Latest recipients of prestigious Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship announced

Honouring the memory of a remarkable black medical pioneer denied recognition under apartheid

Friday, December 2 2016

The latest two recipients of the prestigious Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship, named in honour of the man who assisted in the experimental work that preceded the first human heart transplant, were announced at a gala dinner held on 1 December. 

"Pictured: (From left to right) Professor Bongani Mayosi, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Cape Town (UCT); Dr Marshall Heradien, a cardiologist and specialist physician at Stellenbosch University who is one of the recipients of this year’s Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship; and Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare; pictured at the awards function."

“We are delighted to award the 2016 Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship to Dr Marshall Heradien, a cardiologist and specialist physician at Stellenbosch University who has registered for his PhD, and Dr Shrish Budree, a paediatric gastroenterologist currently studying at Harvard University,” said Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare. 

This brings to 13 the total number of scholarships awarded to date. The scholarship is named in honour of Hamilton Naki, whom Professor Christiaan Barnard recognised as a man of extraordinary natural surgical ability but due to the policies of apartheid he was denied any formal medical training, despite the remarkable aptitude he displayed.

“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,” Dr Friedland explains.

“In this way, we honour the legacy of Hamilton Naki and numerous other South Africans who were denied the chance to fulfil their potential in the field of medicine during apartheid and ensure the continued progress of medicine in our country.”

The scholarship was the brainchild of the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Cape Town (UCT), Professor Bongani Mayosi, who was concerned about a shortage of qualified academic doctors in leadership roles at South African medical schools and who envisaged that, through this initiative, suitably qualified South African candidates would be given the opportunity to build academic excellence in all fields of medicine.

In 2007, Professor Mayosi’s vision became a reality with the launch of the Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship under the auspices of the Physician Partnerships Trust, which forms part of Netcare’s Health Partners for Life programme.

Past recipients of the Hamilton Naki Scholarship

Dr Carol Hlela
The first recipient, dermatologist, Dr Carol Hlela, graduated with a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2010, and has since completed her third year of study towards a DPhil in Cutaneous Immunology at Green College, University of Oxford. Dr Hlela, who has tenure at UCT as Head of Paediatric Dermatology at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, has been published 12 times and achieved a Y2 rating with the National Research Foundation in 2014.

Dr Bonginkosi Chiliza
Psychiatrist, Dr Bonginkosi Chiliza, also received the scholarship in 2007 and took up a full-time academic post at Stellenbosch University after his one-year scholarship, and graduated with a PhD in 2014. Dr Chiliza has had 36 publications since he was awarded the scholarship, and has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University.

Dr Mushi Matjila
The 2009 scholarship recipient, Dr Mushi Matjila from UCT, elected to study further in the highly specialised field of placental biology. Dr Matjila’s submitted his doctoral thesis "The role of kisspeptin and its cognate receptor GPR-54 in normal and abnormal placentation” in November 2014, and graduated in June 2015. To date, Dr Matjila’s has been published nine times, registered one patent and secured tenure at the university.

Dr Deliwe Ngwezi
The 2010 recipient, Dr Deliwe Ngwezi, is a paediatric cardiologist who studied the environmental causes of congenital heart disease. She officially passed her PhD candidacy exam in April 2015 at the University of Alberta in Canada, and has had one publication and one high impact abstract published since the award.

Dr Rudzani Muloiwa
Paediatrician, Dr Rudzani Muloiwa, to whom the scholarship was awarded in 2011, is researching the causes of whooping cough in children. Dr Muloiwa will complete his doctorate through UCT next year. Since being awarded the scholarship, Dr Muloiwa has been published 16 times.

Dr Liesl Zuhlke
The 2012 recipient, paediatric cardiologist, Dr Liesl Zuhlke, studied rheumatic heart disease and completed her PhD in 2015. She has been published 37 times since receiving the scholarship. Dr Zuhlke has accepted a post-doctoral post at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, where she commenced her duties in October 2016.

Dr Itumeleng Taunyane
The 2013 recipient, Dr Itumeleng Taunyane, is a cardiothoracic surgeon who has been researching the effects of heart surgery on the brain function of pigs. Dr Taunyane is currently based in Germany, where he is in his second year of PhD study at the University of Freiburg. He has been offered a two year operating surgical training position in Germany, after which he is expected to take up a post at a South African institution.

Dr Ismail Cassimjee
Vascular surgeon, Dr Ismail Cassimjee, was the 2014 recipient of the Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship. He is currently studying towards his PhD as an academic surgeon at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Dr Simnikwe Mayaphi
Virologist, Dr Simnikwe Mayaphi, was one of two scholarship recipients in 2015. His area of study is the detection and characterisation of acute and early HIV-1 infections in an HIV hyper-endemic area. He is based at the University of Pretoria.

Dr Llewellyn Padayachy
Neurosurgeon, Dr Llewellyn Padayachy, was also awarded the scholarship in 2015. Dr Padayachy is currently at Oxford University where he is studying the use of magnetic resonance imaging, rather than ultrasound, to study the problem of measurement of raised pressure in the brain. The programme has a finite period of one year.

Dr Friedland thanked the members of the Physician Partnerships Trust’s selection committee, representing the medical schools, for their assistance in identifying candidates of high academic calibre who are eligible for the scholarship. “Through matching the ideal academic candidates to the funding provided in terms of the Hamilton Naki Clinical Scholarship, the calibre of South African medical training, innovation and excellence is advancing to new heights. As these promising young specialists continue to expand knowledge in their particular fields, South African medical expertise is nurtured and developed,” he observes.

“As the latest recipients, Dr Heradien and Dr Budree, take up this torch we are certain that they and future recipients of this scholarship will apply their knowledge with distinction and continue to develop their chosen fields of study. We appeal to them to share their knowledge with others, as Hamilton Naki did by training surgeons from around the world in his capacity as a laboratory demonstrator.

“We congratulate the past and present scholars on their achievements and are watching their progress with keen interest, as their work contributes to the advancement of healthcare, both in South Africa and internationally.

“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 to facilitate the growth and nurturing of clinical advancement to levels we probably cannot yet conceive of,” concluded Dr Friedland.


Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:                   mar[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]