Zuma renames R24 after struggle hero

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kagiso - The R24 road has been renamed after the late anti-apartheid activist, Albertina Sisulu, as part of the 20 years of freedom celebrations and to mark the work done to improve the quality of life of South Africans, says President Jacob Zuma.

“Our daily travels on this road should not just be routine. It should be a time of constant reflection. Seeing Mama Sisulu’s name on the road should remind us of our responsibility to achieve what she fought for - a truly non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous South Africa,” said the President.

Zuma was addressing hundreds of residents who braved the rainy weather in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg on Sunday where he officially declared the R24 as the Albertina Sisulu Highway.

The struggle hero, who would have turned 95 today, died in June 2011.

“It is a befitting birthday salute and dedication to this important leader of our people, particularly under the theme of enhancing social cohesion, connecting cities, towns and people,” he said.

Albertina Sisulu Highway stretches from OR Tambo International Airport to the Johannesburg CBD, to Roodepoort and Leratong into the West, through the Randfontein CBD straight to the border of Gauteng and the North West Province.

The road is a vital economic corridor that links key freight and logistics hubs servicing the province.  

In line with the theme of integration, this road also links cities, municipalities, townships and people, allowing travellers to see the varied socioeconomic landscape of the cities, where extreme poverty thrives side by side with splendour.

“With these roads, we remember the unrelenting fight for socio-economic and political equality that Mama Albertina led in all her life, and that she also so naturally symbolised. It thus makes it relevant and worthwhile to name such an economic development artery after a leader of her calibre,” said Zuma.

Sisulu’s liberation struggle legacy

Sisulu was the only woman who attended the inaugural conference of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1944 and was part of the historic women’s march to the Union Buildings in 1956.

She was among those who felt the viciousness of apartheid laws in the early 1960s and was the first woman to be arrested under the General Laws Amendment Act of 1963, which made it possible for the police to hold suspects for 90 days without charging them.

The late struggle hero endured many years of house arrest, but her fight for democracy continued without relent - even when her husband was enduring a life imprisonment in Robben Island.

SA better place to live in

Zuma said nobody could dispute the fact that South Africa was now a much better place to live in than it was before 1994. However, government still had a lot of work to do in improving the quality of life of all.

Representing the Sisulu family, granddaughter Ntsiki Sisulu said her grandmother walked the then dusty streets of Soweto to deliver babies and teach new mothers how to take care of them.

“MaSisulu was a gentle, yet firm and guiding person. She loved all people and served with determination beyond the nursing profession and as a freedom fighter she fought relentlessly for the rights of women and children.” -  SAnews.gov.za

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