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South African Journal of Surgery

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5151
versão impressa ISSN 0038-2361

S. Afr. j. surg. vol.55 no.4 Cape Town Nov. 2017

 

OBITUARY

 

Dr Johan Janeke

 

 

 

Dr Johan Benjamin Janeke, an esteemed ENT surgeon, died last September. He was 78.

Dr Janeke succumbed to multilobar pneumonia after a valiant forty-day struggle. He was the first South African ENT surgeon to perform a cochlear implant.

After attaining his MBChB at Tukkies in 1963, he completed a PhD in otolaryngology at the University of Amsterdam six years later. He completed his training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where he received the prestigious Ben Schuster award for outstanding research in nasal reconstruction. At one time he treated Elvis Presley there. In 1975, he commenced private practice in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dr Janeke's life was bejewelled with encounters with famous people. He met Bob Hope and was for three years an anatomy demonstrator under Prof Phillip Tobias at Wits Medical School. But most precious to him was a meeting with Nelson Mandela.

Dr Janeke was passionate in his profession, connecting with patients and their families in a special way. Although learned and gifted with wisdom, he was a humble man who made it his mission to treat those at ground level with the same level of care, dignity and respect as the rich and famous. In recognition he was bestowed with the prestigious Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award and medal for his contribution to medicine and the people of South Africa.

Alongside his private practice career, Dr Janeke was a passionate scholar, an academic and author. He wrote and published several books in the field of otolaryngology, including ENT Out of Africa which was later translated into French and used for medical training in North Africa. The English version was used at Wits Medical School. Dr Janeke wrote articles for several medical journals. He served on the editorial board of Modern Medicine.

He was innovative and sought new, cost effective ways to help the hearing impaired. He developed the ABC Implant as an affordable alternative to the costly cochlear implant.

When no longer able to practice, Dr Janeke turned his hand to painting. He soon developed an easy style which he used to capture his fascination with nature, particularly trees.

Dr Janeke was unapologetically Christian and those values showed through in his personal life as well as in his practice. He leaves his wife Margaret, six children and six grandchildren.

Mike van Dyk

Managing Editor - Hospitals; Modern Medicine

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