Yasmin Mayat Co-owner of Mayat Hart Architects
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.