Nelson Mandela gets a 95th birthday gift

Salli van Druten, artist, poses with some of the portraits she painted, published in a book, and presented to Mr. Nelson Mandela on his 95th birthday, July 18, 2013.
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Project name: Thanks for the Colour!
Project scope: 95 Portraits in 95 Days.
Project goal: 95th Birthday Gift to
Mr Nelson Mandela.
Project Artist: Salli van Druten.

Artist Salli van Druten poses with many of the portraits she painted and published in a book, which was then  presented to Mr. Nelson Mandela for his 95th birthday on July 18, 2013. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. All images are copyrighted by the authour.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (25 July 2013) – Portrait artist, Salli van Druten, grew up knowing only an apartheid South Africa — a regime that determined the lives of too many South Africans: where they lived; who they could marry; which buses they could catch; which hospitals would accept them; which schools and universities they could attend.

Like many others, Salli believes that South Africa’s peaceful transformation from Apartheid to Democracy, and the absence of a civil war, was nothing short of a miracle.

Salli van Druten; “We moved from looking at our world in Black and White to a country exploding with colour. The role that Nelson Mandela played in this miracle, the humility and composure he showed when many around him were losing their heads, elevated him to the role of modern-day Saint.”

Salli wanted to thank Nelson Mandela for what he has done for her country and for the example he has set for the world. Painting portraits are her passion and the use of bold, bright colours seemed to fit the South African Rainbow Nation perfectly. What better way to celebrate Madiba’s 95th birthday than to paint 95 portraits of ordinary people in 95 days. Salli set herself the challenge with other people from around the world who feel the same way about Nelson Mandela.

Book cover of: Thanks for the Colour! - by artist Salli van Druten
Thanks for the Colour! – book by artist Salli van Druten

She started a social media campaign and collected faces of 95 people together with their personal messages to Mandela, from 30 countries on 6 continents around the globe, to thank him in a personal way for the rich cultural understanding he has added to our modern civilisation.

She managed to complete all 95 paintings in the nick of time — just a week before Madiba’s birthday. The individual messages of appreciation with the portraits were then published in a book that Salli delivered to the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Tata Madiba’s (Nelson Mandela) 95th Birthday, on 18 July 2013.

Thanks for the Colour!
To Nelson Mandela — Thanks for the Colour!

The paintings form a colourful collection that is for sale to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

If you’d like more info on this project or would like to view the paintings and personal messages please visit:

Contact information:

  • Salli van Druten
  • Cell Phone: +27 82 604 5140
  • Email: [email protected]


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