Tributes for Albertina Sisulu

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pretoria - The passing of struggle icon Albertina Sisulu, who has been described as the rock of the nation, has been met with shock and sadness.

Sisulu passed away on Thursday evening at her Linden, Johannesburg home. She was 92.

"It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Mrs Albertina Sisulu, an activist, a human rights campaigner, a nurse, a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and an individual whom many have called one of the mothers of the great nation of South Africa. Mrs Sisulu was a rock of the nation," the United States Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips said on Friday.

Sisulu has led protests against the apartheid government's passbook laws, while also being vocal against Bantu education. The 92 year-old had also served as a Member of Parliament.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her many friends and the people of South Africa. May we all continually work to honor her commitment to her country and the struggle though our own actions," said the Ambassador.

African National Congress spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, said Sisulu epitomised the struggle of the poor, women and the disenfranchised.

"While the family has lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, the ANC and the country have lost an irreplaceable leader, a role model and a constant reminder of dedication and selflessness. She embodied grace and humility," said the party, adding that she inspired a generation of leaders.

The Congress of the People also paid tribute to the stalwart, saying her activism was rooted in empathy for people.

"She remained resolute in her struggle for justice against the apartheid regime. She survived numerous incarcerations, intimidation by security forces and her family being separated by the duties of the liberation struggle. Albertina Sisulu was the living embodiment of 'you strike a woman, you strike a rock!'

"The Congress of the People joins with her family, friends, comrades and colleagues in mourning her loss to the people of South Africa, while acknowledging her invaluable contribution to the liberation of South Africa," party spokesperson Phillip Dexter said.

United Democratic Movement President Bantu Holomisa extended his condolences to the family, the ANC and friends of Sisulu.

"Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow. Mama Sisulu was a shining light in the struggle for liberation. We are eternally indebted to her for her monumental contribution to the freedom and democracy we now enjoy," said Holomisa.

The National Union of Mineworkers said Sisulu played a significant role in South Africa's liberation struggle.

"The National Union of Mineworkers dips its flag in honour of the struggle veteran MaSisulu and appreciates the role she played and the selflessness she displayed in our society. She will be sadly missed," said union spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) said it appreciated her relentless struggle to liberate people of the country, especially women and the role she played in unifying and transforming nursing.

"She was instrumental in the formation of our organisation Denosa, whose mission includes unifying and organising nurses under one umbrella," Denosa spokesperson Asanda Fongqo said.

"Ma Sisulu remains a benchmark of what nursing, leadership and motherhood should be. We are grateful for her humility, dedication, caring - these being some of the qualities that have embodied her life. Denosa and the nursing fraternity [send their] heartfelt condolences."

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane described Sisulu's passing with shock and disbelief.

"I would like to send sincere condolences to my family, the Sisulu family. It is a sad day for all of us that she is no more. However, I am grateful that I was brought up by this icon," she said of the woman who was involved in the launch of the Freedom Charter in 1955.

Funeral arrangements have not been finalised.