The Mandela Poster Project

This past May, a poster project released 95 posters celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

In May of 2013, a group of South African designers launched a celebration of the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on the occasion of his 95th birthday by selecting 95 exceptional posters from around the world that honor his lifelong contribution to humanity. An independent team of volunteers, now known as the Mandela Poster Project Collective, solicited submissions, receiving more than 700 posters from designers in more than 70 countries. All submitters agreed to donate their posters to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust to be exhibited and reproduced in limited editions as part of a fundraising program to establish Africa’s third dedicated children’s hospital in Johannesburg, which is Mandela’s final legacy wish.

The designs and illustrations collected are truly remarkable. But let's also remember to avoid the deification of Mandela — the abolition of apartheid was a collective process, and in many crucial ways a promise still unfulfilled. The ANC in power looks and acts very different from when the ANC was fighting for freedom. Now it's ANC orders that are bringing police guns and water cannons on striking miners. If we're to pull a message of hope from Mandela's life, let us put that hope in a future South Africa truly worthy of adulation.

Check out the first half of the posters here, and the second half here. Below are a few of my favorites: