PRESS RELEASE: Mandela Poster Project produces journals for patients of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital

A project that started out as a call for posters to celebrate iconic statesman Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday in 2013 has produced another spin-off in the production of print journals containing 95 posters for patients at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) to use for creative pursuits.

A thousand journals were handed over officially to the NMCH at a function on 30 October 2018. The event was hosted by NMCH and guests included executive management and staff of the hospital and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, as well as members of the Mandela Poster Project Collective (MPPC).

The journals were produced with money raised by a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign launched by the MPPC. Major sponsors include the USA-based Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, the Department of Arts and Culture (South Africa), as well as several individuals from Belgium, Italy, the USA and South Africa. “We are honored to continue our support of the MPPC as they share Nelson Mandela’s legacy with the world, “ said Todd Nelson, owner, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions.“ These journals showcase Mandela’s significance and lasting impact through the collection of beautiful, thoughtful and meaningful art.“

The MPPC is a group of South African designers and international colleagues who set out in mid-2013 to collect 95 exceptional posters from around the world, honouring Nelson Mandela’s lifelong contribution to humanity. In 60 days, designers from around 70 countries submitted more than 700 posters. The collection was curated and 95 posters (representing 95 years of Madiba’s life at that stage) have been shown in roving exhibitions in 13 countries around the world since then.

In 2014, the South African Bureau of Standard’s Design Institute acquired the master set of Mandela 95 Collection for a million Rand. “The entire sale amount was donated to NMCH – a contribution that has enabled this facility to offer life-saving interventions and care to desperately sick children”, said Ms Pinky Mashigo, COO of the NMCH.

To celebrate the centenary of Madiba’s life, the MPPC created an A5 journal for the young patients in the NMCH. The journal includes all 95 of the original posters, as well as equal blank space. I have an idea: Be like Madiba (the official title) will be their book to use in any way they please – draw, write or plan their life. The ultimate goal is for the journal project to extend the lifespan of the posters and add value to the patients of the Hospital.

Dr Mandisa Maholwana, CEO of the NMCH explained: “Our facility is one centred on the needs of children and their families who we view as partners in the healing process. The NMCH is a specialist tertiary referral and quaternary hospital, serving children with complex illnesses in the region.”

The hospital officially opened in June 2017 and by June this year celebrated having treated over 1 000 children. It has since surpassed that number and the NMCH treats approximately 400 children a month. “We have adopted a vision ‘To Give Every Child a Chance to Live and Thrive’. No child, who is appropriately referred to our facility is turned away because of the inability to pay”, said Dr Maholwana. The latter was a clear instruction from Madiba at the establishment of to the NMCHT.

“Without the generosity and altruism of volunteer groups like the MPPC, our children would be left wanting. With the I have an idea: Be like Madiba journals, patients at NMCH could both be educated and entertained with. This gesture of the MPPC will contribute to enhancing the experience of our patients and hopefully provide them with a souvenir of their stay in the hospital, which has now been made all the more bearable”, said Dr Maholwana.

Addressing the MPPC members at the handover event, Ms Mashigo said: “You continue to demonstrate to the country as well as the international community what can be achieved when art and altruism are combined. We are also inspired by your spirit to take this project further by exploring various ways in which you can continue to support the hospital. Time and again, your work has transcended art as an expressive form. It has extended the memory of our former president Madiba beyond social consciousness and expanded his legacy.”

Download the press release here.