PRESS RELEASE: Walter Sisulu remembered
5 May 2013 is the tenth anniversary of the sad day in 2003 when South Africa lost one of its greatest heroes - Walter Sisulu.
Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu was born to a poor Xhosa family in Transkei (now Eastern Cape Province) to a black mother and white father in 1912, the year the ANC was formed. At 15, he left home for Johannesburg. During the 1930s he had several different jobs: gold miner, domestic worker, factory hand, kitchen worker, and bakers' assistant.
Walter Sisulu was an active Trade Unionist - he was fired from his bakery job in 1940 for organising a strike for higher wages, this is where he developed the militant streak that led him into the ANC in 1940 and the liberation movement.
Along with Mandela and 154 other South Africans, from all races, Sisulu was charged with treason in 1956. They were all acquitted after a five year trial which failed to neutralise the ANC leadership.
Even though comrades Sisulu was never president of the ANC, nor a member of parliament, nor receive praise from foreign governments or win the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize. However, he stood head and shoulders above others because of his humility and simplicity.
At the time of his passing he was as old as the ANC and one of its most important leaders. During the struggle against the apartheid regime, he helped to revitalise the movement in the 1940s and 1950s and inspired countless younger activists to join the liberation struggle. He contributed immensely to the transformation of the ANC into a militant liberation movement that spearheaded the defiance campaign and steered it into armed action against the oppressive regime.
He exemplified the qualities we need in our leaders more than ever today - selflessness and dedication to the struggle, and a willingness to make great sacrifices in order to transform the lives of working people and the poor.
We remember you Xhamela!
Vusumuzi Bhengu (The Shopsteward Editor)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or 010 219-1340
Fax: +27 11 339-6940
Mobile: +27 71 313 4870