The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) congratulates Chief Executive Officer of our founding organisations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Trust (Trust) and Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (Fund), Ms Sibongile Mkhabela, on her achievement of an honorary doctorate conferred by the Nelson Mandela University (NMU).
Ms Mkhabela stands with four remarkable South Africans who were honoured by the university during a ceremony held on 5 April 2019, namely, cleric and civil servant Reverend Frank Chikane; businesswoman and president of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) Dr Vuyo Mahlati and specialist family physician and Independent Practitioners Association (IPA) Foundation chairman Professor Morgan Chetty.
A social activist among the 11 student leaders arrested in connection with the 1976 student uprisings, Ms Mkhabela was recognised for her life’s work and contribution to advancing social justice.
Ms Mkhabela has been among South Africa’s own champions, leading policy and practice related to children and the advancement of their rights, serving the first democratically elected government as Director in the Office of then-Deputy President Mbeki. In this role, Ms Mkhabela was responsible for programming with specific reference to civil society-government partnerships as well as overseeing the implementation of The UN Children’s Charter.
At the Fund and the Trust, Mkhabela focuses her efforts on building independent and self-sustaining African institutions, working cohesively to put the rights and their wellbeing of children first.
NMU honoured Ms Mkhabela for her role, amongst others, in leading policy development in South Africa and the establishment of a dedicated children’s hospital in South Africa through one of the largest capital campaigns to be driven by civil society in the country and led by the Trust.
A dream of former president Mr Nelson Mandela, and only the second dedicated hospital for children in the region, NMCH is a flagship project of the Fund and serves as specialised paediatric facility aimed at improving the quality of paediatric care, research and training in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ms Mkhabela is also the recipient of The National Order of Luthuli (Silver), awarded by the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018, in recognition of her fight against apartheid and advocacy for children and African societies.
We congratulate Ms Mkhabela on this achievement and due acclamation.