Motion of Condolence on the Passing of Mrs Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu Contribution by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

 

National Assembly: Cape Town, 9th June 2011  

The news of Albertina Sisulu's passing last Thursday left me with a sense of enormous loss. I and my wife, Princess Irene, considered her a friend. But of course, she was much more; she was one of the mothers of our democratic nation, birthing freedom through her unbending faith and convictions.

 

It is true that there is no one more deserving of the title "Mother of our Nation". Albertina blessed us with her strength, both as an individual and in partnership with her beloved husband, Walter Sisulu. They will remain South African icons.

 

Albertina and Walter were an inspiration to me from a young age, not only in their politics but in their marriage. Indeed, they gave us a love story that underpinned everything they accomplished.

 

I shall forever be grateful to Mr Walter Sisulu for the guidance he gave me as a young man when he, together with Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Mr Nelson Mandela, advised me to take up my hereditary position as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan. That was more than half a century ago, but it began a lifetime of leadership for me. Throughout the years that followed, I often leant on the wisdom of men like Walter Sisulu.

 

Thus Albertina became someone I respected and admired, for she so ably complimented her husband's strengths and supported him through the many dark nights of incarceration, suffering and exile. In the midst of their fight for our freedom, Albertina managed to raise children of whom she and Walter could later be very proud.

 

I thank God that she lived to see our freedom and to serve in a democratic Parliament; which she did as she did everything else, with distinction and integrity. I am also grateful that, in the last seventeen years of her life, South Africa could honour her and her husband for the more than seventy years they gave to the liberation struggle. She deserved every accolade we gave her.

 

But the praises we bestowed on her in life, and those we pour upon her memory now, pale in significance to the crown she received as she stepped into eternity.

 

May the Lord comfort Albertina's children and grandchildren; for in truth they are many. While our condolences go to the Sisulu family, we know that across our nation there are countless South Africans who consider themselves children and grandchildren of Albertina Sisulu, because they sheltered in her care and thrived under her warmth.

 

We thank the Sisulu family for giving us their mother.