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A Boy Named Courage

A Surgeon's Memoir of Apartheid

By Himmet Dajee, MD, with Patrice Ap

A Boy Named Courage

Dr. Himmet Dajee, coauthor of A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon's Memoir of Apartheid (2018; 2019 Benjamin Franklin Silver Winner), holds medical degrees from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of London. He was an assistant professor at UCLA and a staff cardiac surgeon at Kaiser Permanente. After two decades in private practice in California, he retired from surgery in 2006 and currently serves as a medical director at CalOptima, which administers health insurance for low-income patients. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the American College of Chest Physicians. The recipient of numerous academic awards, Dajee has coauthored twenty-one papers published in prestigious medical journals and is a frequent speaker at medical conferences.

Veteran journalist Patrice Apodaca, coauthor of A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon's Memoir of Apartheid (2018; 2019 Benjamin Franklin Silver Winner) is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer. She is currently a featured columnist for the Daily Pilot, a Los Angeles Times Community News publication.

2019 - Benjamin Franklin Silver Award Winner


As a brown boy growing up in apartheid South Africa, Himmet Dajee's life could easily have turned out quite differently. As the fourth, and largely discounted, son of tradition-minded Indian immigrants, he faced a future of oppression under the white ruling class. His path seemed predetermined: to follow his father in the shoe trade and accept an arranged marriage.

But Himmet's name means "courage" in his parents' native tongue. Supported by a devoted older brother and fueled by his own driving ambition and hatred of apartheid, Himmet was determined to escape the course charted for his life. Despite almost insurmountable odds, Himmet carved a future of his own design, with a world-class education, a career as a cardiac surgeon, and a life a world away from South Africa. But Himmet had to confront his past if he was ever fully to be at peace with it.

A Boy Named Courage: A Surgeon's Memoir of Apartheid is the story of one man's quest to overcome racism and oppression to find his place in the world and escape the shadow of his troubled homeland. Thoughtful, emotionally honest, and at times heartrending, this account of the personal toll wrought by one of the most shameful periods in modern history provides a unique glimpse into an often-overlooked community affected by apartheid. It is also a testament to the triumph of the human spirit, and to the boy who persevered against all odds to live up to his name: Courage.



Additional Information:

Published 2018 (Cynren Press)

ISBN: 9781947976009 – 222 pages - Hardback

Rights: World

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