Sunday Times

Yas­min Mayat Co-owner of Mayat Hart Ar­chi­tects

- Viral

It was al­ways “Dr Is­mail Mayat’s daugh­ter”, never “Yas­min”. That’s how Yas­min Mayat was known grow­ing up in Fords­burg, Jo­han­nes­burg. She knew even as a child that she shared her father with his pa­tients. She ex­pected him to come home late from house calls. Pa­tients didn’t make ap­point­ments, they just ar­rived.

She knew that treat­ing a ch­est in­fec­tion or clean­ing a wound was just one part of why pa­tients were in his room — they came also to seek his ad­vice, to sound out their plans.

When, af­ter 40 years, Mayat closed his prac­tice in the 2000s, Yas­min asked for the eye-test chart that had hung in his room for as long as she could re­call.

“Those days GPs did ev­ery­thing. My father cer­tainly did ev­ery­thing and he tested peo­ple’s eye­sight too,” says Yas­min of her dad, who died this win­ter at the age of 78.

Browned and stained with age and use, the eye chart is a metaphor for how their father urged her and her brothers to see things, to look deeper.

She hears his words of­ten in her head: “Some things you just can’t fix” or “A lit­tle knowl­edge is a dan­ger­ous thing”. He’s con­jured up in the ran­dom let­ters of de­scend­ing size on the chart that now hangs in her lounge.

The eye chart is framed and fixed to a wall — she’s never lost sight of it.

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