The City of Cape Town has commenced with a public participation process for the proposed renaming of Salazar Plain on the foreshore after the late Dr Hamilton Naki, the laboratory assistant to cardiac surgeon Dr Christiaan Barnard. Read more below:
Salazar Plain is located between Rua Vasco da Gama and Rua Bartholomeu Dias, opposite the newly constructed Christiaan Barnard Hospital. The public participation process for the renaming of this plain commenced yesterday, 1 February 2017. The public and interested and affected parties must submit their comments by 2 March 2017.
‘The naming of suburbs, public spaces, bridges and roads is pivotal in building an inclusive city where our location and other markers reflect the full spectrum of our rich history and diversity. This did not happen during the apartheid era and our naming and renaming policy and programme seeks to address that. Celebrating our local heroes is part of this very important process. We want to create a city where residents feel acknowledged, heard and valued. I thus urge residents to please share their views about this proposed renaming with us,’ said the Chairperson of the City’s Naming and Nominations Committee, Councillor Brett Herron.
Feedback, proposals and motivations can be submitted as follows:
- Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post written comment to the Manager: Public Participation Unit, City of Cape Town, P.O. Box 298, Cape Town, 8000
- Send an SMS to 31046
‘Hamilton Naki was a healthcare scientist from Langa who was denied the opportunity for formal medical training due to the discriminatory policies of the then apartheid government. Naki assisted Dr Christiaan Barnard in his preparations to perform the world’s first successful heart transplant in the Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967. Naki’s involvement in the preparations for this procedure received very little, if any, acknowledgement at the time. This year, 2017, marks the 50th anniversary of this historic moment, offering us the ideal opportunity to celebrate and honour the contribution that Naki made,’ said Councillor Herron.
The proposal for the renaming of Salazar Plain was submitted by Netcare Limited, owners of the new hospital, and is supported by Naki’s family who reside in Khayelitsha.
‘Naki was born to a poor family in the Transkei. He received education until the age of 14 and moved to Langa in Cape Town. Naki was a gardener at the Medical Facility when he was selected to work in the clinical laboratories. Despite his lack of formal medical education, Naki’s technique and surgical skills convinced the superiors to allow him special permission to conduct research in the laboratories. Naki enlisted as Barnard’s assistant upon the latter’s return from the United States and contributed to the development of transplant techniques. He was eventually allowed to operate and gave lectures to medical professors, training over 3 000 future surgeons until his retirement in 1991 on a gardener’s pension. Barnard once admitted to documentarian Dirk de Villiers that had Naki been given the chance, he could have been the surgeon to do the world’s first heart transplant,’ said Councillor Herron.
Naki received the National Order of Maphungubwe and an honorary degree in medicine after his retirement. He passed away on 29 May 2005, aged 78.
‘The proposal conforms with the City’s Naming Policy. The City’s Public Participation Unit will compile a report once the process has been concluded. The report will serve before the Naming and Nominations Committee who will make a recommendation to the Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, and Council for final approval,’ said Councillor Herron.