Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, also known as Mama Sisulu, died on June 2, 2011 at the age of 92. She believed that every life mattered and worked tirelessly to restore human rights and dignity for those harmed by apartheid. During apartheid Masisulu survived repeated detention and solitary confinement. Her husband, Walter, spent 7 years as a political prisoner on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, and others.
Masisulu qualified as a midwife in 1954 and worked in Johannesburg’s townships for the health department. She joined the ANC Women’s League in 1949 and became the first deputy president of the organization in 1991. The South African government will give her an official funeral for her many contributions to the country’s struggle for liberation.
Her funeral will be held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday June 11th. Albertina Sisulu will be buried at Coerus Cemetery in Johannesburg next to her husband Walter. Foreign dignitaries who will attend the funeral include the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Pakalitha Mosisili, Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, and the Namibian National Assembly Speaker Theo-Ben Gurirab. Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Michel, will present his farewell during the funeral ceremony.