Netcare, which owns the new Christiaan Barnard Hospital, has proposed changing the name of the square at the hospital from Salazar Plain to that of an unsung medical hero, Hamilton Naki, who worked with the heart surgeon. The name was proposed by Netcare CEO, Dr Richard Friedland.
The City’s Naming and Nomination Committee has recommended to Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, that it undertake a public participation process for the renaming. The proposal has been supported by the Naki family from Langa.
“The purpose of the public participation process is to request that residents and interested and affected parties provide their comments and views about the proposed name change,” says the committee’s chairperson Brett Herron.
“This will be an important indicator of public support for or objections to the proposal. The naming of suburbs, public spaces (such as Salazar Plain), bridges and roads are pivotal in building a shared community across different cultural, social and economic groups. We want to create a city where residents feel acknowledged, heard and valued,” said Herron.
The late Hamilton Naki was present when Dr Barnard successfully performed a heart transplant and also contributed to the development and medical training of future surgeons.
In 2007 Netcare honoured him by establishing a Hamilton Naki clinical scholarship, which was made available to black students who wanted to pursue careers in medicine but didn’t have the funds. Netcare has helped fund 13 black students so far.
“This scholarship initiative, in which Netcare has joined hands with all of the medical schools of our South African universities, creates opportunities for deserving South African medical practitioners to further their studies and research in their respective fields of specialisation, before returning to South Africa to continue to contribute towards the advancement of South African academic medicine,” says Dr Friedland.
“We can never undo the injustices of the past that denied Hamilton Naki and other promising individuals their rightful place in the medical fraternity. However, in honouring their legacy we can continue to invest in today’s talent.”