Collection 055 - Walter Sisulu Papers

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Walter Sisulu Papers


  • 1952 - 1997 (Accumulation)

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61 boxes ; Text-based documents

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Name of creator

(18 May 1912 - 5 May 2003)

Biographical history

Anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner. Husband of Albertina Sisulu. Met Mandela in 1941 and introduced him to Lazar Sidelsky who employed Mandela as an articled clerk. Leader of the ANC, and generally considered to be the ‘father of the struggle’. Co-founder of the ANCYL in 1944. Arrested and charged under the Suppression of Communism Act for playing a leading role in the 1952 Defiance Campaign. Arrested and later acquitted in the 1956 Treason Trial. Continually served with banning orders and placed under house arrest following the banning of the ANC and PAC. Helped established MK, and served on its High Command. Went underground in 1963 and hid at Liliesleaf Farm, in Rivonia, where he was arrested on 11 July 1963. Found guilty of sabotage at the Rivonia Trial, and sentenced to life imprisonment on 12 June 1964. He served his sentence on Robben Island and at Pollsmoor Prison. Released on 15 October 1989. One of the ANC team negotiating with the apartheid government to end white rule. Awarded the ANC’s highest honour, Isitwalandwe Seaparankoe, in 1992. Clan names, Xhamela and Tyhopho.

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Scope and content

These papers are from Walter Sisulu's office when he was the Deputy President of the ANC. Includes: memorandum from CODESA negotiations, ANC address by Nelson Mandela, correspondence. Although this collection contains material from after Sisulu was released, it has been included as it speaks to the post-prison involvement of one of the Trial's main accused.

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Inventory available online -

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