Ms Sibongile Mkhabela bestowed National Order of Luthuli

Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust celebrate the extraordinary achievement of our CEO, Ms Sibongile Mkhabela, who was awarded the National Order of Luthuli: Silver by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The National Order honours her excellent contribution to the well-being of the nation’s children and her efforts in the fight for democracy and recognises her formidable leadership of the Fund for the last seventeen years, and the Trust over the last nine years.

At the Fund she worked closely with Madiba to make his vision of changing how society treats its children, a reality.  Apart from creating deep and sustainable grassroots networks and supporting the work of community based organisations, the Fund’s advocacy work has influenced government policies relating to children.

Her ceaseless efforts to put the plight of children at the forefront of societal consciousness has known no bounds, as she championed R1 billion fundraising campaign for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.  What began as a two-page proposal and an “Old Man’s dream” gave birth to a specialist, referral-only, paediatric hospital in 2016.  Through her quiet unwavering will and her ability to create and redefine excellence, she was able to achieve improbably partnerships, galvanising stakeholders from government, corporates, NGOs, academia and the healthcare sector.

Her vision for the hospital goes beyond delivering world-class Paediatric health care, to creating a conduit for South Africa, and indeed Africa, to reimagining itself. NMCH is a vehicle for creating African clinical expertise, leading research and growing the repository of African healthcare knowledge.

Sis’ Bongi joins a long list of illustrious South Africans who have selflessly dedicated themselves to a better world – including the Fund’s own trustees Irene Menell (Order of the Baobab: Silver, 2009); Judge Yvonne Mokgoro (Order of the Baobab: Bronze, 2015); and Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who received the Order of Luthuli: Gold at this year’s ceremony. Congratulations Sis’ Bongi on this prestigious award – and thank you for your selfless dedication to changing children’s lives!