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Monday, May 05, 2003

The legend lives on

Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu, working from behind the scenes, handcrafted South Africa's freedom alongwith Nelson Mandela and others. He spent over 25 years in prison on Robben Island with Mandela. Mandela's mentor and friend over the years, Walter Sisulu died at the age of 90 today.

To a group of children, Mandela said of Walter Sisulu:
"You will ask what is the reason for his elevated status among us. Very simple, it is humility. It is simplicity. Because he pushed all of us forward and remained quietly in the background."

From the early trade union strikes through the Defiance Campaign and onwards to freedom, Walter Sisulu orchestrated the symphony to a liberating finish. It is in tribute of people such as Walter Sisulu that I wrote one of my very first poems - "The Martyr". The final lines go:

Rise shalt he not from thy grave
Rise shalt he not from thy heavenly abode
But there shalt he dwell
In our hearts
Rising time and time again
Never to be ever forgotten.

The legend lives on.

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