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The Story Of Christian Barnard And Hamilton Naki
Cristina Karrer, Werner Schweizer
Christian Barnard from Capetown didn't write the great success-story of the first heart transplantation in 1967 alone. Hamilton Naki, a black man, was equally part of the sensational operation. HIDDEN HEART tells the story of two men, glamour, injustice and uprising.
In the photographs showing the team following the heart transplant, the faces in the picture are all white. No mention is made of the black employees, who conducted the earlier experiments on dog hearts in the animal research lab. Experiments which were of essential importance to the eventual success of the human transplant. While they were not present in the operating theatre, it was their work that laid the foundations for the transplant. One of them was Hamilton Naki.
Up until the end of Apartheid 1994, Barnard was able to bask in the glory alone. Yet in the new democratic South Africa, the traumatic past was reopened from various sides and prominent events and achievements came under renewed scrutiny. Suddenly the name Hamilton Naki popped up in connection with the operation. National and international media latched onto the story of Naki, who fit the bill perfectly as an example of an unsung hero. Naki, moreover, gave us an entirely new version of the historic transplant operation. He claimed to have been present in the operating theatre. Barnard had allowed this, Naki explained, under the condition that he not tell a soul. Like Barnard, Naki suddenly found himself besieged by journalists, accompanied by glory and fame that likewise came out of the blue. In recognition of this contribution and for his role leading up to the first heart transplant, the University of Cape Town conferred an honorary degree on Naki, the first time in its history it had ever done so for someone without an academic background. Thabo Mbeki awarded him the most important national order.
HIDDEN HEART will combine their career paths in the respective political context. The goal is not to assert that Naki could have been a Barnard were it not for Apartheid. Yet the goal is to work out undeniable parallels in the character of the two men, to show the possibilities for professional development within the political system and the way they each dealt with it and what they made of it. And finally, the film will attempt to show how history can be rewritten when a system seemingly cemented in place for eternity, falls apart.
The story of the two men not only recounts the heart transplant in a new light but also shows how determination and discipline – characteristics possessed by both men – can move mountains. The mountain moved by Barnard went down in the history books but this does not make Naki’s achievements any less – when recounted in the political context of the time. «Heart of Gold» knows no taboos, neither in its treatment of Naki nor of Barnard. The two are to be examined critically yet fairly through a multifaceted kaleidoscope of testimonials from carefully chosen witnesses from the period.
Born in Zurich. 1980-89 Studies geography and social history at the University of Zurich. Foreign correspondent for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. 1991 Wins Zurich’s journalist award for NZZ reports. Independent correspondent in Africa for Swiss television, based in Johannesburg.
2011 DRAMA AM GAULIGLETSCHER
2008 HIDDEN HEARTS - THE STORY OF CHRISTIAN BARNARD AND HAMILTON NAKI
2006 WÄLDER DER HOFFNUNG, KENOA
2005 SCHWEIZ IN BUKAVU
2005 AFRIKA IN DER SCHWEIZ
2002 SCHWEIZER BAUERN IN ZIMBABWE
1999 IN DER STILLE GOTTES: DIE ALTGLÄUBIGEN IN SIBIRIEN
1997 WASSER IN JEMEN
1995 SER CA VAN , 4 KURSCHE FRAUEN
Werner Swiss Schweizer
Born in 1955 in Kriens. Studied sociology, publicist and European folk literature at the University of Zurich. Screenwriter and producer of films and wine. Since 1982 independent journalist and author. 1976 Co-founder of the Genossenschaft Videoladen. 1987 Co-founder of Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion. 1989-90 Completed the European Producers’ Workshop (EAVE).
2013 VERLIEBTE FEINDE
2008 HIDDEN HEART - THE STORY OF CHRISTIAN BARNARD AND HAMILTON NAKI
2004 HÖLLENTOUR (Ko-Autor)
2003 ENGIADINA - ENGADIN IM HERBST
2003 FILMLANDSCHAFT (Buch)
2002 VON WERRA
1997 NOEL FIELD - DER ERFUNDENE SPION (VOD D, VOD E, VOD F)
1989 DYNAMIT AM SIMPLON
1986 GÜNZ, MINDEL, RISS & WÜRM
1980 ZÜRI BRÄNNT
- HIDDEN HEART von Cristina Karrer, Werner Schweizer am 17.11. auf SF1 2010-11-17
- HIDDEN HEART von Cristina Karrer und Werner Schweizer am 10. Juli auf SF1 2009-07-10
- art-tv: HIDDEN HEART 2008-05-17
- Selected Films at the Solothurn Film Festival Thursday January 24th 2008-01-24
- Selected Films at the Solothurn Film Festival Tuesday January 22nd 2008-01-22
- Website HIDDEN HEART
- Dschoint Ventschr: HIDDEN HEART
- NZZ Solothurn Zwischenbericht
- art-tv HIDDEN HEART
- Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktionen
- SWISS FILMS: HIDDEN HEART
Jul 14th 2005
From The Economist print edition
How an inspiring life became distorted by politics
ON JUNE 11th this year, The Economist published an obituary of Hamilton Naki, a black medical researcher at the University of Cape Town. In that obituary, we described Mr Naki assisting in the first human heart transplant by removing the heart from the donor, Denise Darvall. Our account was drawn directly from Mr Naki's own words in interviews.
We have since been assured by surgeons at Groote Schuur, the hospital where the transplant was performed, that Mr Naki was nowhere near the operating theatre. As a black, and as a person with no formal medical qualifications, he was not allowed to be. The surgeons who removed the donor's heart were Marius Barnard, Christiaan Barnard's brother, and Terry O'Donovan. A source close to Mr Naki once asked him where he was when he first heard about the transplant. He replied that he had heard of it on the radio. Later, he apparently changed his story.
He changed it, it seems, not simply because of the confusion of old age, but because of pressure from those around him. Mr Naki was already a hero, as a man of scant education who had trained himself to carry out extremely difficult transplants on animals. He was also a martyr to apartheid: a man debarred from the proper exercise of his skills, and even from fair pay, by an iniquitous regime. (Christiaan Barnard admitted that, “given the opportunity”, Mr Naki would have been “a better surgeon than me”.) For both reasons, his role was gradually embellished in post-apartheid, black-ruled South Africa. By the end, he himself came to believe it.
The process was assisted by hints from Barnard that Mr Naki had helped him in ways that were not fully known, and by the fact that, under apartheid, any such help on white human subjects would have had to be secret anyway. In the end, a story took shape that looked so plausible to the outside world that not only ourselves, but the Lancet, the British Medical Journal and many others accepted it. Yet the same story appeared so ridiculous to the University of Cape Town, staff say, that they did not trouble to deny it.
To report this misapprehension is doubly sad, apart from our own regret at being caught up in it. It is sad that the shadow of apartheid is still so long in South Africa that blacks and whites can tell the same narrative in quite different ways, each suspecting the motives of the other. And it is especially tragic that it should have involved Mr Naki, a man considered “wonderful” by both sides, black and white, and whose life should still be seen as an inspiration.
Keywords: Truth about Hamilton Naki
Nightjar 2009-06-03 Tweet
Bitte dringend um Info , wenn dieser Film auf DVD erhältlich ist.
Frdl. Grüße aus Franken
Keywords: Hidden Heart
Anne Walter 2009-02-09 Tweet
Price: 38.00 CHF
Not in stock
CH 2008 95'
Director: Cristina Karrer, Werner Schweizer
Script: Cristina Karrer, Werner Schweizer
Camera: Michael Hammon
Sound: Jow Dlamini
Editing: Patricia Wagner
Production: Dschoint Ventschr