2015 Essence Fest: Benefiting the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital

Through a collaboration with major US media player ESSENCE Communications and LEVERAGE Africa, a South African special projects management company, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust takes up an inaugural position at the 2015 ESSENCE Festival for a US-based fundraising and awareness drive tagged as Benefiting the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital’ (BNMCH). (*BNMCH is also used as a donation reference.

Construction of the 200 bed hospital is currently underway in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it is scheduled to open in July 2016. It will be Africa’s fifth dedicated pediatric hospital, catering for children from the Southern African region. All children will be treated here, irrespective of their social or economic background. The overall project fund target of $100m stands at a shortfall of $30 million, and it is anticipated that the BNMCH participation afforded it by ESSENCE Communications at the ESSENCE Festival will help to significantly boost this fundraising campaign.


The four-day ESSENCE Festival, taking place on July 2-5, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana, coincides with the US Independence Day (Fourth of July) holiday. It also coincides with the dawning of ‘Mandela Month’ that leads to the July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day, a day dedicated to celebrating Mandela’s life and legacy by giving one’s time and doing something to make the world a better place.

With its more than 500,000-strong audience, the ESSENCE Festival is a highly-regarded and well sought-after event on the calendar of America’s summer festivals, and within its media stable it reaches a three-billion audience mark. For a first appearance, the BNMCH drive will be among several community-based and non-profit organisations that the New Orleans festival welcomes to its platform for raising awareness and support.


“As the Hospital Trust, we share the ESSENCE Festival management’s excitement in being able to present the hospital project to its audience and the American public for the first time this year,” says Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of NMCH Trust

“The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital represents the last wish and dream of South Africa’s first democratically elected president and a lasting legacy for generations to come. Madiba understood and petitioned for children to be nurtured, with their health being critical to preparing them to be future leaders of the world.

“We look forward to strengthening this new relationship with ESSENCE Festival as a tribute to and towards making Madiba’s dream of a world-class children’s facility a reality,” Ms Mkhabela concludes.


The collaboration anticipates for the festive event to trigger a national response to our call for support of the Hospital project among the American public. This ‘chain of support’ is to be drawn from the Festival’s live audience, along with their networks of friends, associates and families; but also, cumulatively, from the full spectrum of ESSENCE audiences including the publication readers, online subscribers and virtual followers of the event.

*How to donate

Donations can be made during and after the Festival by visiting:

Reference: BNMCH

(King Baudouin Foundation US administers all funds raised for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust directly to the organisation.)

For more information, visit the following sites: