Niemans in the News

South Africans mourn loss of Zwelakhe Sisulu

Zwelakhe Sisulu, NF ’85, a South African opposition newspaper editor and anti-apartheid activist who was jailed several times in the 1970s and ’80s for speaking out against black oppression, died Oct. 4 at the age of 61.

South African President Jacob Zuma expressed his condolences to Sisulu’s family saying, “He has left an indelible mark in both the struggle for liberation and the reconstruction of our country after 1994. He leaves a legacy of selfless service, humility, patriotism and dedication to this country and its people.”

Sisulu was selected by Nieman Fellows for the 1987 Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism forgiving black South Africans a voice during apartheid. He also received the International Human Rights Law Group Award, the Union of Swedish Journalists’ Award and the Rothko Chapel Award for Human Rights.

Sisulu was founding editor of the New Nation newspaper and worked for several other news outlets including the Rand Daily Mail and Sowetan. He also served as group CEO of the South African Broadcasting Corporation between 1994 and 1997 and was president of the Black Media Workers Association of South Africa.

Later in life, Sisulu was an active businessman. He was the son of African National Congress leaders Walter and Albertina Sisulu and brother to National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu and Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Read Sisulu's obituary from The (South Africa) Times »