An inspirational leader. An activist. A passionate educator. A philanthropist. A woman, inspired by the idea that one can change the world, the idea that one can change the existing conditions of the people – that all South Africans are treated equal. A champion of the rights and emancipation of women.
These were some of the words used to describe late struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu, one of the leaders of the historic women’s march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 August 1956 and anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa, at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Thursday, 16 August 2018.
As part of commemorating Women’s Month, the University and the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation paid tribute to and reflected on the legacy Ma Sisulu left behind to all South Africans via a women’s month dialogue, under the theme When Women Organise.
Conversations on pragmatic ways forward on how to harness the immense power of women took centre stage as panelists, which included South African politicians, Ambassador Thenjiwe Mtintso, Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi; and renowned South African journalist and author, Thandeka Gqubule tackled the issues facing women today.
Ms Fraser-Moleketi called for a women’s movement to ensure that South Africa develops a strong feminist movement in honour of Alertina Sisulu, pointing out the need for far-reaching changes in in gender parity. “We as women can yoke the energy of Ma Sisulu and channel that into solutions to the challenges of 2018 and beyond,” said Ms Fraser-Moleketi.
During the opening remarks, Professor Angina Parekh, UJ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic pointed out that the University, in 2017, awarded Albertina Sisulu an honorary doctorate in acknowledgement of her revolutionary role in pre-1994 South Africa.
“Indeed, 2018 is a moment in time! It is a year our country honours the legacies of both Ma Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, for their contribution to fighting for freedom. They would have both turned 100 years old this year. The wisdom of the country’s elders and the courage of the youth, compel all South Africans to envision a better country. ”