Anti-apartheid activist Sisulu gets official funeral

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2011 12:04 AM
Anti-apartheid activist Sisulu gets official funeral

By Peroshni Govender

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African government leaders attended an official funeral Saturday for Albertina Sisulu, a prominent figure in the former anti-apartheid movement and widow of an early mentor of Nelson Mandela.

President Jacob Zuma and other top aides took part in the memorial service for Sisulu in a 40,000-seat football stadium in Soweto, the black township near Johannesburg synonymous with the fight against white-minority rule.

Top military generals carried the coffin of Sisulu, who died nine days ago at age 92, and the stadium was packed with mourners singing hymns.

The 92-year-old was the widow of Walter Sisulu, who was one of Mandela's earliest mentors and was imprisoned with him for 25 years during the apartheid era that ended in the early 1990s.

Albertina Sisulu, a former nurse and community worker, was a founding member of the African National Congress's Women's League where she served as deputy president during apartheid.

Saturday's funeral was marked by personal tributes from family, friends and colleagues followed weeklong services and government tributes across the country.

The Sisulu family retains a high profile in South Africa's political landscape -- daughter Lindiwe Sisulu is the defense minister and son Max Sisulu is a member of parliament.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)