Fond farewell to Medical School’s ‘Dr Gan’
'Thank you for allowing your father to be our father,’ UKZN Medical School SRC President, Mr Gift Malinga, told the bereaved family of Dr Gan Govender.
Speaking at the memorial service for Govender, Malinga said: ‘Dr Gan, as we affectionately called him had a patriotic commitment. He was a people’s person who raised progressive arguments and taught us to be independent thinkers.
‘He exercised his duties with diligence believing it was important to train people rather than trick them. He improved lives, African lives in particular – Dr Gan is an irreplaceable figure.’
Said Dr Margaret Mathews: ‘Dr Govender served the Medical profession and the community with great dignity for close to four decades in the fields of general practice, HIV medicine, medical education, family medicine and clinical skills, always making his contribution in a quiet and unassuming way.’
Matthews said Govender was one of the longest serving doctors in the teaching of clinical skills, which he did diligently, always keen to impart his knowledge and experience to young doctors in training.
‘He was as a friend to all. As a doctor, he helped staff and students at the Medical School with advice on medical matters. The students also turned to him for help with their learning and he gave this assistance willingly and unstintingly, even coming in for teaching or revision on weekends and holidays where necessary.
‘His knowledge and kind nature made many turn to him and he would respond positively and with an open heart,’ said Matthews.
‘Dr Gan was always a very humble man who made a difference in my working environment,’ said Dr Reina Abraham. ‘He motivated me to complete my masters in one year - he will be missed by many.’
‘The spirit of Gan lives on,’ said Professor Ahmed Simjee. ‘He was a terrific friend. He always stepped in to help. He was a great uncle to the students,’ he added.
Third-year student Ms Gugu Ngubane sang the song ‘When Jesus is in control’ as a tribute to Govender. She said she sang to assure Govender’s family and the entire student body that their favourite uncle and teacher was in a better place.
Govender is survived by his wife Rada, and their three sons, one of whom graduated in Medicine through UKZN.