The late anti-Apartheid and human rights activist Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu was born Nontsikelelo Thethiwe in the village of Camama in the Tsomo district of South Africa’s Transkei region, on October 21st, 1918 Both Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu who she married in 1944 were born not to far from Albertina’s birth place Like Mandela, the name ‘Albertina’ came about as a result of Sisulu attending a colonial missionary school Affectionately referred to as ‘Ma Sisulu’ or ‘Mother of the nation’ by many South Africans, Albertina Sisulu trained as a nurse – one of the few means of employment for African women outside of domestic work In 1940 she left the Transkei for Johannesburg to begin her training as a nurse at a non-European hospital It was in the highly segregated and fast-paced urban ‘City of Gold’ that Albertina Sisulu experienced racism for the first time It was also here that she would meet the man who would become her life-long partner and the man that would introduce her to politics and the anti-apartheid struggle Walter Sisulu,Albertina Sisulu would go on to be involved in many anti-apartheid groups movements and events such as the ANC Women’s League the Defiance Campaign against pass laws for women and the Pietermaritzburg Treason Trial Her husband Walter Sisulu was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe the anti-terrorist armed wing of the ANC co-founded by Nelson Mandela and would later be imprisoned at Robben Island in the mid-1960s up until 1989 She would also along with Communist Party member John Nkadimeng, set up an underground cell to help ANC members leave South Africa for training and education in other parts of the continent and the world Her incredible instincts also helped the ANC weed out informants such as John Mavuso who had been leaking information about the ANC and this underground cell to the apartheid police,From her political involvement in the ANC that began in the late 1940s and despite being served several banning orders throughout her life up until her in 2011 Albertina Sisulu would serve as a prominent leader in the anti-apartheid struggle and the women’s liberation movement in South Africa winning several humanitarian awards In 1994 after South Africa’s first democratic elections both her and her husband served as members of parliament, and in the same year the pair celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Sadly in 2002 Walter Sisulu passed away after collapsing in Albertina’s arms
Albertina passed away at the couple’s Linden, Johannesburg home on June 2nd, 2011


July 25th is the International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women Day: The day to celebrate the resistance to racism and sexism of black women in Latin American and the Caribbean

With the establishment of neoliberal capitalist development models and their policies of exclusion that only further degrade the living conditions of the oppressed in recent years people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean have seen their historically compromised status grow even worse As a result, poverty and marginalization increasingly affect this population even more severely, hindering their access to the resources needed to live in dignity and to participate in the benefits of development However, this discrimination tends to be hidden and ignored by the rest of the population and even by social movements claiming to defend the rights of all people
In fact black women endure an even greater impact compared to men of African descent as the factor of gender intersects with race/ethnicity worsening their situation of segregation And discovering proof of this double discrimination has led black women to raise their voices to demand that their agenda and social demands be met with specific and necessary remedies at appropriate levels including within the black movement African-descendant women have also brought their situation to the attention of the feminist movement urging their sisters to take up and endorse urgent priorities for black women
Recent decades have seen the emergence of many networks and coalitions of black women working to promote and establish strategies for action and collaborating efforts In this context following the First Meeting of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women in the Dominican Republic in 1992 the date of July 25 was established as the International Day of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women. Since then, this date has served as a mechanism for increasing awareness about the oppression of gender and race/ethnicity as experienced by millions of women in our region especially in those countries where African-descendant women constitute a high percentage of the total population. The most representative cases are Brazil and the Caribbean although there are populations of African descendants throughout in most of our region
Moreover on the international scene it is important to highlight the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban South Africa in 2001where the problems and needs of the African diaspora were recognized and explicitly linked to presence of a deeply engrained structural racism.At this international event led by the United Nations people of African descent and women in particular were identified as a priority sector in the fight against racism, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance
The International Day of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women is an opportunity to evaluate the living conditions of black women, to demand redress for the inequality, racism, sexism and social exclusion that has affected them for thousands of years and to renew the commitment to ongoing efforts of solidarity and support call for their rights to respected in all areas


Racism is when you have laws set up, systematically put in a way to keep people from advancing, to stop the advancement of a people. Black people have never had the power to enforce racism, and so this is something that white America is going to have to work out themselves. If they decide they want to stop it, curtail it, or to do the right thing … then it will be done, but not until then