Celebrating A Woman of Fortitude Mama Sisulu

Date: Jul 24, 2018

Mama Sisulu

Celebrating A Woman of Fortitude – Mama Sisulu (1918 – 2018)

Johannesburg, 5 July 2018 –  The 21st October, 2018 marks the centenary of Albertina Sisulu’s birth, a woman who selflessly devoted her life to South Africa’s liberation struggle. She was not only a mother to her children, but the ‘Mother of the Nation’ who through her political activism and profession as a nurse immensely contributed towards our democracy and whose commitment and passion for the people of South Africa – seven years after her death – continues to live on.

Born Nontsikelelo Albertina Thethiwe in the Tsomo district of the former Bantustan Transkei on 21 October 1918, Ma Sisulu’s life journey continues to be an important one, anchored by four fundamental principles she lived by – service with integrity, dignity and leadership within the health sector, awakening the greatness of the South Africa youth through education, nurturing and protecting all children as well as championing the rights of women across all spheres.

As the world commemorates this struggle stalwart’s centenary, the Sisulu Family, together with the South African government, call upon all in South Africa to be active citizens and celebrate a life well-lived by sowing the seed she planted.  ‘At the core of the Sisulu Family is preserving and continuing Gogo’s legacy, which is epitomised by selflessness and passion for not only our land’s people but that of people across the globe,’ explains Sisulu’s granddaughter Ntsiki Sisulu Singapi. ‘As we mark her centenary, we encourage all South Africans to come together to celebrate this powerhouse and continue in her footstep by doing their bit to realise Gogo’s vision.’


As a true advocate of children’s rights Ma Sisulu’s commitment to justice and equality saw her defiantly turn her home into a place of learning in an effort to shield the youth from the inferior Bantu Education system – because she believed they deserved better.  The school was swiftly shut down by the apartheid authorities, but Ma Sisulu continued to defy the system at every turn.

She was the epitome of courage, utilising the little she had to protect and safe guard women who faced detention, house arrests and banning, and stayed committed to the freedom of all in South Africa.   Audacious tales of her ingenuity and valor include accounts of how she used her role as a midwife to smuggle messages to underground freedom fighters by transporting written notes in newborn infant’s swaddling cloths from one safe house to another, under the guise of moving the baby to a temporary dwelling with a relative.  The astonished recipients would gratefully receive the message, and be left with the task of connecting with the newborns real parents to return the baby!

 One of South Africa’s fiercest liberation heroes, Ma Sisulu’s centenary coincides with that of Nelson Mandela’s.  As a true reflection of their brotherly-sisterly bond, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the former President Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, the Sisulu family and Nelson Mandela Foundation will be rolling-out a series of activities, designed around the centenarians’ shared values.  “Let us use the Mandela and Ma Sisulu Centenary to recommit ourselves to their values and principles. South Africans must work together to remove all obstacles which still divide our society and strive to build on the many ties that bind us together. Together, we can combat racism‚ racial discrimination‚ Xenophobia and related intolerances on all fronts.” says Jeff Radebe, Minister of Energy and chairperson of the IMC.

The Albertina Sisulu Centenary will be anchored under the theme ‘A Woman of Fortitude’ and aim to unpack and demonstrate four fundamental themes, which Ma Sisulu committed her life towards achieving, namely:

  • Health –Leadership and Service with Integrity and Dignity
  • Education & Youth –Educating the Youth to Awaken to their Greatness
  • Children’s rights –Nurture and Protect Children Today for a Better Tomorrow
  • Women's Rights –Be Women of Courage


For a detailed programme of events of the Albertina Sisulu Centenary, log onto and follow #MaSisulu100 on Facebook/Twitter, as follows:

Facebook: Albertina Sisulu Centenary

Instagram: @MaSisulu100

Twitter: @MaSisulu100

Released on behalf of the Sisulu family by Dreamcatcher.

Contact:               Marang Setshwaelo, 011 447 5655/ 082 559 1802,

                                Koketso Phala 011 447 5655 / 073 666 7135,



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