Statement on the Passing of Mr Colin Eglin

 by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

02 December 2013    


On Saturday our country lost a patriot and a fighter for freedom. I lost a dear friend. My condolences have been sent to Mrs Raili Eglin and to Mr Colin Eglin's three daughters, through his beloved wife.


Mr Colin Eglin was from a generation in which integrity trumped political expediency. When I met him in the sixties, I recognized a kindred spirit, for Mr Eglin was pursuing liberation through negotiations. He gave much of his life to this goal and will be remembered as one who did as much to break the chains of apartheid as any among our liberation struggle, either in South Africa or in exile.


As the leader of the Progressive Federal Party, Mr Eglin prioritised a good working relationship with Inkatha. I admired his contribution to the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba, which I established in 1986. The Indaba succeeded in creating the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Executive Authority; South Africa's first non-racial, non-discriminatory government, giving the example of how governance by all, for all could be achieved.


Mr Eglin's contribution to the Indaba foreshadowed his exceptional contribution to CODESA. I will remember him for this, and also for the many moments that expressed our friendship. I will fondly remember being called on by Mr Eglin to propose the toast as we celebrated with Mrs Helen Suzman 21 years of her parliamentary career. I will remember being invited to the Cape Town Club and engaging deep conversations with Mr Eglin about our country and where it is heading.


Though he retired in 2004, Mr Eglin never lost interest in South Africa's wellbeing. He was a patriot to the very end. I am comforted by the fact that he led a full and remarkable life. But I will miss him, and I know that he leaves a gap in his family that will take time to fully heal.


On behalf of the IFP, I express condolences to the family, and to the many friends and former colleagues of Mr Colin Eglin. May he be remembered as the gentleman and patriot that he was.