Kerry Kennedy Statement on the Passing of Albertina Sisulu
On behalf of the Kennedy family, I express my deepest sympathy to the family of Albertina “Ma” Sisulu, devoted humanitarian and beloved anti-apartheid activist. Her passing is a poignant loss for her family, for the people of South Africa, for human rights activists around the world.
Ma leaves behind a legacy of heroism, namely in South Africa’s fight against apartheid, in her capacities as an activist, as a politician, as a devoted wife and mother, and as a warm and loving friend.
Through her foundation, she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of children and of the elderly for decades. As a young member of the African National Congress (ANC), Ma marched along with 20,000 women to protest the apartheid government’s pass laws. And most remarkably, while her husband and other leaders of the ANC were held on Robben Island for over 20 years, she not only sustained her family, she reached across her nation and around the world to sustain the hopes of those working for freedom and justice.
In June 1966, in his “Day of Affirmation Address” at Capetown University, Robert F. Kennedy said “Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”
We mourn the loss of this woman of resilience and might, the very personification of moral courage.