Communications Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, has pledged that the government will continue to promote the legacy of keeping girl-children in schools, making health services accessible to the masses and improving infrastructure.

Mokonyane was speaking during her visit to the Cofimvaba Hospital, in the Eastern Cape, where she interacted with nursing staff and community members. Her visit forms part of the Albertina Sisulu Centenary celebrations.

As part of the Albertina Sisulu centenary celebrations, Mokonyane visited the Cofimvaba Hospital. It was established in 1987 through the influence of MaSisulu, who was a professional nurse herself.

Her early life involved activism, which repeatedly landed her in detention over a period of 17 years. Mokonyane says says Ma Sisulu was an outstanding leader who cared about poor communities.

“We must lift the role of a nurse. She’s our own Florence Nightingale. She’s somebody who would walk the streets of Soweto carrying a 40 cm briefcase washing newly born babies, teaching mothers how to breast feed. She was a care giver not just in health but politically and for the love of freedom. Her legacy must live beyond her physical presence. Even during her physical presence the apartheid government never managed to silence Ma Sisulu.”

Patients at the Cofimvaba Hospital say the facility’s existence has made life easier for them.

“1.This hospital is closer to where we stay and we get special help. It’s also closer to transport. 2. This hospital is very very helpful because all clinics and rural clinics depend on this hospital.”

Hospital CEO, Sicelo Msi, hopes Mokonyane’s visit means that government with help the hospital with its challenges.

“Challenges that we are facing include nurses that are leaving. Remember the hospital is in rural areas and there are no resources. This leads to nurses leaving for better institutions like in Queenstown. Now we are working on retention strategies.”

Albertina Sisulu, a struggle stalwart, was born into the Thethiwe family, in the Cacama Village, a century ago. She died in 2011.

She was known as a fearless champion of democracy and human rights who dedicated her life to her country and its people. She will forever be remembered as a fearless leader in the struggle — and as a mother of the nation. Ma Sisulu worked tirelessly to build a better and more equitable South Africa.

Government has committed to keeping her legacy alive through servicing the needy.