|June 5, 2011
Veteran ANC stalwart Albertina Sisulu died
Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, one of the last of a generation of anti apartheid fighters, has died at the age of 92 in her Linden, Johannesburg home on June 4. Mrs Sisulu was the widow of ANC leader Walter Sisulu, who died in 2003, and a friend and mentor to former South African president Nelson Mandela. A political heavyweight in her own right, she was active in the ANC Women’s League and was arrested and detained many times during the fight against apartheid. Although a nurse and midwife, she was best known for her commitment to education and the ANC, and was said to have tutored and mentored many of the party’s current leaders. “Even in the struggle if people don’t know what they are fighting for it is useless,” she said after the fall of the apartheid system. “We must educate our women because often they suffer the most – and their children with them . . . If we all knew what was really important, we would just need to shout once.”
Her compatriots in the ANC were the first to offer condolences to her family. “MaSisulu epitomised the struggles of the poor, the women and the disenfranchised . . . She embodied grace and humility,” the ANC said, adding that not only had the Sisulu family lost a mother, but the country had lost an irreplaceable leader.