Mokonyane pays tribute to Mama Sisulu

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has described Mama Albertina Sisulu as a woman who had a vision and determination. 

“She used every platform to [deal with] the challenges she was facing,” Mokonyane said on Friday at the Women in Communication networking session held at Government Communications (GCIS) in Tshwane. 

The session was held in the build-up to the Centenary of MaSisulu, who would have turned 100 on 21 October. She passed away on 5 June 2011 peacefully at home in Linden, Johannesburg. 

Mokonyane said there is a lot about Mama Sisulu that people were not told about.

“Her own life experiences exposed her to the harsh realities of politics. Sisulu conscientised women about politics.” 

Despite the harsh realities she was faced with, Sisulu looked after her siblings with the stipend she was getting while training as a nurse. She had to sell eggs to get money to supplement the stipend she was getting. 

“She was strong and could even face people in the apartheid regime. Her views were always respected. She had the determination and courage to fight the apartheid government.

“She always wanted to see a black child succeed. What she stood for has not [entirely] been realised, while some [aspects] have been realised,” Mokonyane said. 

Jabu Baloyi from the Commission for Gender Equality expressed concern about women being side-lined, especially in news rooms.

“The silencing of women’s voices is concerning. Women are always side-lined.” 

Baloyi said men are always taking all the glory in everything and that has to change. 

Nadia Bulbulia, the Executive Director of the National Association of Broadcasters, called on women to think about little things they can do in their communities to make a difference. 

“There is a need to find opportunities in our communities to tell our own stories,” Bulbulia said, encouraging women to draw on the inspiration of MaSisulu’s vision for the country. 

The networking session was attended by women from various organisations, including students who wanted to learn more about communication and politics. 

Sisulu emerged as a powerful political figure in the 1950s, playing a significant role in major campaigns such as the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings. 

In 1964, she was left with the sole care of her children when her husband, Walter Sisulu, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. 

Despite bannings, intense police prosecution, imprisonment as well as torture, detention and exile, she continued to work as a nurse. –