MZANSI is a nation of champions, and to mark Organ Donor Month, it is important to look back to that proud moment when the world’s first heart transplant was performed 50 years ago by world-renowned surgeon Professor Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital on 3 December 1967.

SA also boasts the first HIV-positive donor to HIV-positive recipient kidney transplant performed by Prof Elmi Muller of UCT and her team at Groote Schuur Hospital.

Then, the first penis transplant was performed by Prof Andre van der Merwe and his team at Tygerberg Hospital in December 2014.

But we are letting these records get dusty because we would rather let our organs rot in the ground than let them keep people alive.

Mzansi is a leader in organ transplant medicine. Doctors from all over the world come to study and train at our transplant centres and academic

But all these life-saving achievements can only exist if people register as organ donors.

Not only are Mzansi people slow to register as organ and tissue donors, they are not prepared to donate organs in spite of being willing to receive them if it would save their lives.

Surveys performed by the Organ Donor Foundation in 2017 indicate that 71% are unwilling to donate organs, yet 77% would accept an organ.

The foundation said: “There’s no reason why Mzansi should have one the lowest percentage of transplants performed in the world.”

Be a proud donor and register at