Nelson Mandela’s Legacy Projects Three Years After His Passing
Three years ago, South Africa – and the world – lost an iconic figure who symbolised integrity, dignity, justice and forgiveness, when Nelson Mandela passed away at 95. However, his legacy lives on in the causes that were dear to heart and that he set up during his lifetime.
Mandela was known as a family man and once released from prison in 1990, he was able to spend only 23 years with his family, during which time he was also running the country. From his family to strangers who were motivated by what Mandela stood for, it is agreed that 23 years were not enough. Even without tat’ uMandela here with us, his legacy – much like when the world gathered around the anti-apartheid struggle while he and other activists were imprisoned – continues in the important projects he set up, and speaks to that quote from African-American political activist Huey Newton: “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail a revolution.”
Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
Children were very special to Mandela. While construction of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital is still underway, having begun in 2014, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust has been working for over a decade to make this dream reality.
The hospital’s history is intrinsically linked to Mandela’s concerns about how children are treated and cared for in this country, which he voiced over two decades ago. His wish was to build a hospital that would offer children from the SADC region top-class healthcare. Completion is projected for the end of this year, and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital will specialise in cardiology, general paediatric surgery, oncology and more.
Another organisation that helps children and was founded because Mandela cared is the Smile Foundation. It had its beginnings in 2000 after Mandela had reached out to the Lubner family asking them to help a little girl named Thando Manyathi smile again. She was born with moebius syndrome, which led to facial paralysis and the operation had to be performed overseas. Since that first surgery, skills in this line of surgery have been brought to South Africa and the Smile Foundation has helped thousands of children born with various facial conditions, from facial nerve paralysis to cleft palates, to smile again.
Since 18 July 2010, the world has come together annually to celebrate and honour Mandela’s birthday by volunteering 67 minutes of their time to a charity or a cause that benefits the less fortunate. With the guidance of ‘67 minutes for Mandela’, people give back to others while commemorating Mandela sacrificing 67 years in service to the liberation movement.