'a born leader'

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Top brass of the political hierarchy yesterday joined the Sisulu family to pay tribute and bury their son, Mlungisi Sisulu, who was described as a "born leader".

Sisulu, 40, died from cerebral malaria on January 3, while on holiday in London en route from Rome. He was the grandson to one of South Africa's political dynasties whose legacy started with his grandparents Walter and Albertina Sisulu. He was the son of Max Sisulu and Mercy Vuthela.

During the funeral service held at the Sisulu Hall in Randburg, programme director and director-general at the Home Affairs Department Mavuso Msimang said the service should be that of rather celebrating Mlungisi's life, who had died while planning to celebrate his young marriage to a Zimbabwean national Kundayi Jangano. Married for only five months, they had been planning another celebration in April.

Speakers described Mlungisi as a young diplomat who came to politics as an inheritance since he was the third generation of the political family that had seen it all from the brutal apartheid era to freedom.

ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe said the Sisulu family had contributed with their sons and daughters in the course of the struggle and Mlungisi was one of those who showed his prowess at an early age.

He described relationships between the ANC and the Sisulus as an extended family.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in whose department Mlungisi was employed, praised him for the sacrifices he had made when the department was looking for a representative in Sudan.

"In 1999 Lungi [as he was affectionately known] was already active in the department. He made sacrifices and was always ready to take on challenges," she said.

His uncle, Mlungisi Sisulu senior, described him as an international person since he was born in Russia and died in London.

"He was born in foreign land and died in foreign land."

Mlungisi was buried at the West Park Cemetery.