When a nurse once told a young Emmanuel Taban that he’d grow up to become a doctor, the thought was “absurd”, he says. “The possibility of being able to survive beyond childhood was difficult to imagine – let alone being able to go to school.”
Today, Taban holds three medical degrees and was recently named as one of South Africa’s leading experts in pulmonology.
Born in a tiny village in South Sudan, Dr. Taban was one of five siblings raised by a single mother. At 14 he was arrested by the Military for being a rebel-spy, incarcerated, tortured, and sent off to Khartoum. He fled to Eritrea, where he was again imprisoned. Upon his release, he decided to walk nearly 3000km to an uncle in Nairobi, Kenya, but he wasn’t welcomed – so, inspired by the “made in South Africa” printing on a cola can, he traveled another 3000 km through East Africa on his own and eventually into South Africa.
Carte Blanche recently featured and celebrated a life of epic grit and imagination – of a young refugee who became a leading pulmonologist who is saving the lives of critically-ill COVID-19 ventilator patients with his novel use of therapeutic bronchoscopies.
Watch the full episode here: