Introducing His Majesty The King Of The Zulu Nation
On The Occasion Of The Visit Of Their Royal Highnesses
The Prince Of Wales And The Duchess Of Cornwall

Introductory Remarks By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi Of The Buthelezi Clan
Chairperson: Zululand District House Of Traditional Leaders
And Traditional Prime Minister Of The Monarch And Zulu Nation


 

4 November 2011

 

Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation; the Honourable Premier of KwaZulu Natal; members of the Royal Household; Traditional Leaders; Officials and distinguished guests.

 

My great grandfather, Mnyamana kaNqengelele Buthelezi, served King Cetshwayo as Prime Minister to the Monarch and the Zulu nation during his reign. My late father Mathole Buthelezi served the Monarch and the Zulu Nation in the same capacity during the reign of our King's grandfather King Solomon ka Dinuzulu. There is some significance about his appointment because it was announced at Eshowe during the visit of the Prince of Wales, later His Majesty King Edward VIII, in 1925.  It has been my privilege to fulfil the responsibilities of this position throughout the reign of my late first cousin King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon, His Majesty's father, and throughout the 40 years of our present King's reign.

 

But on this occasion I am particularly honoured to present His Majesty the King, for this is an historic moment. Today I introduce the heir to the throne, the descendent of King Cetshwayo ka Mpande, as he receives the heir to the throne, the descendent of Queen Victoria. We welcome Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to this beautiful part of KwaZulu Natal.

 

This visit comes at an auspicious time, as our King celebrates the 40th anniversary of his reign. His Majesty the King has been on the throne for longer than any king in the history of our nation. Even our nation's founder, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, reigned for only 12 years. The length of His Majesty's reign speaks of a time of greater stability. Yet this chapter of history is not without challenges.

 

Our honoured guests will know that the Zulu nation has struggled for two hundred years to preserve the identity and unity that was forged through the military genius of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. Our unity has been fiercely defended by warriors and kings for two centuries. It has faced many threats and sustained many attacks. The Anglo-Zulu War was a watershed moment in our struggle, but there have been many battles since then, fought in the political arena with the weapons of legislation, policy and bureaucracy.

 

Nevertheless, it was the Anglo-Zulu War that proved the mettle of the Zulu people. We know that, in the end, it took the full might of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's forces to subjugate the Zulu nation; more than it took to conquer the whole of India. The Battle of Isandlwana remains in the collective memory of our people as the moment of truth, the moment in which King Shaka's legacy was tested and confirmed. The Zulu defeat at the Battle of Ulundi did not crush our spirit. We already knew who we were, and we would spend generations to come fighting for recognition.

 

My great grandfather, Mnyamana Buthelezi, was Commander-in-Chief of all the King's regiments during the Anglo-Zulu War. I am descended from the warriors that engaged the British forces. As such, I have been honoured to be befriended by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. We are tied by history, but drawn together by friendship. It has been my privilege to meet with the Prince of Wales on several occasions over many decades. We share a love of nature that has brought us together as Patrons of the David Rattray Foundation.  We also share a love of the country that has brought us together in a meeting of minds.

 

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has always stressed to me the importance of looking after the graves of brave people who fell at Isandlwana on the 22nd of January 1879.

 

Despite the historical conflict between our people, a good relationship has developed between the British and the Zulu nation. In part, it is born of the mutual respect that was generated during the Anglo-Zulu War, for there were acts of bravery on both sides and both sides remember heroes. In part, it is also because we share a vision for a future in which all people, everywhere, are free from oppression, disease and poverty.

 

As we approach the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, our thoughts turn to conservation and the hope for a future in which the next generation can enjoy a better quality of life. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has maintained a keen interest in conservation since he was a young man. I look forward to hearing his thoughts on climate change at the University of Cape Town tomorrow.

 

His Majesty our King is also a champion of conservation. I know that the plight of our rhinos is close to his heart, as it is to mine.  My concern over the slaughter of rhinos led me to become the first President of the Rhino and Elephant Foundation of Southern Africa. I regret that, due to a lack of funds, the Foundation is no longer in existence. But my commitment, and the commitment of our King, to nature conservation has never diminished.  In this respect, Your Royal Highness has been a source of inspiration to both of us.  I always think that Your Royal Highness fulfils the saying that all great truths begin as blasphemies.  Many things Your Royal Highness said on these themes many decades ago at a very young age, which some ridiculed at the time, are accepted as truths today.

 

Knowing that we share not only historical ties, but a vision for the future, it is my privilege to welcome His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and to present His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, to welcome Your Royal Highness.