine and focused on cardiology and all matters related to the heart.

He studied at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he met his wife. Nonhlanhla Khumalo

The pair left for Port Elizabeth in 1990, where they worked at Livingstone Hospital before heading off to Cape Town.

After working as a registrar in the mid-nineties, Mayosi was awarded a scholarship at Oxford University in England to do his doctorate – and his interest in cardiology and congenital heart disease flourished there.

"I chose a research-focused career in the field of cardiology," he said. He added that heart disease was statistically the second most common cause of death in South Africa.

Mayosi returned to Cape Town in 2001

and undertook research, teaching and clinical responsibility in internal medicine and cardiology at UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital

In 2006, at the age of 38, Mayosi became the first black man to do so Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT. "We work where angels are afraid to kick," he said of the kind of research he and his colleagues were tackling.

When he and a research team discovered the gene causing heart failure, he said, "This is only the beginning." Recognition [of the discovery] means that we are still in the base camp, but with a license, Everest

Mayosi said after discovering he hopes to save lives through prevention rather than cure.


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