South African Students Congress

Walter Sisulu - Architect of our Democracy

19 May 2014

Our great Walter Sisulu, born on 18 May 1912 would have been 102 years yesterday. Having been born the same year as the African National Congress is no coincidence but a date with destiny. We take this moment to learn from his life. A life dedicated to the struggle for the emancipation of all humanity.

We cannot speak about the struggle for the liberation of our country without the mention of Xhamela, who was the engine of the liberation movement. He has been befittingly named the Architect of our democracy. A title deserving of his humility, commitment, service and sacrifice. Walter Sisulu was never one who elevated himself even though he was a great man amongst a collective of great men. He chose to serve his people and expect no reward for his selfless deeds.

Nelson Mandela had the following to say about this great giant; "He neither sought nor wielded his authority by virtue of office." Such is the character of leadership that we as the incumbent and future should aspire to possess. In memory of Xhamela we need to renew ourselves to the understanding that leadership is about service. We need to have an honest conversation with ourselves and ask the question, how did we get to a point where leadership is synonymous to opulence and privilege. Surely we must hide our faces in shame when we consider how detached our leaders have become from the masses of our people. Walter Sisulu would expect better of us.

Madiba went on to say; "He was ever ready to draw others into leadership. And he never ask of others what he was not prepared to do himself." Again as a movement and generally society, we need to ask ourselves the difficult question, why has it become our culture to fight viciously over leadership positions at all levels. We owe it to Walter Sisulu and his generation of freedom fighters to rebuild our revolutionary morality and to become selfless cadres dedicated to serve our people. We need to relearn the revolutionary imperative of democratic centralism, which Xhamela respected and practiced.

As we celebrate the overwhelming support received by the movement from our people, we should be guided by the exemplary life of Walter Sisulu. When he was elected as the Secretary General of the ANC, he left his employment and became the first full time SG of the ANC. He did so knowing full well that he would not receive renumeration, but he was led by his conviction to liberate his people. This should be the same principle that guides the cadres of the movement who will be expected to serve our people in government, parliament and various legislatures.

As SASCO we are unequivocal when we say, "We Want To Be Like Walter Sisulu." In his honor we recommit ourselves to the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime. We will as part of our salutations to his bravery, never retreat in our quest to transform higher education and training in particular and society in general. In an attempt to defend his legacy we will work tirelessly to transform the Walter Sisulu University (WSU), so that it becomes a quality institution for the poor and working class. We believe that is what Xhamela would expect us to do not only in WSU, but in all institutions including the ivory towers.

On behalf of our members and the student populas in general, we salute our honorary President and renew yet again our commitment to the National Democratic Revolution. Towards a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South African in our lifetime.

Siyabulela Xhamela, ulufezile ugqhatso!


For more information contact

Ntuthuko Makhombothi - President on 071 875 2209
Luzuko Buku - Secretary General on 071 879 3258