"From the first moment a female dared to speak that hope---dared to believe that the American Dream was meant for her too---ordinary women have taken on extraordinary odds to give their daughters the chance for something else; for a life more equal, more free, and filled with more opportunity than they ever had. In so many ways we have succeeded, but in so many areas we have much more work left to do."
President Barack Obama
Many mothers gave birth to children
who came from their own womb
But those children were reared,
And nurtured by the Mother of our Nation
Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu
A mother of great beauty
A mother of great stature
A mother of great power and strength
Yet soft to the core
A mother highly favored by God
A mother who's children and her husband(the father of our nation) called her BLESSED!
A mother who's name means blessing
Compassionate beyond measure
People from all walks of life
Could go to the Sisulu home and feel at home!
It is written that;
"It was with Walter that she attended the first conference of the ANC Youth League where Albertina Sisulu was the only women present. In 1948 she joined the ANC Women’s League and in the 1950s she began to assume a leadership role – both in the ANC and in the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW). She was one of the organizers of the historic anti-pass Women’s March in 1956 and opposed inferior `Bantu’ education. Her home in Orlando West in Soweto was used as a classroom for alternative education until a law was passed against it.
Both Albertina and her husband were jailed several times for their political activities and she was constantly harassed by the Security Police."
Yet through all of this Ma Sisulu remained our pillar of strength.
Some people wanted to be legally adopted by the Parents of our Nation because they felt the deep seated love. Their wish was granted. (Glee)
Ma Sisulu nurtured other mothers, thus they became spiritual partners, they joined forces in the fight against apartheid. They were unbreakable!
She stands tall and bold yet soft and gentle to the core!
She breast fed us from her royal breast
She is the craddle of human kindness!
She always had the nation's best interest at heart regardless of what was happening in her personal life.
I read that her first trip overseas was in June 1989. There she would meet the French first lady Dinielle Mitterrand, President George Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
It is said that she had two things in mind. Upon meeting them she said;
"My request is for strengthening sanctions against our country and another will be about the children who are going to be hanged. I want the heads of state to force our government to give those children clemency."
All of us felt safe and uplifted by the sheer presence of Ma Sisulu. One knew for sure that there was a mother who will fight for you whether she knew you or not. A mother who will feed you and establish you in the land of your ancestors. The night she passed on I couldn't sleep, so I woke up and went to my praying partner. I felt that something really big was happening, but I didn't know what it was. (This is the same feeling I had when Grandfather Mandela was finally going to his last home.) Until the first newspapers were delivered at five that morning informing us that
Ma Sisulu had passed on. That evening I was given a book as a gift about spiritual partnership. It is clear to me that it was a gift from Ma Sisulu since the person who gave it to me can't read english. This is also the period where my body was fragile having suffered severely while shielding others from danger. I feel that Ma Sisulu understood clearly was I was going through since her own daughter Minister Lindiwe Sisulu (who's is utterly brilliant, graceful and principled) was held in solitary confinement and tortured severely.
She informed us that;
"They used to pull her by her hair and knock her against a wall."
And when she was finally released from jail;
"She would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night , put on all the lights and say,
Mama get up, the police are surrounding the house. They have come to arrest me again."
I read that the minister said the worst torture she suffered was psychological. Her mother says she was hospitalized for two months. And this is what millions of children are going through in some churches. With no resources I seriously have no idea how their lives will be completely restored. God shielded me from the worst, gradually I was completely healed and restored psychologically, physically and emotionally. One speaks of these experiences in order to awaken masses, in order to save others from the dangers that are out there which they may not know exist. Above all one seeks to encourage humanity to return to love and ubuntu, because it is our only saving grace. I write this note on Memorial Day, a few days after a 22 year old murdered a group of students in Santa Barbara. It is reported that he felt rejected. Love will cure all these social ills.
"Humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die...If the structure of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction."
So what do we do now to make things better in our lives and make things better in the lives of others?
"We have both an inner and an outer purpose, according to Tolle. Our outer purpose changes with circumstances and necessarily involves time, whereas our inner purpose remains always the same: It is to be absolutely present in whatever we do and so let our actions be guided and empowered by awareness, the awakened consciousness, rather than controlled by the egoic mind. We fulfill our destiny and realize our purpose when we awaken to who we are: conscious Presence.
Grandfather Mandela's farewell letter to Ma Sisulu epitomizes a life lived well, a life of purpose, a life of a hero who served until the last days of her life on earth,always humane and peaceful. A hero who changed the lives of many for the better.
"Ntsiki, dear Sister
Your children and grandchildren came to inform me of your passing away and instead of me comforting them in this hour of loss and grief, they had to comfort and console me.
It is difficult to describe the pain and sadness in my heart as I bid goodbye to a dear friend and comrade, a sister with whom I shared so much over a lifetime. You are so much more than a comrade; you are part of my being – you and Walter.
It was in your house that I found my first love Evelyn, mother of four of my children. It was from Walter’s hand that I married for the first time. You Ntsiki, loved and cared for my children as if they came from the same womb as your own. I take this special occasion to express my deep gratitude to you.
The years have taken their toll as one by one friends and comrades passed on. Every time it feels as a part of oneself is being cut off. None of those cuts could have been more painful than the loss of this dear friend, you, my beloved sister.
Over the last couple of days much has been said by a diversity of people about your life and work. You are indeed one of the greatest South Africans.
You provided leadership and exercised power with quiet dignity. Through your selflessness and dedication, through your moral authority and sincere humility – during and after the struggle – you rightly earned to be the mother of all our people. I hope that our cadres and people in general, will cherish your qualities, learn from them, and emulate them in their own lives and conduct.
I embrace every one of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with love. They have each done your family and memory such pride themselves. I hope that our families will remain shoulder to shoulder, as we as parents have done, during this time of grief and beyond.
I would have loved to be here today to pay my personal respects, but it would be too painful for me to see you go. You are joining our distinguished loved ones Walter, Oliver, Adelaide, Govan, Lillian, Helen and others. Now, I smile when I imagine how you all join hands and hold a leadership caucus and look down on us from an ANC branch – always with the unity of our nation and the progress of our continent at the top of the agenda.
Hambakahle, Ntsiki. Thank you for your love and the life we shared.
A big hug to all our comrades
If I were to ask for Ma Sisulu's last advise I image her saying;
"Service is the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time." Marian Wright Edelman
Finally she would say;
"Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love---you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer."
Thank You Ma Sisulu. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for your love, dedication and selflessness. You and many of your dear comrades sacrificed much to preserve, to restore dignity and to bestow equal opportunities to all. This is the gift that we cherish dearly which will yield much fruit for those who honor it.
May God Bless your spirit eternally.
May the grace of God be with us for all time to come.