Pretoria – South Africans should honour the memory of the late struggle icon Albertina Sisulu by emulating the example she set, says Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Paying tribute to MaSisulu in Durban on Wednesday, Dlamini Zuma called on the nation to follow her example by leading revolutionary lives while displaying discipline, honesty, dedication and humility – just like MaSisulu did.
“The onus is upon this generation to take the lessons learned by those that fought for us to be freely gathered here today – to mourn her yes, but more importantly to emulate her.
“To strive to embody the characteristics that she possessed – bravery, integrity, discipline, humility and service to others,” she added.
MaSisulu died last Thursday at her Linden, Johannesburg, home, at the age of 92.
The minister recalled the commitment MaSisulu showed to the country, which saw her undergo decades of mistreatment – which included years of police harassment, detention, banning orders, the imprisonment of her husband and exile of her children – at the hands of the apartheid government.
MaSisulu understood that the harassment of her own family was an integral part of the broader oppression and exploitation of the rest of the people of our country, Dlamini Zuma noted.
The minister said MaSisulu was much more than just a leader. “She was far far more than that. Her leadership skills were combined with a quiet dignity, a formidable resilience and a gentle stubbornness that was the bane of the apartheid regime and the salvation of many a comrade,” she noted.
MaSisulu belonged to a generation of leaders who were “distinguishable by nothing but the humility and selfless sacrifice which epitomises” the ANC.
It was thanks to that generation, of which MaSisulu was one of the principal leaders, that the seeds of equality and justice were planted, she added.
“Every single citizen of the free and democratic South Africa in which we reside today, owes no small measure of gratitude to MaSisulu.
“For what she did – the sacrifices she made, sacrifices that her own family suffered greatly for as a result, were not for merely a movement but for an ideal. An ideal that led in the South Africa that we know and love today,” Dlamini Zuma said.
The Sisulu family could draw inspiration from the knowledge that the nation shared in its pain and sorrow, she added.
Dlamini Zuma said MaSisulu would be missed and that her outstanding contribution to the country would continue to shine as a beacon of hope.
“Your contribution to South Africa will never be forgotten. It is all around us. It is in the fact that we may go where we please, love whom we chose, be educated wherever we want, and every five years exercise our democratic right to vote.
“These are among the freedoms that you could not enjoy for the better part of your life …freedoms that we all, black and white, enjoy today, because you dared to struggle,” she added.
Dlamini Zuma also paid tribute to the role MaSisulu played as a nurse, wife and mother. – BuaNews