Source: The office of Nelson Madela
Title: SA: Mandela: Speech by former President of South Africa, delievred by Graca Machel, at the funeral of Albertina Sisulu, Soweto
Ntsiki, dear Sister
Your children and grandchildren came to inform me of your passing away and instead of me comforting them in this hour of loss and grief, they had to comfort and console me.
It is difficult to describe the pain and sadness in my heart as I bid goodbye to a dear friend and comrade, a sister with whom I shared so much over a lifetime. You are so much more than a comrade; you are part of my being – you and Walter.
It was in your house that I found my first love Evelyn, mother of four of my children. It was from Walter’s hand that I married for the first time. You Ntsiki, loved and cared for my children as if they came from the same womb as your own. I take this special occasion to express my deep gratitude to you.
The years have taken their toll as one by one friends and comrades passed on. Every time it feels as a part of oneself is being cut off. None of those cuts could have been more painful than the loss of this dear friend, you, my beloved sister.
Over the last couple of days much has been said by a diversity of people about your life and work. You are indeed one of the greatest South Africans.
You provided leadership and exercised power with quiet dignity. Through your selflessness and dedication, through your moral authority and sincere humility – during and after the struggle – you rightly earned to be the mother of all our people. I hope that our cadres and people in general, will cherish your qualities, learn from them, and emulate them in their own lives and conduct.
I embrace every one of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with love. They have each done your family and memory such pride themselves. I hope that our families will remain shoulder to shoulder, as we as parents have done, during this time of grief and beyond.
I would have loved to be here today to pay my personal respects, but it would be too painful for me to see you go. You are joining our distinguished loved ones Walter, Oliver, Adelaide, Govan, Lillian, Helen and others. Now, I smile when I imagine how you all join hands and hold a leadership caucus and look down on us from an ANC branch – always with the unity of our nation and the progress of our continent at the top of the agenda.
Hambakahle, Ntsiki. Thank you for your love and the life we shared.
A big hug to all our comrades