SA shines spotlight on Women of Fortitude

Friday, November 23, 2018

Minister Jeff Radebe has officially launched the Women of Fortitude campaign aimed at honouring the legacy of Mama Albertina Sisulu.

Radebe launched the campaign on Thursday in his capacity as the chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the centenaries of former President Nelson Mandela and MaSisulu.

The campaign seeks to encourage the current generation of young South Africans to continue MaSisulu’s legacy of activism through 100 women ambassadors.

The #WomenofFortitude campaign will use stories of past and present heroines to inspire other women to take charge of their own development, and reignite passion in women to recommit themselves to the values and principles of MaSisulu.

Paying tribute to Sisulu, Radebe said the struggle stalwart distinguished herself as a reliable cadre, whose unflinching commitment towards the values of freedom and democracy has become synonymous with her own legacy.

Against all odds, Radebe recalled, MaSisulu brought up her family in the absence of her husband, who, together with Mandela and many other political prisoners, served a life sentence on Robben Island.

“We believe that through the 100 Women of Fortitude, MaSisulu’s legacy will continue to live on and inspire change...

“Today we declare her legacy as immortal, as it will continue to live through many women who have made a choice to associate themselves with the resilience typified by her life during the dark days of apartheid brutality. Her resilience remains an inspiration for the current [and future] generation to emulate,” Radebe said.

Women of courage

Through the campaign, government wants to get the 100 women ambassadors to play a special role in carrying MaSisulu’s legacy forward.

“The objective of this movement is to blow a trumpet and let women across the length and breadth of our land to heed that rallying call to stand up and unite, and be women of courage and be part of making this beautiful land a better place for all.

“This initiative is aimed at promoting social cohesion, women empowerment and to recognise women across all sectors who have courageously and successfully broken barriers by contributing to building a South Africa that was envisaged in our democratic Constitution,” Radebe said.

MaSisulu’s granddaughter, Ntsiki Sisulu, said many women are like MaSisulu, although they are not facing imprisonment, torture or harassment under the State unnecessarily.

“You are still courageous and you break barriers, and you succeeded doing so, but you don’t stop there. You then go forward and ensure that you encourage others and bring other women along and contribute to your country, like MaSisulu did.

“You have the courage, you recognise the barriers within your environment and you are able to actually break those barriers, and when you succeeded doing so, you contribute even beyond your area,” Sisulu said.

She said the criteria used when nominating the Women of Fortitude ambassadors was based on characteristics and true values held by MaSisulu.  

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Bathabile Dlamini, encouraged the ambassadors to press on in whatever area they are working to bring change.

She said MaSisulu accomplished a lot with her colleagues, risking their very lives.

“There are few people who can choose death over life, and that means resilience, a spirit of no compromise… When you make your mistakes and fall, and you get up and run your race.

“…Your growth must be harnessed towards building the nation... Your call is bigger than [yourselves],” Dlamini said. –