Big plans to celebrate Madiba, Mama Sisulu

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for the centenary celebrations for struggle icons Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu has called on South Africans and the international community to participate in the various activities that have been put together in their honour.

The IMC has, as part of the centenary celebrations, also announced the launch of #MandelaFridays, an initiative aimed at promoting active citizenry among South Africans to carry out activities of philanthropy, charity, education and heritage throughout the year to mark 100 years since the birth of the former statesman.

Similarly, South Africans have been urged to celebrate the memory of Albertina Sisulu as the “Woman of fortitude”, who lived her life serving South Africa with dignity and integrity.

Minister Jeff Radebe, who chairs the IMC, said 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of the two struggle icons.

The IMC was established in August 2017 to plan the centenary celebrations.

“Government calls on all South Africans and the international community to join in the centenary celebrations in their workplaces, schools, churches and civic organisations as we reflect on the immense contribution these icons and global figures bequeathed our fledgling democracy.

“Ours is to build on the foundations they laid,” he said.

The Minister said the 100 year anniversary of Mandela’s birth was an opportunity for citizens to recommit themselves to the principles he lived by and build the nation that was envisioned at the advent of democracy.

He said citizens are urged to commemorate the Mandela centenary through social activism every Friday on #MandelaFridays.

Citizens can also foster a love for education and make it fashionable by buying a book for a child.

South Africans could also:

-       help a needy learner by getting them a school uniform.

-       host lectures, seminars and round-table discussions about Madiba’s values;

-       visit orphanages to offer assistance and play with the children

-       organise tours for the youth and elders to visit heritage sites and help promote tourism;

-       organising or hosting sports tournaments in honour of Madiba and donating the proceeds from such activities to non-profit organisations.

Several activities will be held throughout the year to commemorate the centenary of the former President, including 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, to be addressed by former US President Barack Obama on 17 July 2018.

Vanderkoof Dam is to be renamed after Madiba, an event that is planned for September.

Remembering Mama Sisulu

The Minister said there were also activities planned for Mama Sisulu, who had dedicated her life to nurturing and protecting children.

“She was committed to good quality education, insisting that the youth put education first even during their quest for a democratic, free, non-sexist and non-violent South Africa.

“Given the current scourge of violence against women and children, let us be men and women of courage to speak out, seek help and support the vulnerable,” said Minister Radebe.

Some of the events planned to commemorate the struggle icon include a special broadcast of the South African Love Story documentary of Albertina and Walter Sisulu during the month of May on SABC. The documentary is a touching, real-life exploration of one of South Africa’s most celebrated couples.

A special orchid, named after Ma Sisulu, will be unveiled on 19 May. The orchid was first discovered in Gauteng in 1918, and last observed in 1956.

A Big Debate Showcase, scheduled for June, will be held to focus on intergenerational dialogue on South African History. The dialogue will include the #FeesMustFall leadership talk about South Africa’s history, as well as the history of civil rights movements, feminism, and women who have been marginalised.

 In August 2018, the IMC will help the Sisulu family track down the living participants of the 1956 Women’s March in a bid to package and share their stories and perspectives of the 1956 Women’s March.

In October, the Mama Sisulu Centenary Month will be officially launched where several activities, including the celebration of Albertina Sisulu at the Orlando West Anglican Church, will take place. The packed programme will also see the Albertina Sisulu biography being launched, as well as a memorial lecture in her honour taking place. –

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