Oprah wishes she’d been born in South Africa?
Via Betsy’s Page
“I’m crazy about the South African accent,” she said. “I wish I had been born here.”
Oprah should have her very rich head examined. As Betsy points out,
Oprah was born in 1954. The apartheid laws began in 1948 and continued through to the 1990s. Does Oprah really wish that she had spent the first 40 years of her life under apartheid talking with a cool South African accent instead of building a career that now has her on Discovery Channel’s stupid list of 100 most important Americans?
Take a look at The Economist’s obituary of Hamilton Naki, an unrecognised surgical pioneer. He’s the guy that did the heart removal for Christian Barnard’s first heart transplant:
Nobody, indeed, knew. On that December day, in one part of the operating suite, Barnard in a blaze of publicity prepared Louis Washkansky, the world’s first recipient of a transplanted human heart. Fifteen metres away, behind a glass panel, Mr Naki’s skilled black hands plucked the white heart from the white corpse and, for hours, hosed every trace of blood from it, replacing it with Washkansky’s. The heart, set pumping again with electrodes, was passed to the other side of the screen, and Mr Barnard became, overnight, the most celebrated doctor in the world.
In some of the post-operation photographs Mr Naki inadvertently appeared, smiling broadly in his white coat, at Barnard’s side. He was a cleaner, the hospital explained, or a gardener. Hospital records listed him that way, though his pay, a few hundred dollars a month, was actually that of a senior lab technician. It was the most they could give, officials later explained, to someone who had no diploma.
There had never been any question of diplomas.
. . .
Unsung, though not unappreciated, Mr Naki continued to work at the Medical School until 1991. When he retired, he drew a gardener’s pension: 760 rand, or about $275, a month. He exploited his medical contacts to raise funds for a rural school and a mobile clinic in the Eastern Cape, but never thought of money for himself. As a result, he could pay for only one of his five children to stay to the end of high school. Recognition, with the National Order of Mapungubwe and an honorary degree in medicine from the University of Cape Town, came only a few years before his death, and long after South Africa’s return to black rule.
Contrast that with the the biography of Vivien T. Thomas, L.L.D. at the Johns Hopkins website. While Thomas’s career started under circumstances similar to those of Hamilton Naki’s,
In January 1930, Vivien Thomas, a young African-American who was forced for lack of funds to leave his first year of college, came to work for Blalock in his laboratory. At that point Blalock’s increasing obligations were cutting into the time he could spend in the laboratory and he needed a surgical assistant. A more fortunate choice could not have been made. Vivien Thomas learned to perform the surgical operations and chemical determinations needed for their experiments, to calculate the results, and to keep precise records; he remained an invaluable associate throughout Blalock’s career.
Thomas was recognized and promoted,
Thomas supervised the surgical laboratories at Hopkins for over 35 years, and in 1976 he was appointed instructor in surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1979, upon his retirement, he became instructor emeritus of surgery. Vivien Thomas’s achievements were widely recognized by his colleagues. In 1976, he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Laws, by the Johns Hopkins University/
Maybe Oprah should start reading The Economist between breaks from posing for covers for her vanity magazine.