Famous South African Physicians

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 1 
Christiaan Barnard
(Cardiac Surgeon)
Christiaan Barnard
5
Birthdate: November 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Beaufort West, South Africa
Died: September 2, 2001
Born to a preacher father of modest means, Christiaan Barnard completed his medical school on scholarships. In December 1967, he revolutionized medical science by performing the first human heart transplant by transplanting 25-year-old accident victim Denise Darvall’s heart into 53-year-old chronic heart patient grocer Louis Washkansky.
 2 
Wouter Basson
(Cardiologist)
Wouter Basson
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: South Africa

Better known as Dr. Death in popular media, South African cardiologist Wouter Basson is infamous for being involved in the apartheid-era Project Coast, a chemical and biological weapons program targeted toward the Blacks. It is believed he continues to practice medicine for Mediclinic near Cape Town.

 3 
Hamilton Naki
(South African Surgeon and Laboratory Assistant to Cardiac Surgeon Christiaan Barnard)
Hamilton Naki
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Idutywa, South Africa
Died: May 29, 2005

Hamilton Naki was a laboratory assistant who worked alongside cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard in South Africa.  Despite not having a formal medical education, he was known for his dexterity with surgical equipment and his ability to teach medical students. Some sources claim he participated in the world's first human-to-human heart transplantation in 1967. 

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 4 
Joseph Wolpe
(Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist, Psychologist, University teacher)
Joseph Wolpe
2
Birthdate: April 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Johannesburg
Died: December 4, 1997

South African psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe, a leading figure in behaviour therapy, is noted for his reciprocal inhibition methods, especially for developing systematic desensitization. He also developed Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale and created Fear Survey Plan and Subjective Anxiety Scale. He was ranked as the 53rd most-cited psychologist of the twentieth-century in a 2002 survey of Review of General Psychology.

 5 
Max Theiler
(Virologist)
Max Theiler
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa
Died: August 11, 1972

Max Theiler was a South African-American virologist and physician. After getting his medical degree in South Africa, he went on to earn a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene in London. During his career, he developed a vaccine against yellow fever, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951. 

 6 
Lungile Pepeta
(Cardiologist, Academic)
Lungile Pepeta
1
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: South African
Died: August 7, 2020

South African pediatric cardiologist and professor Lungile Pepeta is remembered for his life-long struggle to improve his country’s medical facilities and to create a medical school for doctors from rural areas. Part of the advisory committee of the government’s COVID-19 taskforce, he himself died of the virus later.

 7 
Priscilla Kincaid-Smith
(Physician, Researcher)
Priscilla Kincaid-Smith
0
Birthdate: November 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: July 18, 2015
 8 
Basil Hirschowitz
(Gastroenterologist)
Basil Hirschowitz
2
Birthdate: May 29, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bethal, South Africa
Died: January 19, 2013