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Johannesburg was the adopted home of Albertina Sisulu, who came to the city from her birthplace in Eastern Cape. Now the city mourns “our beloved mother”.
THE City honours Albertina Sisulu’s memory and will continue to follow the example she has set, Executive Mayor Parks Tau has said in his tribute to the late struggle icon.

 

Executive mayor Parks TauJoburg honours MaSisulu's memory, says executive mayor Parks TauMaSisulu, as she was affectionately known, died at her home in Linden on 2 June.
 

“On behalf of the City of Johannesburg council and residents of Johannesburg, I wish to send our deepest condolences to her children, grandchildren and extended family. The City of Johannesburg honours her memory and will continue to follow the example she has set.”

Tau said the people of Johannesburg had received with great sadness the news of the passing of “our beloved mother”, MaSisulu at the age of 92.

“Together with her husband, our Freedom of the City Award recipient, the late Tata Walter Sisulu, MaSisulu was a stalwart of the struggle for liberation and human rights in South Africa and she symbolised everything that is good about our democratic dispensation,” he said.

She inspired a successive generation of activists and her commitment to the cause of freedom never wavered, despite continuous attempts to silence her voice. “Our lives have been enriched by the contribution MaSisulu has made in the fields of politics, governance, healthcare and the work she has done among women and children,” said Tau.

Tau is among many leaders who have paid tribute to MaSisulu. She lived in Johannesburg for most her life, although she was born in Camama in Eastern Cape, in 1918.

She moved to the city when she was 23, where she worked as a midwife. It was in Joburg that she met Walter, whom she married in 1944 at the age of 26.

Through Walter’s involvement in politics, Albertina joined the Women’s League in 1949. From 1958, she was in and out of jail for her anti-apartheid activities, much of it in solitary confinement. In 1981, at the age of 63, she was arrested again and tried for furthering the aims of the ANC. She was sentenced to four years imprisonment, but only served 17 months.

There are many ways in which Johannesburg has honoured the Sisulus, one of the most beautiful is the sculpture of the parents of the nation, sitting contentedly in the CBD, with an air of quiet happiness, smiling gently at each another.

The sculpture was erected by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) on the intersection of Diagonal, Ntemi Piliso and Market streets. It is an enduring reminder of their place in our history.

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