Biography of Albertina Sisulu. Prominent leader in the African National Congress and ‘Mother of the Nation’. Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu was a political activist, nurse and born on 21 October into the Thethiwe family in a village called Xolobe in the. Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu (born ) was one of the most important women leaders of the anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa. She was a leader of the.

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In the mids – after the ANC leadership had either been arrested or gone into exile and its underground movement had been smashed by the security branch, after she’d seen her husband sent away to Robben Island for life – she began picking up the pieces. When she still refused, she was told she would die in her cell sisklu never see her children or Walter again.

She was affectionately sisulj as Ma Sisulu throughout her lifetime by the South African public. You have got to carry a big suitcase full of bottles and for your lotions that you are going to use, and bowls and receivers, and we used to carry those alnertina on our heads,” she said. Banning orders meant she albertima not go to meetings or leave the district. Originally published in the Britannica Book of the Year.

She recruited nurses to go to Tanzania, to replace Biiography nurses apbertina left after Tanzanian independence. Sisulu and her family were residents of Orlando West, SowetoSouth Africa, when it was established. Albertina was called on to give testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, which some hoped would incriminate Winnie. She spent three weeks in jail before being acquitted on pass charges, with Nelson Mandela as her lawyer.


In July her banning order was renewed for another five years and in addition she was placed under partial house arrest. No one more symbolised and indeed personified the heroic struggle of South African women against apartheid than she did, and few women were called on albergina make greater sacrifices.

Walter was arrested during biograpjy police raid at the ANC hide-out at Liliesleaf farm while she was inside. After Aprilwhen he went underground to head the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe Spear of the Nationshe became the breadwinner, supporting from her meagre nurse’s salary their three sons, Max, Mlungisi, Zwelakhe, two daughters, Lindiwe and Nonkululeko, adopted children Gerald and Beryl, several nephews and nieces and, later, grandchildren.

You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. They threatened that she would be held for as long as it took to make her talk, and her children would be taken over by the state.

The Mnyila family was very happy and celebrated Sisulu’s achievement with the entire village, Sisulu recalls that the celebration saying “you would have thought it was a wedding”. Several of the Sisulu children have themselves become leaders in the democratic South Africa.

Albertina Sisulu

She was accepted as a trainee nurse at a Johannesburg “Non-European” hospital called Johannesburg General. Discover some of the most interesting and trending topics of Thank You for Your Contribution!


Archived from the original on 7 June The state persecuted Albertina relentlessly. Man fills up petrol tank using fake cash – then drives off! A second honeymoon was taken in a Black Sea dacha after an official visit to the Kremlin.

Sisulu has witnessed first-hand the development of the community where the Sisulu family lived, sorely lacking in social services and despite enormous obstacles, has committed herself to alleviating the hardships of the community.

She was repeatedly arrested, sometimes under the Terrorism Act, which allowed detention without trial; sometimes on trumped-up charges. There were massive protests. Everywhere she went, they were there, leering at her – on the train down to Cape Town, in the boat. Throughout the long nightmare that enveloped her during the struggle years, she behaved with unflinching dignity, integrity, grace, courage and compassion.

Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Later, inwhen the Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigated claims that Winnie Mandela had ordered his killing, Albertina was called to testify but gave no incriminating evidence.

Unlike most articles on Britannica.

Albertina Sisulu obituary | World news | The Guardian

She was also jailed and held in solitary confinement for up to seven months at a time. It is more powerful than anything you say.

That October, Walter was released. Albertina was regarded by many as the mother of the nation.