PODCAST: The heart problem

The first-ever heart transplant in the world was performed in South Africa in 1967. It was an international triumph, and the surgeon in charge, Dr. Christiaan Barnard became an over night celebrity. But did Barnard deserve all the credit?

This Sound Africa podcast investigates the persistent rumour that a black man named Hamilton Naki played a much bigger role in the surgery than he has been given credit for. Some even claim that Naki personally performed the operation and it was kept secret because of apartheid’s discriminatory laws. 

What is the truth, and why does it matter?

The story of Hamilton Naki is a re-broadcast of our episode “The Heart Problem”. It was first released in December 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the first ever heart transplant.

Sound Africa is supported by the Open Society Foundation’s Project for Independent Journalism and Hindenburg Systems. Every two weeks another episode will be released here and on Soundafrica.org. For more, follow Sound Africa on Facebook, Twitter or listen to all our documentaries on iTunes, Soundcloud or our website. You can also subscribe to the newsletter.


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Rasmus Bitsch
Guest Author
Sound Africa
Guest Author

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