Parliamentary Memorial Service of Mrs Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu
Tribute by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

 

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 delight.'."

 

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 separation.

 

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 see freedom.

 

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..."