Percept | May 2021
Tania was an academic who operated at the interface of technology and health. As a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Cape Town, she cultivated an open research climate that appreciates the contextual specificities impacting on the successful, responsible and inclusive deployment of technology in Africa. This was aided by her interdisciplinary training and research experiences in electrical and electronic engineering, biomedical engineering, and management, received at institutions in South Africa, the USA, the UK, Japan and Germany. Her enjoyment of travel was accompanied by a desire to learn different languages (which does not necessarily translate into an ability to speak them).
Earlier this year, Tania Douglas, passed away after a long serious-cancer journey. The rest of our board has paid tribute to Tania as part of our grieving process as we mourn the loss of her wise counsel, her intellect and her deep humanity.
“Tania. Your lively eyes in our Board sessions showed the intellect behind your sweet smile. What a humble, powerful model you made for women, for me. You with the string of accomplishments, you raised your points with such respect, always allowing the possibility that your logic be faulty. You didn’t want to take up too much airspace, but we will miss miss miss you, and will always wish you could take up more. You were always so wise! Percept is stronger for your counsel. We honour you, our departed one with the enduring heart.” Ursula Torr
“We knew Tania for all too short a time, only a few years, but in that short space she left a mark on all of our hearts. Tania was one of our original non-executive directors, who brought to the boardroom table not only the benefits of her intellect and expertise in the health system and health tech innovation, but also the full value of her open heart and deep humanity. Percept is a healthier, more vital organisation thanks to her involvement, and we are all better humans for having known her. Our first Board meeting without Tania is coming up in just a couple of weeks’ time, and I know how much we are going to miss her and feel the absence of her warmth and wisdom.” Dave Strugnell
“In the short time that I worked alongside Tania what I appreciated most was her humility, openness and unique perspective. She carried herself with such grace, dignity and a quiet confidence that belied her years of experience, intellect, wisdom and a wonderful ability to ask just the right question. A role model for us all. It was a privilege to serve alongside her on the board and on a mission she was so committed to and passionate about. She will be missed.” Machela Sathekga
“I feel the loss of Tania on so many levels. Personally, because I admired her quiet wisdom and humility. For Percept, because we thrived with her as a guardian of our values and someone who really understood us. For Alignd, because she was such a strong advocate of our mission to support people on their serious cancer journeys – but never made it about her own suffering. And politically, because the South African academy and sciences desperately need powerful women of colour in their ranks, especially ones with heart and soul.” Shivani Ranchod
“When I think about Tania, I think about her smile and her humility and the grace with which she carried herself, despite her own health challenges. It almost made me forget at times that she was not well. She never complained and, up to the very last, was dedicated, committed and carried her tasks as a Percept board member to her best abilities. She graced us with her presence to the very last. I was sad to hear of her passing. Words fail me. I am personally honoured to have known and worked with her on the Board.” Lele Mehlomakulu