On the morning of 1st August 2021, we were alerted to the demise of Professor Thandinkosi Madiba following a brief illness. The passing away of Professor Madiba has drawn a curtain on an illustrious career and an association with the Department of Surgery that has spanned almost 4 decades.

Professor Madiba leaves a legacy of much achievement notwithstanding the vicissitudes of life and the institutional harshness that rained on those born outside the privilege of race and material comfort. Standing up to and overcoming several medical debilities that would otherwise stymie many, speaks volumes of his fortitude, his resilience and determination. This doggedness was matched by his academic pursuit and the achievements that followed, consistently, to date.

In 1987, having attained the Fellowship in Surgery, Professor Madiba was appointed as Consultant Surgeon/Lecturer with clinical attachment to King Edward VIII Hospital. Thus began a career as an Academic surgeon that has earned him warm encomium far and wide.

Professor Madiba’s research achievements has been recognised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the National Research Foundation. He has published extensively as reflected by the innumerable book chapters, reviews, editorials and Forum articles and 113 peer reviewed articles published. He has also served as a reviewer for several international and national journals. Upon his retirement in 2015, Professor Madiba has served as a moderator to the FCS examinations held by the College of Surgeons of South Africa (CMSA).

As enthusiastic teacher, Professor Madiba was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award (2008). Recognition for his academic standing came with the eThekwini municipality conferring him the Living Legend status (2011) and UKZN awarding him an Emeritus Professorship upon his retirement.

Until his passing away, Professor Madiba served as the Head of the Colorectal Unit at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital; his standing in the Colorectal fraternity was internationally recognised. In addition to his interest in colorectal surgery, Professor Madiba’s publications reflect, admirably, a general surgery bent that has nourished the academic aspirations of our trainees, MMed and PhD students.

Always well mannered, soft spoken with a measured tone, civil and professional in his functioning, Professor Madiba cut the persona of quiet authority. He played an active role in policy formulation and strategic planning during the re-structuring of the Medical school and pursuit of the transformation agenda.

Beyond the University, Professor Madiba held leadership positions in the Association of Surgeons of South Africa, Surgical Research Society of South Africa, CMSA and the Colorectal Society of SA.

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, as described in Tennyson’s Ulysses, resonates the life and career of Professor Madiba; his achievements have been remarkable and inspirational to many.

At this time of their great personal loss, our thoughts and prayers are with Professor Madiba’s family.

May his soul rest in peace.

Details of Professor Madiba’s funeral and Memorial Service will be conveyed shortly.