PRETORIA, October 22 – The life of iconic anti-apartheid activist, Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, who was the wife of leading struggle icon Walter Sisulu was has been celebrated with Energy Minister Jeff Radebe describing her as a woman of fortitude.
“When we say Mama Sisulu is a woman of fortitude, it is precisely because of the hardships that she endured to raise her voice against the apartheid tyranny. Today is a beautiful occasion, because we are here in celebratory mood, to commemorate her legacy and gleaning from it the lessons that must inform our own roles in the relentless struggle towards a better society for all,” Radebe told a gathering on Sunday, marking Mama Sisulu’s 100th year birthday held at Holy Cross Anglican Church in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Radebe was addressing the event in his capacity as the chairperson of the Inter-Lakes trial committee on centenaries of Mama Sisulu and former president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Born on October 21, 1918, the liberation heroine passed away on 5 June 2011 at home in Linden, Johannesburg.
Radebe said current day South Africa needs more women of Mama Sisulu’s calibre to take advantage of the strides in women emancipation since the dawn of democracy, to the baton and move move the nation into the future.
“Our democracy has made important strides on women emancipation. But like all other areas of socio-economic transformation, the backlogs still reflect the patterns of apartheid social, political and economic engineering. Precisely for this reason, we still need women of fortitude to emulate Mama Sisulu, who saw a possibility for change against a tyrannical system that gave no hope at all,” he said.
“Today is an occasion for our youth, both male and female, to learn from the lifelong stewardship of Mama Sisulu and her generation who relentlessly fought for our freedom and democracy. It is the duty of the youth to learn more about Mama Sisulu and possibly consider her historic role as part of their academic works, be it essays, thesis or dissertations.”
Radebe said instead of staying on the sidelines and being critics, women in South Africa should strive for more involvement and making a difference from within.
“Women of fortitude are not armchair critics but a people who get their strapped boots dirty in the mud at work to build a better society. It is on the basis of such solution oriented women that we can declare without any fear of self-contradiction that ‘working together we can do more’,” he said. (ANA)