The Nigerian Community in South Africa is in deep mourning following the passing away of one of the most outstanding members of the community, Professor Gboyega Adebola Ogunbanjo.
The Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Mr Godwin Adama, has described the passing of Professor Ogunbanjo, a prominent Professor of Medicine in South Africa as devastating to the Nigerian Community and a huge loss to Africa and the world at large.
The CG, accompanied by other Officers of the Consulate General of Nigeria, Johannesburg and Dr. Emeka Ugwu, President of the Nigerian Doctors Association, South Africa, was speaking at the residence of the late professor in Pretoria during a condolence visit to the family.
Professor Ogunbanjo, a distinguished scholar, researcher, academic and senior academic administrator was until his death in the late hours of 17th August 2019, Chief Specialist, Full Professor and Academic Head: Department of Family Medicine & Primary Health Care, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa.
In addition, he was Honorary Professor: Family Medicine & Rural Health Department, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha; Adjunct Professor: Dept. of Family Medicine & Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, and Professor: Dept. de Medicine de Familie Université Protestante au Congo, Kinshasa DRC.
He was external examiner to the departments of Family Medicine at the Universities of Witwatersrand, Cape Town, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Walter Sisulu, and Stellenbosch in South Africa; Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; Moi University, Eldoret Kenya, Universiti Kebangsan Malaysia (UKM), National University of Rwanda, Protestant University of the Congo (UPC), DRC, University of Botswana and University of Ghana.
Prof O, as he was fondly called, graduated from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria, in 1982 and completed his family medicine training at the Medical University of Southern Africa – now University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus), Pretoria.
He held fellowships of the College of the Family Physicians of South Africa FCFP (SA), Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine (FACRRM), Australasian College of Tropical Medicine (FACTM), South African Academy of Family Practice FAFP(SA) and West African College of Physicians (FWACP – Fam Med).
He was the recipient of the University Senate Award for Research Excellence from 2002 – 2005 for the ‘Best Research Output’ (clinical); and 2006 – 2008 as ‘Established Researcher’ in the school of Medicine.
Professor Ogunbanjo, who was a devout Christian and part-time pastor, mentored innumerable Nigerian and South African medical practitioners. He took ill shortly after his 60th birthday last year.
The Consul General pledged to facilitate immigration protocols for members of his family and friends in Nigeria and elsewhere desirous of attending his burial on a date to be confirmed by his family.
Condolences from his medical fraternity
In a condolence letter addressed to his wife from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA), signed by its president, Dr Flavia Senkubuge, the CMSA described Professor Ogunbanjo as “a well-respected giant of our medical fraternity, whose span of work reached far and beyond the shores of our continent. He was known for his passion for serving the most vulnerable of our society through his chosen specialty of Family Medicine.
“Prof O has been one of the pillars of strength of the CMSA having served our organization for several years in various capacities, with great tenacity and dedication. He also brought a lot of fun into the CMSA with his traditional bet collection for the correct guess-time for the guest speech at our admission ceremonies”, the letter stated.
“It is rare in life to work with people who are consummate professionals, but most of all who have heart. Prof Ogunbanjo had both these in abundance. To the young health professionals, he was a colleague, a friend, a father, a sounding board, a solid rock – but most of all, he was kindness and heart personified. We are gutted at his passing as he leaves a great void and big shoes to fill.
“His towering legacy will not only be in his academic excellence and the tireless work he did for our country, continent, and the globe, but it will be in his kindness and generosity. He will be sadly missed by the whole CMSA family”, it added.
He is survived by his wife, Priscilla Ogunbanjo, a top management staff at the South African Department of Basic Education, and two sons – Segun, who has taken after his father in the medical profession and Seyi, a high school graduate.
Condolence visit by the Department of Basic Education
A delegation from the Department of Basic Education, comprising Gareth Macquela: Director; Grant Macquela; Gladys Modise: Provincial Budget Monitoring; Morgan Pillay: Chief Director, Human Resources; and Mr Padayachee, Deputy Director General: Branch P, on Friday paid a condolence visit to the family in Pretoria.
Meanwhile, sympathisers continue to stream into his home to commiserate with members of his family.
May his kind and humble soul rest in perpetual peace.