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Death of UCT Professor Has Re-Opened The Conversation About Depression Among Black People

South African Twitter reflects on depression among black people after Professor Bongani Mayosi's death.

On Saturday, it was reported that University of Cape Town's Professor Bongani Mayosi took his own life at 51. The world-renowned cardiologist and Dean of Health Sciences was battling depression for the past two years, according to his family.

His death has caused many South Africans on Twitter to reflect on depression among black people, especially black men.


Below are some tweets from South Africans responding to Mayosi's death and reflecting on depression, from how it can affect even those who are successful, to how seriously black people must treat mental illness.

Dr Mayosi was mostly known for his discovery of the genetic mutation that causes heart failure. He was respected by students and staff alike. It's been reported that his death is linked to the #FeesMustFall protests, as he was deeply affected by students not being able to afford university fees.

"He really cared about students, their problems and suffering. It had a great emotional effect on him," a member of staff at UCT's Health Sciences faculty was quoted by City Press as saying.


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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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