Brightly-painted wards and colorful furnishings are matched by state-of-the-art equipment and pioneering operating theaters at a new children’s hospital in Johannesburg honoring Nelson Mandela.
After he led the struggle to dismantle apartheid, one of Mandela’s most cherished dreams was to build the first specialist pediatric hospital in southern Africa.
To mark the third anniversary of his death on December 5, and more than 10 years after he conceived the idea, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital admits its first patients on December 2.
His dream materialized after a successful battle for funds despite the global economic downturn and the difficulties of inspiring donors without Mandela’s charm and iconic presence.
“South Africa was not seen as a big area of need,” Mkhabela said. Construction finally began in 2014 as donations came in from philanthropists and businesses including the Bill Gates Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Islamic Relief Worldwide and South African businessman Eric Samson.
Some children even emptied their piggy banks, while ordinary South Africans donated through a popular text message appeal.
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