17 Things You Didn’t Know Were Invented By South Africans

Written by Keren Mikva

The first heart transplant

Heart transplants were just a far-fetched Frankenstein idea until Dr. Chris Barnard performed the first procedure on Dec. 3, 1967 in Cape Town, South Africa. After receiving a heart-lung machine to work with, he figured that if the body was able to transplant kidneys, the heart would be plausible as well. The  recipient? Louis Washkansky, a man suffering from heart failure and willing to take the risk to save his own life and make history. Though the operation was considered a success, Washkansky died from complications following surgery.