Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has paid tribute to Professor Errol Tyobeka, the first black candidate in South Africa to obtain an MSc and PhD in Biochemistry.
Tyobeka, who passed away on Thursday, 7 June, was born in 1953. His extensive experience in research, academia and the public sector made him a valued member of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Board, which he served on from 2011.
Tyobeka distinguished himself in many fields, having received a number of prestigious scholarships from institutions such as the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the SA Institute of Race Relations and the Medical Research Council. He was awarded research grants from many organisations, including the National Cancer Association.
His work earned him various local and international awards and fellowships. He authored or co-authored 26 articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as five book chapters.
He served on the executive of several South African universities, including as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Tshwane University of Technology from 2005 to 2010.
“His passing has left a vacuum in the sciences but the knowledge he passed on as a lecturer and advisor will live on. His contribution to science speaks for itself,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
The NRF will hold a memorial service for Tyobeka at the Chief Albert Luthuli Auditorium in the NRF Building at the South Gate of the CSIR (Scientia) Campus, Brummeria, Pretoria, on Wednesday.