Childrens’ Hospital opened in Madiba’s name
‘Never promise to a child what you cannot deliver. ’
These are words from Graca Machel who gave her keynote address at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Children’s hospital on Friday the 2nd of December in Parktown, Johannesburg. The hospital which becomes Africa’s fifth specialised hospital for children in South Africa has been built and equipped through crowd funding.
The project initially aimed to raise R1 billion for the completion, however, R880 million has been raised so far. This still makes the project the largest crowd funded campaign in South Africa. A number of speakers including Health Minister Aaron Motsoeledi, Former Deputy Chief justice Dikgang Moseneke and Wits Vice chancellor Adam Habib expressed how honoured they are to be part of the project and ensuring that Madiba’s dream materialises.
The hospital is expected to begin taking its first little patients in the second quarter of 2017. Patients will be admitted to the hospital through referral only, while children who need special care but cannot afford such treatment will be admitted free of charge.
The opening occurred just three days before the country marked the three-year death anniversary of the struggle icon. Madiba died on December 5, 2013, at his Houghton home. He died at the age of 95 after suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection.
Madiba was remembered at an event held at the Nelson Mandela foundation where Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the crowd. Speaking on racial tensions in the country, Ramaphosa said that for as long as black South Africans are poor and white people are privileged we will never succeed in building a non-racial society. His comments come as the South African courts mark a year where the most number of racial cases have been brought to the law post-apartheid. CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Sello Hatang says South Africans are not living the reality of Madiba’s dream. Hatang says South Africa faces a profound challenge.
Despite the racial challenges South Africa has seen this year, Madiba’s widow Graca Machel says the Children’s Hospital must be seen as the light at the end of the tunnel. The hospital will serve as to bridge the gap between the rich and poor and allow world-class health care to all children regardless of their race.