Honouring Albertina Sisulu

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Albertina Sisulu was exemplary in her leadership in that she did not only strategically give guidance, she also rolled down her sleeves and gave up any little comfort that she had within a collective.

“She marched, she mobilised, she defied, she was arrested, she was in detention, she was under house arrest, she watched her own son’s wedding from her own gate, she was banned from participating in those simple pleasures in her own life,” said her granddaughter Ntsiki Sisulu.

Sisulu’s granddaughter was addressing the commemoration of International Women’s Day and Honouring of Albertina Sisulu at the State Theatre, in Tshwane, on Tuesday.

In 2018, South Africa is marking two important centenaries. The main centenary is dedicated to Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, the first President of a democratic South Africa. Had he been alive he would be 100 years this year. Of equal importance is the Centenary of Sisulu, a struggle heroine in her own right.

Sisulu said her grandmother displayed great courage and determination in the face of cruel and seemingly systematic prosecution.

“Never once did she abdicate her responsibility as a mother and she was a unifying leader in her community. She was very prim and proper, she was tall, very stern and strict,” Sisulu said.

She said Albertina’s intention was always to build and develop well-groomed children and grandchildren as well as well-grounded people, some of whom are leaders in their own right today.

“In the processing of grooming and mentoring, she never minced her words when she or her charges were wrong. She was very clear, she had no favourites, and she just had principles and discipline.

She said Albertina presented herself with dignity and integrity.

Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Makhotso Maggie Sotyu, further condemned the killing of people living with albinism, saying that her department needs to have an [awareness] campaign in honour of Albertina Sisulu about the abuse of children.

The Deputy Minister encouraged women who suffer in silence as a result of abuse at the hands of their partners or husbands to find the courage to speak out.

“Women must learn to talk because some of these crimes are happening behind closed doors,” Deputy Minister Sotyu said.

She said there is a need for awareness creation on women’s rights.

“Women need to be empowered to understand, access and exercise their rights. There needs to be a clear understanding that women’s rights are human rights and therefore have to have the same recognition, respect and protection,” she said.

Deputy Minister Sotyu said women still needed to understand legislation on domestic violence.

“We need to understand the Maintenance Act and how to access it and benefit from it. This legislation should be understood in light of child custody and adoption,” she said.

Deputy Minister Sotyu said women need to be empowered to fight for their economic rights where access to productive resources are concerned. – SAnews.gov.za

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