For Mandela Day, designers honor the life and work of Nelson Mandela

Several months ago in Johannesburg, a group of volunteers for local TEDx event TEDxSoweto gathered together with some friends and asked, “What, as a community, could we do for Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday?” All designers, the group turned to art.

"The idea was to ask designers from around the world to design posters for Mandela’s birthday and we will then curate 95 posters and host an exhibition on Mandela Day," said TEDxSoweto organizer Kelo Kobo. They called it the Mandela Poster Project.

A campaign was launched and in 60 days more than 700 posters were submitted by designers from more than 70 countries. The project has even been endorsed by Icograda (The International Council of Graphic Design Associations) and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

"As members of the TEDxSoweto team, we obviously feel very passionate and close to the man Mandela," said Kelo. She and the other members of the team behind the Mandela Poster Project have selected 95 outstanding posters (representing 95 years of Mandela’s life), which will go on tour, and eventually be donated to and auctioned off by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust to raise funds for their work.

Today, in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, the Mandela Poster Project website is live. Check it out and see some of the wonderful work of designers around the world. Above, a selection of photos from the Mandela Poster Project exhibition at University of Pretoria.

(TEDx events anywhere in the world are invited to host either a physical or a digital exhibition of the Mandela Poster Project. If you are interested, email Kelo at for further information.)

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