UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG

Obituaries

Back to List

Madikiza, Kwezi (1925-2009)

One of the first black doctors trained in apartheid South Africa, Dr Kwezi Curnick Madikiza (MBBCh 1952) died on 6 July 2009, aged 84. Madikiza was born in the Transkei, Eastern Cape in August 1925. He held a BSc from the University of Fort Hare before studying medicine at Wits. He set up his first practice in Libode in the Eastern Cape, another in Kensington and then opened three surgeries in Gugulethu, Langa and Nyanga respectively, practicing in deeply rural, impoverished conditions devoid of infrastructure. From 1957 and for many years thereafter, he was the only black medical doctor in Cape Town. In 1989 he retired and received a lifetime membership certificate from the Medical Association. He was awarded the Order of Disa from the provincial government for service to the people of Cape Town. Madikiza came out of retirement in 2004 and worked in primary healthcare community clinics until 2007. He is survived by his wife, seven children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Back to List

Magooa, Abednego Thekwo (1920-2006)

Abednego Thekwo Magooa passed away on the 15th July 2006 five days before his 86th birthday. He had a 33 year battle with cancer having been diagnosed in 1973. Abednego Thekwo Magooa qualified as a doctor in 1947. For most of his career he was in private practice, however he ran a clinic family planning clinic for the YWCA and later for the municipality. He worked at the Orange Psychiatric Hospital and in 1986 he became a member of the Psychiatric Hospital Board until 1995 when he became ill.

Back to List

Manchester, Keith Leslie (1933-2008)

Professor Keith Manchester died on 5th December last year. An enthusiastic hiker, he had been enjoying a hike in the Berg over the long weekend in April, 2008, when an unfortunate accident resulted in head injuries. After many months of hospitalization during which he experienced and rallied from many complications, he had finally started making real progress, when he broke his hip and died of an embolism following an operation. Keith leaves his wife, Joy, two daughters Elizabeth and Claire and grandchildren. Joy and Elizabeth took turns caring for him in his final months.

My (DG) first lecturer position was at Wits with Prof Manchester. I asked him for advice on lecturing and this was his response: “After you have presented a lecture remember to write down what you have lectured so that you know what you have covered for exam questions”. I only understood what he meant when I discovered that the good Professor used to present his lectures “off the top of his head” and did not have any notes. This illustrates his deep understanding and wealth of knowledge about biochemistry. He was able to explain complex concepts and I very much enjoyed his lectures which were full of insight and peppered with subtle humour.

Keith began his career at Cambridge and became a Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College. “Sidney is idyllic: very central, beautiful gardens, great facilities, a beautiful chapel, and all among a friendly and supportive community”. He subsequently joined the staff at University College London and then became Professor of Biochemistry at the University of the West Indies. In 1974, he came to South Africa and took up the Professorship of Biochemistry at Wits where he remained after his retirement as Emeritus Professor. During his time there he was an active researcher and prolific publisher. He has over 128 ISI rated publications beginning with “Some effects of sodium salicylate on muscle metabolism’ published in the British Medical Journal in May of 1958, alongside two Biochemistry Journal papers. These three papers alone have been cited 304 times between them – quite a start to a career. His most cited paper was cited 208 times. My estimate is 1726 citations in total or an average of 13.5 per paper – not that I am claiming that such a calculation has any validity other than to illustrate that his contributions were impressive. He had 4 Nature scientific articles and one opinion piece. His favourite journals appear to have been Biochemica et Biophysica Acta and Biochemical Journal. He also contributed many articles to the British Biochemistry Societies magazine “The Biochemist”.

He made a substantial and continual contribution to South African Science, joining the National Committee of the SA Biochemical Society at the end of 1975, serving in that capacity until 1988 (The History of the SASBMB, Prof W. Oelofsen) and chairing the organising committee for the 3rd Congress of SABS held at Wits in 1978. “Prof. Manchester” and his students presented at numerous conferences of the Society and in recognition of his contribution, he was awarded honorary membership of the Society in November 1998. Illustrating his commitment to South African Science, he wrote 25 articles for the SA Journal of Science. 

To everyone who interacted with him in various capacities, it was obvious that Keith had a very keen analytical mind. He could tease apart data and find new ways to address biochemical investigations and other problems. His time management skills were excellent and “rubbed off” on many of his students. Just as he had so appreciated the gardens at “the idyllic” Sidney Sussex College, Keith enjoyed his gardening pursuits at his residence in Forest Town which is near the Johannesburg Zoological Gardens. He often brought fruit and vegetables and seeds from his garden to give to staff and students in the School of Molecular and Cell Biology. Perhaps also reminiscent of the friendly community of his “Sidney” days, he also played an active role in his church and Forest Town community. On the other hand, he very much enjoyed visits to the Ballet, Opera, and Orchestral concerts, all of which indulged his passion for music. To this end, he played the cello and sang in The Bach Choir and yet he remained passionate about Biochemistry. He enjoyed writing about the subject and unearthing and understanding the background to biochemical advances and gaining insight on the scientists involved. He has written articles on “Overlooked Nobel Laureates”, Louis Pasteur, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and biological oxidation, Arthur Harden, Fritz Haber and, recently (2008), Erwin Chargaff. He had recently been working on conceptual problems in Biochemistry and would source the earliest editions of papers sometimes requiring assistance from colleagues to translate from German. Keith also enjoyed travelling and architecture and was fascinated by other cultures, and of course continued to enjoy the camaraderie and physicality of hiking. His “training” for the latter consisted of occasionally walking the 3 and a half kilometres to and from his home to the university, and always taking the stairs to his second floor office. Over one weekend he forgot his staff card and was “caught” and “arrested” by a Wits security guard climbing a fence to get onto the Wits campus. It took some explaining for him to be released. Keith’s varied but disparate interests were evidenced when he wrote and published an article on the effects of altitude on aspects of metabolism after hiking up Kilimanjaro.

We would like to leave the last word to Prof Keith Manchester from his article on Arthur Harden (Tibbs Feb 2000). “Harden’s outstanding qualities as an investigator were clarity of mind, precision of observation…” qualities which are quite an apt description of Keith himself.

Submitted by Professor Dean Goldring and Dr. Liz Brenner. 

Back to List

Mape, Boitumulo (1966-2009)

Boitumelo Gideon Mape (LLB 1996) died from a blood disorder on 12 June 2009, aged 43. Mape was born on 29 December 1966 in the North West province. He worked at legal firm Blakes & Maphanga after graduating but then embarked on a career in business. He was CEO of Union Alliance, MD of frozen foods distributor, Revivo Investments, and legal and technical adviser for Liberty Life. He also worked as a conveyance and developer and as the company secretary for New Africa Investments and the North West Housing Corporation. He was a member of the North West Parks Board. He is survived by his parents, five sisters and children.

Back to List

Margolius, Karin (1949-2010)

Wits benefactor Dr Karin Ann Margolius, recipient of the 2010 Order of Australia for services to “clinical forensic medicine, to education, and through support for people with cancer”, died in Perth on 1 September 2010 from ovarian cancer. She was 60. Margolius was born in South Africa on 17 December 1949. She held medical and science degrees from Wits and a law degree from Murdoch University, Perth, among others. She taught at Wits Medical School after graduating in 1976 and received the Daubenton Prize for distinguished teaching in 1988. She emigrated to Australia in 1989 and became Western Australia’s first female forensic pathologist, consulting to the Western Australia Centre for Pathology and Medical Research, where she remained for 20 years. She lectured at the University of Western Australia where she helped introduce the country’s first course in legal medicine. As a forensic pathologist, Margolius determined the cause of death and searched for clues to assist police. She frequently delivered expert testimony at homicide trials, and helped develop a questionnaire for nurses at the scene of a child’s death; this is now an accepted document to assist coroners with recommendations on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome fatalities. 

Back to List

McLaren, Shaldeen (1973-2008)

Alumna and former teacher at the Wits Aletta Sutton EduCentre, Shaldeen McLaren (BEd, 1996) passed away in East London, South Africa, on 20 June 2008 after a courageous year-long battle against cancer. She was 35 years old. Born in Klerksdorp, she was the second of three children and the only daughter of Sally and Michael McLaren. She grew up in gold mining communities in Deelkr l and Aggenys and was educated at Potchefstroom High School for Girls, where she was a gifted academic and an Honours Roll student. After matriculating in 1991, McLaren pursued a degree in her first love, junior primary teaching, at Wits in 1993. Her teaching career took her to council estate schools in England as well as to corporate crèches and private educentres in South Africa. She retired temporarily from teaching to focus on parenting after the birth of her son in 2003. During this time she established African Mother, a charity organisation that aimed to raise funds to secure the future of children born to HIV-positive women. During her treatment, she fulfilled the dream of a fellow young terminal patient by arranging for him to meet his heroes, several Springbok rugby players. McLaren returned to teaching in 2008, just months prior to her untimely death, and wrote a teacher's guide to developing children's self-confidence. A natural and brilliant teacher, a devoted mother and a spirited, intelligent, creative and compassionate individual, she was loved and respected by children and colleagues and made a significant impact on the lives of those she knew. She is survived by her parents, her brothers, Shane and Brent, and her son, Ethan.

Back to List

Meltz, Louis (1961-2013)

It is with deep regret that we report to you the passing of Louis Meltz, Chairman of the firm's Immigration Law Practice, today, April 2, 2013, after a several-month battle with cancer. Until just a few days ago, his doctors were hopeful that the treatments he was undergoing would be successful. His passing has been a sudden shock to all of us.Known by many as the "Visa King," Louis provided his immigration clients with a rare combination of both 21st century and old-fashioned customer service. Over the years, his attention to detail and focus on the needs of each individual enabled countless new immigrants to have the opportunity to live the American dream.Loyalty was Louis' greatest value. He was a devoted husband and father. A patriot who loved his adopted country. A constant and true friend. His highest praise was to describe a man or woman as loyal. And there were many whom he described in this fashion. Undoubtedly they were inspired by Louis' own dedicated friendship.In keeping with this faith, a funeral service has been scheduled for the morning of Thursday, April 4, 2013 at the Yorktown Funeral Home at 945 East Main Street, Shrub Oak, New York. Louis' family welcomes anyone who, on such short notice, is able to attend.Louis is survived by three high school and middle school children. Anyone who wants to make a further gesture toward the family is invited to make a small contribution to a tuition fund, the details of which will be forthcoming. (Death notice submitted by Seham, Seham, Meltz & Petersen, LLP on 4 April 2013).

Full obituary at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=louis-meltz&pid=164011320#fbLoggedOut

Back to List

Mendelsohn, Dennis (1911-2009)

Wits benefactor Professor Dennis Mendelsohn (BSc 1949, BSc Hons 1950, MBBCh 1954, PhD(Med) 1963) died on 7 August 2009, aged 98.

Back to List

Moche, John (1970-2012)

John was a highly esteemed dermatologist who was appointed principal specialist in Dermatology at the University of Pretoria. He studied medicine at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal and did his registrar training at the University of the Witwatersrand where he also worked as a consultant dermatologist. He moved to the Steve Biko hospital in Pretoria to take up his Senior post 2 years ago. John was the author and co- author of several papers and was heavily involved in teaching . His enthusiasm and efficiency were demonstrated by his organising  of the National Dermatology Congress in Pretoria last year. His sense of humour, warmth and friendship, as well as the incredible enthusiasm  for everything he did, endeared him to colleagues and students alike. He was  determined to ensure the highest standards of dermatology training. John had great insight into difficult clinical situations and always showed great empathy for his patients. John's death is a shattering blow to the dermatology  speciality and to medicine in South Africa. His untimely death cuts off a great future and will be recorded as another tragic loss for South Africa.  We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife and 3 small children as well as to the rest of his family.

http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=277886&sn=Detail&pid=71616

Back to List

Moelwyn-Hughes, John Timothy (1925-2008)

A stalwart of the Department of Chemistry and tireless campaigner for Wits staff, Professor John Timothy Tim Moelwyn-Hughes, or JT, died in Hermanus, Western Cape on 14 September, aged 83. Born on 25 October 1925 in East London, He grew up in East London and Durban and matriculated from Durban Boys High. He obtained bursaries to complete both a BSc and an MSc at the University of Natal and won a scholarship to Cambridge University, where he completed a PhD in inorganic chemistry. He returned to Natal University as a lecturer in the early sixties and came to Wits four years later, where he would spend the remainder of his career. In 1966 he married Valda and the couple had two children. Moelwyn-Hughes took sabbatical leave to Stanford, Cambridge and Oxford universities to pursue chemistry research, and later to research staff development methodologies. He was actively involved in the Staff Association regarding conditions of service and teaching accountability. He established the Staff Development Centre at Wits in the eighties and pioneered many of the teaching and employee procedures that are the mainstay of Wits today. He retired in 1993 and emigrated to UK following a pulmonary embolism. He returned to Johannesburg in 2004 and settled in Hermanus in 2007. His legacy endures through his children and through the Wits Centre for Learning and Teaching Development.

Back to List

Mohamed, Ismail Jacobus (1930-2013)

A former lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Wits, Professor Ismail Jacobus Mohamed died on 7 July 2013 after a long illness. He was 82. Mohamed held several science degrees from Wits including a Masters (1960), and an honorary Doctor of Laws (1996) conferred in recognition of his contribution to the University and to human rights. Mohamed joined Wits from the University of Roma in Lesotho. He lectured at Wits in the 1970s and 1980s and was Vice-President of the Transvaal branch of the United Democratic Front. He campaigned fiercely against the Tricameral Parliament and was vociferously outspoken on human rights violations. He was detained due to his activism and charged in 1985 in the Pietermaritzburg and Delmas Treason Trials. After democratisation in 1994, he served as an ANC representative in Parliament. Mohamed’s wife, Ellen, and their five children survive him. 

Back to List

Mony, Walter (1929-2009)

Professor Walter Alexander Mony (PhD 1982) died 1 January 2009. Born 14 April 1929, Mony died at the age of 80. It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Walter Mony in the early hours of 1 January 2009 after many months battling debilitating and painful cancer. Stoic to the last and determined to return to work on Monday, he went into the hospice at Jubilee hospital in Victoria for pain monitoring two days ago and unfortunately his system was just too debilitated to cope with another medication regime. Although unable to speak, a few hours earlier he acknowledged his visitors and kissed his wife Ann good night. Walter would have wanted to tell you one of his never-ending supply of jokes about now, laughing raucously at the punch line enrolling you into a cacophony of mirth. His family and many friends will no doubt fondly remember him in this way alongside the serious professional musician, teacher and mentor he was to the many he touched. Walter is at peace now and although his work could never have possibly been finished on earth, wherever he is now we are sure he has already accepted a new project fiddle in one hand, baton in the other. Walter Mony conducted orchestras and choirs, adjudicated international competitions/Eisteddfods, lectured and conducted string clinics in the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, France, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, New Zealand, and South America: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. His repertoire encompassed the standard orchestral symphonic and concerto works, operas and operettas, Broadway and British musicals. A specialty of his, which has received critical acclaim, has been the premiere performances of contemporary and avant-garde works.

Back to List

Morrow, Walter (1939-2009)

Professor Walter Wally Eugene Morrow (BA 1961) died of cancer on 1 February 2009 aged 70. Born 15 July 1939, Morrow matriculated from Pretoria Boys High. After graduating he taught at Vorentoe Hokool and Jeppe Boys High. He went to London in 1965, completed his Master's degree at the University of London and taught English at Riyadh University (Saudi Arabia). He returned to South Africa in 1972 and lectured in the Wits education department. He remained at Wits for 12 years where he founded and edited the journal Perspectives in Education. He obtained his PhD from the University of London in 1982. Morrow moved to the University of the Western Cape in 1991 to serve as Professor of Philosophy of Education, and then Dean of Education. He took up a similar post at the University of Port Elizabeth in 1999. Renowned as a critically thinking academic, Morrow was seconded to the National Ministry of Education to head a commission on teacher education. His report, A National Framework for Teacher Education in South Africa, was published in June 2005. Morrow was adamant that teaching is a profession, that teachers should be treated as professionals, and that their rightful place to qualify is at a university. Despite losing his ability to read and write after being diagnosed, he completed Bounds of Democracy: Epistemological Access in Higher Education to be published soon. He is survived by his wife.

Back to List

Motlana, Nthato (1925-2008)

Struggle activist, academic, businessman and the Mandela family physician, Dr Nthato Harrison Motlana (MBBCh 1954) died of cancer on 30 November in Johannesburg. He was 83. This distinguished alumnus and Wits benefactor held a BSc from the University of Fort Hare, and several honorary doctorates from American and South African universities, including Wits. Born 16 February 1925 in Pretoria, Motlana attended Kilnerton High School. He was secretary of the ANC Youth League in the forties and, in the fifties, was arrested, twice stood trial with Mandela and was convicted and banned for five years. During this time he graduated, married and worked at Baragwanath and in private practice. He remained active in civic politics, serving as vice-chair of the Black Parents Association (for which he was detained) and as leader of the Soweto Committee of Ten. The Committee,formed to run Soweto's affairs after the collapse of the Soweto Urban Bantu Council, was banned by the apartheid government on 19 October 1977,Black Wednesday. Although released the same year, Motlana was prohibited from attending meetings, refused passage to travel abroad and denied a passport for 31 years. He established a grocery shop and remained active in resistance politics in the eighties, campaigning against the Black Local Authority Elections. He pursued various business interests, including forming the first black-owned chemicals company, Africhem, establishing a uniform manufacturing company, Phaphama Africa and founding the first privately owned, black hospital in the country, Kwacha - later Lesedi Clinic. Sizwe Medical Aid Scheme was formed concurrently, the first scheme to be owned and operated by blacks. He also formed New Africa Marketing to employ detained youth. Wits University awarded Motlana the Alumni Honour Award in 1989 as well as a Citation for Outstanding Community Services. Motlana's flagship company, Corporate Africa (later New Africa Investments Limited Nail) was established in 1993 with luminaries such as the current Wits Chancellor Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Sam Montsuenyane, Franklin Sonn and others. Motlana was awarded the Top Five Businessmen Award in 1993 and served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of North West and of Technikon South Africa in 2000. He also served on the Wits University Council. He received the Financial Mail Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in business and community in 2007. He survived by his wife, six children, 11 grandchildren and one great grand child.

Back to List

Mphahlele, Ezekiel Eskia (1919-2008)

The first black Professor at Wits and the man who drafted the Freedom Charter clause, the doors of learning and culture shall be opened to all, Professor Ezekiel Eskia Mphahele died in Limpopo Province on 27 October 2008. The herd boy born 17 December 1919 in Marabastad in the former Northern Transv l only began school at 13 but would become a world-renowned author, educator and literary giant. He was educated at St Peter's School and obtained a teaching diploma at Adams Mission School. He worked as a clerk at a school for the blind in the mid-forties and then taught at Orlando High in Soweto. He resigned in protest at Bantu education enforced in the fifties. He then worked in journalism for Drum magazine but was forced into exile by the apartheid government. In 1957 he left South Africa for Nigeria where he taught at high schools, edited Black Orpheus and published his autobiographical novel, The Living and Dead and Other Stories. In 1959 his groundbreaking novel, Down Second Avenue, immortalised his hometown and became a literary classic. In 1961 he convened a conference of black writers in Uganda and later that year moved to Paris, where he headed a cultural forum secretly funded by the US's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He obtained degrees from the University of South Africa in the sixties and was the first person there to be awarded a distinction for a thesis. He then moved to the US where he obtained a PhD at the University of Denver in 1968, followed by a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania. He was nominated for the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature. He moved to Zambia in 1971 when his next novel, The Wanderers, was published. He returned to South Africa in 1977 to establish Wits African Literature department. He Africanised his name to Eskia in defiance of linguistic oppression, offended as he was with the conventional spelling of Africa with a c, which he believed colonizers of Afrika had created for their own convenience. He continued to write prolifically and established the Black Education and Research Centre in Soweto. The second volume of his autobiography, Afrika My Music, was published in 1984. He retired in 1987. In the nineties Nelson Mandela bestowed the Order of the Southern Cross on the man affectionately known as Uncle Zeke. He received the French government's Les Palmes Academiques Award and Tribute magazine named him Writer of the Century in 2000. The University of Venda established a Centre in his honour the following year and in 2005 the Department of Arts and Culture honoured him with the South Africa Lifetime Achievement Literary Award. His legacy lives on through his works and the Eskia Institute. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

Back to List

Munro, John Leslie (1938-2009)

Internationally renowned fisheries biologist Dr John Leslie Munro (BSc 1959, BSc Hons 1961) died of lung cancer in Australia on 13 December 2009, aged 71. Munro was born in Johannesburg on 4 March 1938. His passion for marine biology emerged during undergraduate field trips to Inhaca Island in the Indian Ocean, where Wits University ran the marine biology station. On receipt of a Commonwealth scholarship in 1961, Munro completed his PhD at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. He directed a research programme at the University of Miami, Florida, and then lectured in the zoology department at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. A British government grant in 1969 facilitated a study into the exploitation and dynamics of the commercially important fish on Jamaican reefs. This study proved to be the seminal work of his career, demonstrating the need to manage such fisheries on a multispecies basis. He taught fisheries biology at the University of Papua New Guinea and began research into giant clam growth rates. His research in this field contributed towards major aquaculture and re-stocking programmes of these near-extinct species.  

Back to List

Myburgh, Bert (1928-2010)

Iconic surgeon and former head of Wits surgery, Dr Johannes Albertus (Bert) Myburgh (honorary DSc (Med) 1994), died in hospital in Johannesburg, following a fall, on April 7, 2010. He was 81. Renowned for his astounding intellect, Myburgh was professor of surgery at Wits in 1967, head of surgery in 1977 and emeritus professor of surgery in his former department on his retirement in 1994. Born in the Free State on May 31, 1928, Myburgh matriculated from Hokool Parys and studied medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT). As a student, he was a Springbok athlete (1950) and a First XV rugby player. He routinely achieved distinctions in each subject, except pathology prompting him to complete a full year in pathology as a registrar, despite having already decided on surgery. He was a Rhodes Scholar in 1953 and met his now-deceased first wife in England. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1955, returned to South Africa to complete his surgical training at Wits in 1956 and registered as a specialist surgeon in 1959. Myburgh developed South Africa's first transplant programme and performed the country's first kidney transplant at Johannesburg General Hospital in 1967. He was a world-leader in immunology and his transplantation research was internationally recognised. He pioneered xeno transplantation, transplanting organs across species in South Africa. He was a visiting professor to 21 universities and presided over the College of Medicine of South Africa, the South African Association of Surgeons, the Southern African Transplantation Society and the Surgical Research Society. An inspiring teacher, he received a special teaching prize from the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences in 1995. Many of the students he taught went on to occupy senior positions at leading medical schools and hospitals worldwide. Myburgh's second wife, his son and two daughters survive him.

Back to List

Mynhardt, Frank (1913-2008)

Dr Frank Strange Mynhardt (MBBCh 1938) died in Los Angeles on 17 October, aged 70. Born 30 April 1913 in South Africa, Mynhardt studied medicine before practicing in Germany during WWII. He returned to South Africa and married Abigail with whom he had one daughter. In 1949 the family relocated to England where Mynhardt specialised in surgery at Oxford. They returned to South Africa and settled on a small-holding, Altemit, in Brakpan, Johannesburg. Actively involved in the community, Myhardt served on the town council and as mayor. He was president of the East Rand Red Cross and established the Frank Mynhardt Tehuis vir Bej rdes, a facility for the aged, as well as the Life Dalview Clinic. A rugby enthusiast, he was lifelong vice-president of the South African Rugby Board. He emigrated with his family to the US in 2002, where he saw out his retirement.

Back to List