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Saturday
Jun112011

Mandela: Albertina Sisulu's Loss One of the Most Painful

Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images (File Photo)(JOHANNESBURG, South Africa) -- Thousands of mourners broke out into singing, chanting and applause after Nelson Mandela's wife Graca Machel delivered a message from him at the official funeral of veteran anti-apartheid activist Albertina Sisulu on Saturday.

Sisulu died on June 2, at the age of 92.

Sisulu and her late husband Walter were close friends of Mandela, who met his first wife at their wedding, and with Mandela and Walter Sisulu serving time with together in Robben Island. 

"I would have loved to have been here today to pay my personal respects but it would have been too painful to see you go," Machel read from a statement. "It is difficult to describe the pain and sadness in my heart. You are so much more than a comrade, you are part of my being… you and Walter."

In the statement, Mandela acknowledges the toll seeing his friends die one by one has taken on him.

"Every time it feels as if part of oneself is cut off." The former South Africa president said in the statement.

He described Albertina Sisulu's loss as one of the most painful.

The funeral, which had been a solemn event being held in Orlando Stadium in Soweto, turned into an ANC rally for about 20 minutes following Mandela's statement, with some party leaders yelling "Long Live Mandela" and the crowd resisting calming down for the ceremony to continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio