| Walter Sisulu
Johannesburg, May 6 (Reuters): South Africans mourned the passing of anti-apartheid hero Walter Sisulu, who died peacefully yesterday at the age of 90 in the arms of his wife.
Sisulu, a veteran of the struggle against White minority rule in South Africa and long-time friend and mentor to Nelson Mandela, had suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
“He died in his house, peacefully... He was going to be 91 on May 18,” daughter-in-law Elinor Sisulu said. Sisulu, whose life spanned South Africa’s tumultuous 20th century, died in the arms of his wife Albertina, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported.
He was born in 1912, the same year as the creation of the African National Congress (ANC), the liberation movement he helped to lead and which eventually won power in 1994.
Callers to radio shows echoed the grief expressed by former President Mandela, who said he and Sisulu had shared the joy and pain of living. “May he live forever! His absence has carved a void. A part of me is gone,” Mandela said in a statement.
Talk radio station 702 played South Africa’s national anthem to mark his passing.
Grieving callers offered their condolences to the family and said Sisulu’s death was a deep loss for the country.
“The family should take solace in knowing that the entire nation is behind them. (Sisulu) has made us and for that we will be forever indebted to him,” a caller named Solomon told 702.
He recalled how Sisulu’s release from prison in 1989, a few months before Mandela, had offered hope for an end to decades of racial segregation.