St George's Cathedral: Cape Town, 9th June 2011
Through many dark nights, Albertina Nontsikelelo
Sisulu was alone. Yet she never lost hope. Like the psalmist, she
said, "1. Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. 2. my
goodness is nothing apart from You. 3. As for the saints who are on
the earth, 'They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my
Albertina took delight in the children she raised,
both her own and the many who took refuge in her warmth and wisdom.
At a very dark point in our history, she shouldered the burden of
maintaining our fight. She refused to allow her spirit to be broken,
and her faith rebuilt the faith of others.
She lived, as believers do, in the hope of the
resurrection. As the psalmist said, "9. My flesh also will rest in
hope, 10. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol.". Her race was run
for the joy set before her, and I thank God we will meet again.
I was privileged to call Albertina a friend. When
I was a young man, just graduated from university, the Sisulus
offered me guidance. Walter Sisulu, together with Inkosi Luthuli and
Mr Mandela, encouraged me to take up my hereditary position as
Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan. I respected Mr Sisulu's opinion and
often leaned on his and his wife's wisdom.
History cast upon our generation the
responsibility of pursuing freedom. It was a long and very painful
journey which exacted a price from all of us.
For me, it was the cost of my reputation, battered
by the campaign of vilification. For Albertina, the cost was
It is a testimony to her unbreakable spirit that
her vision never shrank to fit the confines of her prison cell.
Thank God, she lived to see her vision accomplished; she lived to
Let us not mourn as those without hope. Let us
take comfort in knowing that Psalm 16 is hers again: "5. O LORD, You
are the portion of my inheritance and my cup. 6. The lines have fallen
to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance... 11. In
Your presence is fullness of joy..."