A dream realised: The challenges, triumphs of building a Mandela legacy


The authors of the book recount their journey of bringing the stories behind the building of one of the finest paediatric facilities on the African continent to the page.

An impossible project is what The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was when it was a mere idea, The seed took root when 10 people sat around a table discussing the state of paediatric care in South Africa a discussion sparked by the death of a five-year-old boy. These people shared similar experiences that all pointed to the fact that devoted specialist care was needed for children.

And so began the remarkable story of a children’s hospital built-in
the name of one of the world’s greatest leaders.

Now, the stories behind the building of one of the finest paediatric
facilities on the African continent can be told for the first time in a
new book _A Dream Realised:  The Challenges and Triumphs of Building a Mandela Legacy_ that has recently been released.

With a foreword by Justice Yvonne Mokgoro and an introduction by Mrs Graça Machel, the tales are personal, emotional and sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately they are all filled with passion and inspiration.

Authors Ulrike Hill and Zanele Chakela recount the trials and
tribulations of their long journey to bring the stories to the page:

Ulrike Hill: I was asked by Pat van der Merwe (manager at the Nelson
Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust) if I would be interested in writing
the story of the hospital. We were sitting in the hospital’s main family lounge with pictures on the wall representing children’s
artwork and I was so moved and inspired that I did not hesitate and told
her it would be a privilege to write the story. I got in touch with
Zanele, whom I knew from my Creative Writing Honours course at Wits, and
asked her if she wanted to be part of the writing team for this amazing
story. She didn’t hesitate in saying yes

We were told to bring the story of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital to life. From inception, through planning and execution, to receiving the first patient and beyond. To highlight the impact of this legacy and the impact of how a village can indeed raise a child and build a hospital to look after the vulnerable children.” said Zanele

The authors had to go through several workshops where they had to be engaged with the
the executive team from the Trust and created a list of people to interview.
Ulrike”s brilliance at giving the story its opening concept, provided the fertile ground for them to create the storyline and to use it as a mould that held the story together throughout the process.

Although we delivered according to the brief we were given; the first draft did not meet with the executive’s approval. We had not included the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in the original draft not realising the important role that the fund played in the hospital. We
also realised that writing someone else’s story is not an exact science and it is only when the first draft is presented that the story can then emerge. Somehow, Zanele and I managed to get the story moulded. The consultant team were amazing.
” Ulrike added.

The book promises to bring all the emotions from the idea, turning into planning, execution, building to the opening of doors and so much more, this is one book that will inspire and motivate its readers to dream big and see the dream manifest.

 Ulrike concluded by saying; “The day I walked into the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was a turning point in my life. It challenged me as a writer and as a person. I Have met incredible people and heard wonderful stories, it made me see the potential of our country, I am grateful for being given the opportunity to not only write an amazing story but to do so with an amazing group of people. I do not believe that the story would have emerged without my book team and that of the Trusts’.

_A Dream Realised: The Challenges and Triumphs of Building a Mandela
Legacy_ – as told to Ulrike Hill and Zanele Chakela – is now available
from leading book stores, or you can order online from Loot, Takealot or
Amazon (as an eBook) as well as via the NMCH website or from the NMCH
gift shop. To win one of five copies of _A Dream Realised: The Challenges and
Triumphs of Building a Mandela Legacy_, personally signed by Mrs Graça
Machel, visit