Minister blasts ANC for Mandela bias
Deputy transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga blasted the ANC-led government for focusing too much on former Nelson Mandela’s centenary celebrations and doing little for struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu.
Sisulu would have turned 100 years old on Sunday.
Chikunga delivered the Albertina Sisulu Memorial Lecture at the Resource Centre in Mthatha on Sunday where she bemoaned the state’s bias towards Mandela.
“Why is it that if we have two heroes, a male and a female, who are celebrating 100 years, but the whole year is about Nelson Mandela and only in October we seem to have woken up and say ‘let’s celebrate Ma Sisulu’.
“Not being able to celebrate our own, our women, is an indictment against us,” said Chikunga.
“We have the international Nelson Mandela Day on July 18, but we are failing to celebrate Ma Sisulu on her birthday – October 21, why?”
Chikunga said Sisulu’s contribution in the fight against apartheid was somewhat downplayed.
“Ma Sisulu was banned for a total of 18 years, longer than any other activist in the history of the movement. But we don’t know this, we don’t tell these stories and we need to tell them again and again. You know why? I’m going to mention this again, it was that very quiet leadership that she provided that made her not look for the spotlight,” she said, describing Sisulu as a rare breed who managed to balance political life, professional life as nurse and family life.
Chikunga called on women to be agents of change.
Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana said the provincial department will rename its new building in King William’s Town after Ma Sisulu and also donate satellite police station to Quthubeni village in Ngcobo.
Sisulu was one of the main organisers of the historic August 1956 protest march where 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings against the pass laws. In 1963 Sisulu became the first woman to be detained under the notorious 90-day detention law.
The deputy minister said to honour Sisulu, predominately male-dominated fields must be transformed.
“We then must ask ourselves how much are we doing as the government of Ma Sisulu to ensure that the door is opened for women to enter into these spaces that are historically male driven?”..