1937 - 2000



Indlunkulu and members of your family; members of the Royal Family; amaKhosi present; members of the wider family of Nhlangwini Clan and all fellow mourners from here and afar. Today we are all enveloped by the dark cloud of sorrow which has summoned us all to be here this morning. I am deeply saddened by the loss of my maternal first cousin, Prince Langalethu Griffiths Dlamini. I feel that the family circle has grown smaller and has lost a degree of its richness which has always sustained me. My condolences are with my cousin’s Indlunkulu and his son and daughter, who have lost their anchor in losing a father and a husband. May God stretch out His divine hand to quieten the cries of your hearts. Grief is a long and difficult time, yet this is the moment when family stands in the gap to weep with you and ease the pain. There are few words which may comfort a grieving heart. As I struggle to find those which would console the close family and friends of Prince Dlamini as the Prince of the Zulu Royal House and as Inkosi of the Nhlangwini people, in the tragedy of our loss, I pray that my emotion of sympathy may overflow the cup of suffering to touch each of you personally.

In this dark time, we are blessed to have the strength of solidarity. I thank God that we may lean upon one another now, and seek to give comfort just as we receive. The ache which pervades our hearts as we bid farewell to our brother is eased only by the knowledge that he was ours while he lived, and through our memories of him, he will be ours forever. Each of us knew him in a personal way and each will carry their own special memory of Prince Langalethu Dlamini. I had the privilege of knowing my cousin in several capacities. I knew him as the son of my aunt, Princess Mpiyamaxhengu ka Dinuzulu, and my uncle, Inkosi Mdibaniso Dlamini. I knew him as a younger childhood friend whom I used to tease, saying that I knew both his father and mother before they got married, and before he was born. I knew him also as a peer who had grown into a responsible and politically talented young man.

I had the honour of knowing Prince Dlamini also as a colleague, which added an extra dimension to our observation of one another. I believe that I came to understand who my younger cousin really was as I witnessed his work as a Minister serving his people. I feel that this is where our kinship expressed itself fully, for in the pursuit of serving and the fulfilment of our leadership duties, my cousin and I shared a passion which few have matched or felt. The fire which burned in our bellies was never the all-consuming flame of ambition, but rather the blaze of hope, determination and a love for our people. It is this fire which has pushed us onward when the going became extremely rough. This we felt strongly as we jointly served the Zulu people of this Province as members of Cabinet of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government.

It was a special privilege for both of us to be at the service of our brothers and sisters whom we regarded with respect as subjects of our grandfather, King Dinuzulu. We were both always conscious of the fact that our grandfather, King Dinuzulu, as much as his father, King Cetshwayo ka Mpande, were the very first stalwarts who suffered and paid a big price for the liberation of the people of South Africa. We knew all this time that their sacrifices put a big responsibility on our shoulders to continue with the struggle for liberation. We were not only brothers, but also comrades-in-arms.

Although I often reminded him that he was younger than I, Prince Dlamini and I were of the same generation. When he was born, I was already a boy of nine years. We were born into the same historic circumstance and both found our country’s situation severely lacking. We keenly felt the lack of social justice and the great disparities and disadvantage among our people. Our eyes were always open and our ears finely tuned to see and hear the plaintive cry of South Africa. My cousin was a great son of Africa. His heart was wrenched with the very grief I felt myself as we considered what life could be and should be in this bountiful country. We knew that South Africa thirsted after strong leaders to carry the struggle for liberation through to completion. We both acted on this knowledge and shaped our lives on the needs of our people.

I marked in my cousin a feature which remained the bedrock of his personality throughout his life. He was always humble, always accepting with humility the burdens, responsibilities and honours cast upon him. During my time as Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, Prince Dlamini was my Minister of Agriculture. Just as I accepted to assume, with gravity, my rightful place as Head of the Buthelezi Clan, my younger cousin shouldered the responsibility of becoming Inkosi of the Nhlangwini Clan. Both of us were cast by destiny into the path of public life. Both answered the urgent call of politics, knowing that we would be required to sacrifice far more than ordinary men to fulfil the role we entered.

For me, the role of leadership has always been the path of servitude. I have understood that a leader is not above his people, but must walk amongst them. To every man or woman who approached me for advice on entering the political field, I have said that one must be prepared to serve, to work without ceasing and to consider nothing above the collective good. I believe that this same advice would have come from the lips of my younger cousin. Never once did he flaunt his position of power, either as a Minister or an Inkosi. Prince Dlamini gave the example of a true traditional leader, the kind which our ancestors worked to bestow on their posterity. His Excellency, Dr Frank Mdlalose, South Africa's Ambassador to Egypt, in a Tribute he sent to me, referred to the Prince as a humble member of the Royal Family.

I am proud that this man, whose mortal remains we take leave of today, was a part of my family. I felt very close to him throughout my life and believe our affinity was in part the result of kindred spirits, and in part the consequence of sharing blood. His death has given us pause to consider the remarkable fragility of this existence. It seems, as I think back over my own life, that the moments we spend in grieving are moments when time stands still. Sadness makes memory larger than life, as we attempt to comprehend the mortality of our earthly existence against the eternity of our spiritual life. Yet we know that this time apart from our brother will be but a fraction of forever, and we may take heart in the blessing that we knew him while he lived. It saddens me to be here to bury him, for because of his age, I thought that he would be the one to bury me.

As I watched my younger cousin fulfil his duties, I became aware not merely of how similarly we felt our destinies, but of the lessons he silently lived out through his character. Perhaps the clearest of these is the lesson that true strength is displayed in servitude, not dominance. When a man is in a position to command his people, his greatness is measured by how often he consults them. My cousin believed that the ideal of good governance was not the degree of power which leaders could wield over their people, but the degree of power which leaders could give to their people. In his humble and quiet way, Prince Dlamini empowered ordinary South Africans to live life better.

His contribution to individual lives goes unmatched, for we can never know the extant to which one's life is changed through the goodwill of another. Yet we can measure his contribution to his country with the yardstick of commitment, and by this he gave the full measure of a remarkable man. I know that the memory of Prince Langalethu Dlamini will echo in KwaZulu Natal for years to come, as fathers tell their children of the good heart that beats in the chest of a few brave men. These are the men who take up their destiny without fear, trusting that they can achieve for their country something worth sacrificing a lifetime. My beloved brother who lies in this coffin today was that kind of man.

His disposition attracted many people, who felt the undercurrent of strength in his humility. These people soon became his friends and Prince Langalethu Dlamini quickly became a wealthy man. I myself know this kind of wealth, and it has sustained me through many dark nights. The accumulation of riches and power cannot supplant or substitute the security of having friends, and this is indeed the real measure of wealth. I know that our beloved brother will be sorely missed, for he leaves behind him a tangible gap in many lives. I pray that those friends who encouraged him through the trials of life will remember his own words of exhortation now, that their sorrow may be eased by the knowledge that friendship is yet greater than death.

I believe that in His wisdom, the Almighty has equipped us with all that is needed to build lasting relationships of mutual benefit. To each He has given abilities and talents that set us aside and make us useful to our fellow man. To some He gives the ability to organise and mobilise, to others the capacity for compassion. Some receive the calling to teach, and others to exhort and encourage. In friendship, we require all these things so that we may raise one another up to achieve our personal goals. These are the friends we remember, who help us get one step higher than we were without them, and to grow one degree taller in our own estimation. The greatest blessing with which we are equipped, however, is the desire to serve.

I believe that this scion of Zulu Kings, Prince Langalethu Dlamini, had the full measure of character that makes a man a good friend. His dependability and strength, and his great love for people, made him a fine colleague and one with whom I would gladly share the burden of political life. I know that he was a good father and a devoted husband. But these are things we all could see in the character of Prince Dlamini. As we mourn his passing today, I encourage us all to take the example given by our departed Prince. He lived in a way that made people stop and consider how greatness is not the shadow of power, but the consequence of love.

As I speak about Prince Langalethu Griffiths Dlamini, I reach out my heart to those who feel this loss so keenly. Let us as we weep together in sadness, stand together in love. I pray that the Lord who knows our most intimate thoughts will comfort us at this time.

To his children and family, and to members of the Royal Family, to members of the Nhlangwini Clan, I say let us not mourn his passing but let us today celebrate a great life of a great leader who served his people well. Let us thank God for the 62 years during which we enjoyed his brotherhood, his friendship and his fatherhood. As Believers we must be comforted by that great hope that we will meet our brother on the day of the Resurrection.

In his Letter to the Romans in Chapter 6 from verses 5 to 9, St Paul assures us:

5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

As we turn our eyes upward, let the tears be wiped away, and may our brother Prince Langalethu rest in eternal Peace.




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