Vertaald uit het Frans – Freddy Storm 02/2011

Hamilton Naki, a black South-African 78 years of age died in May 2005. The news did not apear in the newspapers, but his story is one of the most extraordinary of the 20th centruy. NAKI WAS A GREAT SURGEON!

He is the one who in 1967 removed the heart of a female donor, the heart that subsequently was transplanted, into the body of Louis Washkanky, during the first successful heart transplant operation on a human in Capetown.

It was a very delicate procedure: the heart had to be removed with the greatest of care and then stored.

NAKI was the second most important man in the team that performed the first hearttransplant in history. But he was not allowed to be shown anywhare, because he was a BLACK man in country where apartheid

The head surgeon of the team, the white man, Dr. Christian Barnard, was soon world famous.

But Hamilton Naki was not allowed to be seen on the photographs of the team. When he was accidentally shown on a photo, the hospital staff explained that he was a member of the cleaning team.

Naki wore the headcover and the mask, but he had never studied medicine or surgery. He left school at the age of 14. He was gardener at the School of Medicine in Capetown.

He started with cleaning the classrooms, but he was inquisitive and learned very quickly. He learned the surgical technique by observing the white doctors who performed transplants on dogs and pigs.

He became an extraordinary surgeon to the extend that Dr. Barnard wanted him on his team.

This was a problem because of the South African laws which prohibited a nigger from operating on white patients or touch their blood. .

However the hospital found him so proficient that they created an exception for him. They made him a surgeon... But he remained a clandestine surgeon.

But he was not interested in this. He continued studying and gave the best of himself, void of all racial discrimination.

He was the best. He lectured white students, but received the salary of a laboratory assistant, the maximum a hospital was allowed to pay a nigger.

He lived in a hut without electricity or water, in a ghetto at the peripheral, as becoming a negro.

Hamilton Naki lectured surgery during 40 years and went on a pension as a gardener , with a pension of 275 dollars per month.

When apartheid came to an end he received a decoration and the title of Honerary Doctor. “doctor honoris causa”.

Christian Barnard

Hamilton Naki

Nobody ever pointed out the injustice he endured during the whole of his life.

Despite the clandestine title and the race discrimination he continued to give the best of himself because of the love to help others through life.

Dr. Naki, THANK YOU for all you have done for humanity before your own interests.

Send this on, so that many people get to know who Hamilton Naki was: a splendid surgeon and an extraordinairy human being.

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