Media release

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nelson Mandela Centenary and Centenary of Albertina Sisulu

08 May 2018

8 May 2018

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nelson Mandela Centenary and Centenary of Albertina Sisulu, Imbizo Media Centre, Cape Town

Programme Director
Members of the IMC present
Members of the media
Representatives of the Sisulu family
Representatives of the Nelson Mandela Foundation
Ladies and gentleman

The year 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of two of our struggle icons and heroes of our revolution who dedicated their lives in the struggle for freedom and contributed immensely to the birth of a new South African nation.

We celebrate the birth of the founding father of our democracy Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela under the theme: “Be the legacy”, as well as Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu one of the shining examples of our struggle who dedicated her life to the service of her people under the theme: “A Woman of fortitude.” These celebrations are a major milestone in the incredible story of both Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu in our nation’s journey to freedom and liberation.

In August 2017, the President of the Republic established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to plan for the celebration of the centenary of the birth of former President Nelson Mandela, and later a decision was taken that the celebration of the life of Mama Albertina Sisulu be incorporated in the work of this IMC. The IMC is working in close collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation as well as the Sisulu Family to ensure that government develops a successful centenary programme.

Today’s briefing seeks to invite individual South Africans and various sectors of our country as well as the international community, to join in this year-long celebration of two individuals who helped build the foundation for the South Africa’s democracy we enjoy today.

At the heart of our cooperation is strong intergovernmental coordination with the provinces of Gauteng and Eastern Cape where these two struggle stalwarts have deep roots and history.  Both provinces will detail their year-long celebrations.

The National Programme, announced today, will highlight a programme to be monitored by the IMC, which I have the immense privilege to chair. However, political, religious, labour and civil society organisations as well as government departments will also have many other activities to celebrate the much revered lives of Madiba and Ma Sisulu.

Ladies and gentleman, our appeal today is simple - let us use the Mandela and Ma Sisulu Centenary to recommit ourselves to their values and principles. South Africans must work together to remove all obstacles which still divide our society and strive to build on the many ties that bind us together. Together, we can combat racism‚ racial discrimination‚ Xenophobia and related intolerances on all fronts.

Ma Sisulu Comprehensive Centenary Programme

As we celebrate the memory of Albertina Sisulu as the “Woman of fortitude”, we urge all South Africans and the world at large to enhance her legacy. Ma Sisulu’s life was based on service with integrity and dignity. As a health worker, she never wavered from her values as a caring, professional nurse and midwife and led with humility, while upholding the human rights of others.

Ma Sisulu dedicated herself to nurturing and protecting children. She was committed to good quality education, insisting that the youth put education first even during their quest for a democratic, free, non-sexist and non-violent South Africa.

Given the current scourge of violence against women and children, let us be men and women of courage to speak out, seek help and support the vulnerable.

In this spirit, we call on all particular men of courage to publicly reject and call for an end to violence against women and children a sure sign of a violence free and caring society Ma Sisulu dreamed of.

The life of Mama Sisulu will be celebrated under the four following themes characterising her life:

(a) Health: leadership and service with integrity and dignity.

(b) Education and Youth: Educating the Youth to Awaken their Greatness,

(c) Children’s Rights: Nurture and Protect Children and,

(d) Women’s Rights: Be Woman of Courage.

Today we are happy to announce the following key milestone activities in celebrating the life of Albertina Sisulu:

1. 4th May 2018: Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health (ASELPH) Graduation Ceremony for 3rd Cohort

This is the graduation ceremony dedicated to Mama Sisulu. The programme represents a unique and novel academic and health-policy focused partnership between South Africa and international partners including the University of Fort Hare, the University of Pretoria (UP) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

2. The broadcasting of South African Love Story documentary of Albertina and Walter Sisulu

During this month of May the SABC will broadcast, South African Love Story documentary of Albertina and Walter Sisulu, which is a touching, real-life exploration of one of South Africa’s most celebrated couples, showing the deep personal cost that brought South Africa to its current triumphant harmony.

3. 19 May 2018, A Special Orchid named after Albertina Sisulu will be unveiled

The IMC is happy to announce that this May, a special Orchid named after Albertina Sisulu will be unveiled. This special orchid was first discovered in Gauteng in 1918, and last observed in 1956. A small colony of less than 120 individuals remaining, was rediscovered in 2007 on the foothills outside Mogale City (Krugersdorp) next to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. This orchid is very rare and currently only known from one remaining locality in Western Gauteng. The species is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) on the Red List of South African plants. The official naming ceremony to take place on the 19th of May 2018 in Gauteng.
4. June 2018, Big Debate Showcase on intergenerational dialogue on South African History

In June 2018 the Big Intergenerational dialogue with the #FeesMustFall leadership will converse about South Africa’s history, as well as the history of civil rights movements, feminism, and women who have been marginalised.

5. August 2018, The search for the living participants of the 1956 Women’s March

The IMC will be supporting the Sisulu family as they embark on a search for the living participants of the 1956 Women’s March. This will be done to package and share their stories and perspectives of the 1956 Women’s March. An official launch for this will be in August 2018 to coincide with Women’s Day Celebrations.

6. October 2018, Official launch of Mama Sisulu Centenary Month

During the October Centenary Month of Mama Sisulu, the following activities will unfold:

  • Church Celebration of Albertina Sisulu at the Orlando West Anglican Church;
  • The Albertina Sisulu Biography Launch;
  •  The Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health (ASELPH) Memorial Lecture & Symposium
  • Seminar on Ethical Leadership in the Health Sector
  • Memorial lecture on Albertina Sisulu the leader in health work and society
  • The ASELPH Fellows Alumni will host a breakfast on the memorial lecture in partnership with SABC Morning Live;
  • Albertina Sisulu Nursing Award, UJ: Annually awarded to the best nursing student, not just academically but also for community outreach.
  • Albertina Sisulu Award for Ethical Leadership in Nursing, University of Pretoria

Albertina Sisulu will forever be remembered as a fearless leader in the struggle and a mother to the South African Nation.

Nelson Mandela Programme

Former President Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa and during his inauguration, Madiba outlined his vision for the country.

He said: “We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity — a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.” Under his Presidency South Africa became an international beacon of freedom and democracy.

Nelson Mandela left an indelible mark on our society and the world at large and his legacy lives on in our commitment to ensure a just and fair society for all.

The centenary celebration aims to promote Madiba’s ethos of Ubuntu by advancing our collective unity, irrespective of race, creed and orientation.

As we celebrate this icon, we urge all South African citizens to “Be the Legacy”. The intention of the theme is to foreground characteristics and values for which former President Mandela was renowned for across the world: Madiba valued:  Integrity, Passion, Service, Transparency, Respect and Transformation.

The 100 year anniversary of his birth is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to his principles and build the nation we all envisioned at the birth of our democracy.

The celebration will extend across the African continent and the globe as the former President was one of the world’s most revered statesmen.

Today we would like to announce to you some of the key milestones of the comprehensive government programmes for public participation and promotion:

Mandela Fridays #MandelaFridays

This initiative seeks to remind all citizens about the power of selflessness, human service, giving and the spirit of Ubuntu. We encourage society at large to commemorate the Nelson Mandela Centenary through social activism and observe every last Friday of the month.

We encourage everyone from across the world to join on and show their support for #MandelaFridays on social media platforms.

What can people do to be part of Mandela Fridays?

a).  Help promote the love for education and make it fashionable:

  •  Buy a book for a child and help promote a reading culture
  •  Or consider funding a school uniform for a needy learner

b).  Encourage leadership and active citizenry amongst the youth:

  • Host lectures, seminars and round-table discussions about Madiba’s values
  • Groom and mentor someone at work, school or an upcoming entrepreneur

c). Protect children’s rights and well-being:

  • Visit orphanages, offer assistance and play with the children
  • Commit to sponsor or make meaningful donations to orphanages, kids safety houses and children’s hospitals
  • Promote and participate in the fight against child abuse

d).  Help to reduce poverty:

  •  If you are in business and can afford to hire someone, make that a priority
  • Plant food gardens for the less privileged and non-profit organisations
  • Help a graduate gain practical skills by offering internships and learnerships

e). Promote a value-based society by promoting culture and tradition:

  • Organise tours for the youth and elders in your community to visit heritage sites and help promote tourism
  • Promote African history by facilitating intergenerational dialogues where oral history, cultural practices and Ubuntu values can be taught

f). Promote an active and healthy lifestyle through sports:

  • Organise or host sports tournaments in honour of Madiba and donate proceeds from such activities to non-profit organisations. These can be held at work, schools or communities.

Read to Lead campaign – commencing in January and running until September 2018, the Department of Basic Education will run this storytelling initiative dedicated to Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu to improve language acquisition, literacy and communication skills amongst young children.

The National Youth Day 2018 – will be held in Limpopo and dedicated to the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela who saw youth as our nation’s greatest treasure.

The 2018 Comrades Marathon – will be dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

The 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture 2018 -The IMC is delighted to work together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture which will be delivered by the former president of the USA, Mr Barack Obama. The Lecture will take place at the Ellis Park Arena on 17 July 2018. You can bee participate by either attending the lecture or catching in live on various TV channels.

International Nelson Mandela Day – on 18 July 2018, government will hold a national event at NASREC, Gauteng, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day and the centenary of the birth of this international icon.  More details about this programme will be announced closer to the event.  On this day too in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, the 64th and final antenna of the SKA will be dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

Renaming of the Vanderkloof Dam after Tata Mandela – an event planned for September 2018.

The annual iNkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History Memorial Lecture dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu - will be hosted as part of Heritage Month celebrations, September 2018,

A highlight of the year-long programme will take place at the United Nations in New York in September 2018:

  • The Nelson Mandela Tribute Seminar and Dinner - will take place on the margins of the UN General Assembly and there will be the unveiling of a statue of Nelson Mandela in the UN complex.

Also in September 2018, a bust of Nelson Mandela will be unveiled in Havana Cuba, in the Park of African Heroes.

  • The Nelson Mandela Football Challenge - 29 September 2018.  Our sporting fraternity is planning an active celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela who loved sport and who epitomised the unifying role sport has in our national life.  Banyana Banyana will on 11 September 2018 play the Nelson Mandela Football Challenge while the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate (Rugby) will be played between the Springboks and Australia on dedicated to Madiba on 28 September 2018 at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
  • The 2018 Big Walk coordinated by Sport and Recreation South Africa - on 7 October 2018, this major annual national event will be dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

The IMC will keep the nation abreast of unfolding details.  It would be prudent at this point to mention the work done by   the Public Broadcaster, the SABC, which is broadcasting promotions on the life and times of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu on their airwaves.  Soapies like, 7 de laan, Isidingo and Generations the legacy, are also paying tribute to Madiba and Ma Sisulu in their storylines.

This year, we have already seen events highlighting the upcoming centenary celebration. These include the unveiling of the new R5 Mandela centenary coin, the massive Madiba portrait made with blankets knitted by inmates and can be seen from outer space. The South African Post Office and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have also launched a special stamp commemorating the life and legacy of Mandela.

In conclusion

Today marks 70 days to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Day on 18 July 2018.

Government calls on all South Africans and the international community to join in the centenary celebrations in their workplaces, schools, churches and civic organisations, as we reflect on the immense contribution these icons and global figures bequeathed our fledgling democracy.  Ours is to build on the foundations they laid.

Finally, we are proud to present to you the brand identity for the two campaigns and encourage you to make every use of this material provided by government for your own materials and commemorations.

Follow the conversations on:  

Twitter: @GovernmentZA @NelsonMandela @MaSisulu100

Facebook: South African Government Website:

#BeTheLegacy and #Mandela100 as well as #MaSisulu100

Issued by Government Communication and Information System

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