Extracts from Mentor’s Reports

  Justice Edwin Cameron (2007) said:
  “Perhaps one should start by stating the obvious — that Prof Makgoba is a most extraordinary South African, and a person of remarkable achievements.  He has attained world renown in the field of medical science and specifically AIDS research.  He is one of Africa’s best-known and most distinguished scientists.  He is one of our country’s foremost public figures.  More than anyone else, he has challenged the government’s unscientific approach to the AIDS epidemic”.

  Prof Peter Folb (2002), former Chairman of the Medicine Control Council of South Africa said:

Dr Makgoba has made an outstanding contribution to South African medical science, holding up and enhancing the fine reputation of science in the country and in the international community, and encouraging and supporting young scientists.

Under Dr Makgoba's guidance the MRC became a considerably larger and more efficient institution, and he has ensured the relevance for South Africa of many of the research programmes supported and fostered by the MRC within the institution itself and in the academic institutions of the country. He has provided an authoritative and respected presence for the MRC at innumerable international science forums where he is widely respected. Malegapuru has insisted with conviction on the highest ethical standards in the conduct of medical research, and he has exercised a major influence in the transformation of the South African science landscape. The MRC budget grew three-fold under his direction, and the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative is an original and model example for public­ private partnerships in the conduct of vitally needed basic and applied research.

It was with courage and integrity that Makgoba stood up against the pressures applied to him by calling for an end to the silly political support given to Virodene and to unscientific and damaging (to the public health) ideas about the non-infectious causes of HIV/AIDS. Had he not done so, South Africa's standing in the international scientific community would have been brought to ridicule. Dr Makgoba's clarity and forthrightness in dealing with these and other issues have served the country faithfully, and done much to guard the fine reputation of South African science and medicine”.

  The words of Prof Sir Andrew Michael as quoted in an article by Jon Cohen published in Science in June 2000 sums up Malegapuru Makgoba’s mission:  Commenting on Makgoba’s fellowship at Oxford University 1981 he said:

  “ Overall he was one of the most broadly able and interesting students I have seen. He’s a good scientist, but with a mission to do something special for his people”.

  Prof. Alan Rickinson FRS (CRC Professor of Cancer Studies at Birmingham University) wrote to the Dean of the RPMS in 1989: 
"Dr Makgoba is a Medical Scientist of high international reputation".

  Sir Raymond Hoffenberg FRCP, PRCP (former President of Wolfson College Oxford and the Royal College of Physicians (Lond), Emeritus Prof of Medicine, Birmingham University), Jan 1987:
  a. "It is his research that is unquestionably outstanding. He has emerged as one of the best of the younger Investigators in this country (UK), which is absolutely remarkable when one considers the difficulties he must have encountered in his early training".
  b. in an interview (SAMJ, March 1996) recounting his years at the helm of the Medical profession he said: "He is one of the best five students I have had”.

  Dr S Shaw (Senior Investigator at the NIH, NCI, Experimental Immunology Branch) in 1987:
  "His excitement about the scientific process has been contagious for everyone in the laboratory, his ideas have been influential in shaping the projects evolving within the laboratory and his experimental results have been important in our ongoing studies of the role of antigen-independent adhesion in human T cell recognition".

  Prof. AJ McMichael (FRS), MRC Prof. of Immunology at Oxford (Jan1986) now Sir Andrew:
  "He showed himself to be a very intelligent and able scientist. He impressed me with his quest for knowledge and thinking approach to the subject. He has continued to stay in close contact since he left my laboratory and always has interesting and original ideas to discuss. He obtained one of the first HLA DQ     beta sequences (part of a human histocompatibility gene) but this was only published in his thesis because it was not full-length. He introduced the DNA cloning technology into my laboratory".

  Prof. D.R. London FRCP, then Honorary Professor of Medicine and Consultant Physician wrote as follows in July 1985:

"It gives me great pleasure to write in support of Dr. William Makgoba who is one of the most intelligent people I have had working with me. He has a very original mind and applies himself enthusiastically to his work. In addition to having him spearhead a new research project, I had him work clinically with me for the past year as part of our training scheme in endocrinology. Again I can tell you that he was very conscientious and indeed has frequently offered his services over and above the calls of routine duties. Also clinically, he is knowledgeable and original as in research matters".

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