13 June 2011
South Africans should learn from Albertina Sisulu the need to continue promoting non-racialism, social cohesion and inclusiveness in the country, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“Having been part of the drawing up of the Freedom Charter in 1955, Mama participated in the cementing of the seeds of non-racialism in our country and in the congress movement,” Zuma said in his address to mourners at the late struggle stalwart’s funeral in Johannesburg.
It was through people like MaSisulu that the clause “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white”, later found its way into the country’s Constitution, making it the responsibility of every South African to promote non-racialism, social cohesion and unity.
Zuma further urged young South Africans to learn from Mama Sisulu “the values of respect for the next person, selflessness, patriotism and commitment to making this country a better place.
“Our youth must strive for excellence and progress so that they can be rightful beneficiaries of Mama Sisulu’s legacy and that of all the heroes of the South African national democratic revolution,” he said.
He went on to say that it was heartening that the nation bade farewell to Sisulu on the first anniversary of the start of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.
“On this day last year, the country displayed what Mama Sisulu had been striving for all her life … We witnessed unprecedented explosions of patriotism and endless national celebrations. We all felt very proud to be South Africans, and we have no doubt that as a nation, we made our mother very proud as well.”
Zuma said South Africa will always remember Mama Sisulu’s love of children, her commitment in ensuring the inclusion of children’s rights in the country’s Constitution.
“It is not surprising that she took a keen interest in children’s health, and promoted the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Unit at a Johannesburg hospital.
“Indeed, there are many lessons that this wise and wonderful stalwart has left for us. She taught us to rise above political differences and focus on the good of the country and its people.”