The young patients being treated at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) got a big surprise when the crew from Takalani Sesame dropped in for a morning of music and fun while recording the new season of the educational programme, one of South Africa’s most loved children’s shows. This special episode, shot in December 2019, will be aired on SABC 2 on 15 June 2020 at 3:30 pm.


Sibling duo Manna and Biko kick off the episode by calling Takalani Sesame friends Elmo and Zuzu to invite them to join them in singing to the children at NMCH. Elmo and Zuzu, who love to make special gifts for their friends using recycled objects from their Playbox, decide to build maracas for the children to use for making music.

In the episode, Elmo and Zuzu enlist their new Takalani Sesame Muppet friends Basma and Jad to help them solve the problems they encounter when building their maracas—learning about the importance of not giving up when working through a problem. As soon as they are ready, they all jump in into Zikwe’s taxi, who shouts his trademark “Quallolops!” before they go off to visit the young patients to have some fun singing, dancing and learning through play along the way. 

Takalani Sesame, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, recently premiered its 11th season on 1 June. The new season, which features new episodes, friends, and adventures, features the beloved Takalani Sesame Muppets demonstrating the power of Ubuntu—celebrating similarities and differences by showing kindness, respect, sharing, and caring in ways to show that umntu ngumntu ngabantu (you are because we are). Ubuntu was also part of President Nelson Mandela’s message, and the hospital is a direct result of that message. 

In addition to the shared commitment to Ubuntu, NMCH was selected because of its dedication to the health and wellbeing of young children and its welcoming and inviting space. In addition, the visit offered the opportunity to spread some Takalani joy by having sibling musicians Biko and Manna sing to patients in the ward and on the in-house radio station, Radio Lollipop.

“It is important to not only meet the physical needs of children, but also their emotional and psychological needs. Therefore we try to enhance the quality of life for our little patients by ensuring they also have fun,” says Dr Mandisa Maholwana, Chief Executive Officer of the NMCH.
“It is important for children to know that there is a special hospital just for them where they will be treated should they ever get very ill. Nelson Mandela loved children and he wanted a children’s hospital built that would make a hospital stay a bit easier for parents and children. We are excited to see how the episode turned out and eager for our patients, families and the country at large to tune in at a time when we all need a bit of joy.” Dr Maholwana says.

“We offer world-class treatment for children and continue to do so during this global pandemic, but we would not be able to do as much as we do if it was not for our donors. Even a small amount can help to make a big difference in the life of a sick child. Every donation is an investment in the life of a child.”

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