Tygerberg Children's Hospital celebrates Madiba

Kim Cloete

Reverend Mpho Tutu remembers Nelson Mandela's love for children and pays tribute to the nurses, doctors and parents of children at the hospital.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu's daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, and his granddaughter, Onalenna Burris, at the interfaith thanksgiving service at Tygerberg Children's Hospital. (Kim Cloete)

Reverend Mpho Tutu, who is Archbishop Desmond Tutu's daughter, said Mandela always showed his love for children. "Because of that, there is no better place for me to be than to pay tribute to the children and the doctors and nurses who care for them at Tygerberg Children's Hospital. 

"Nelson Mandela spread a light over the nation and over our world and has given us a baton to take up and pass on," said Tutu, who is the executive director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the Patron of Tygerberg Children's Hospital.

Rabbi Malcolm Matitiani prayed for courage and faith to care for sick children. Sheikh Fuad Hendricks said Mandela's spirit would live on. He called for "kindness in our world and to our children". The executive director of the department of paediatrics and child health, Professor Mariana Kruger, also paid tribute to the nurses, as well as the parents of children who are patients at the hospital. "Your children are our pieces of gold and we really care for them."

A candle-lighting ceremony was led by Dalene Heyns, the widow of paediatrician and specialist Dr Louis Heyns. Professor Heyns was considered a leader at Tygerberg Children's Hospital, where he worked since 1984. He died earlier this year. "What Mandela was to the nation, Louis was to Tygerberg Children's Hospital. He gave us his example of care and love," Professor Kruger said. 

More than 17 000 children are admitted to Tygerberg Children's Hospital every year.  It is the largest hospital in the Western Cape caring for children and offers highly specialised services to children, from oncology and infectious diseases to neurology and neonatology.

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