FUNERAL SERVICE FOR INKOSI KHAWULA
KwaHlongwa Hall, Mzumbe: May 20, 2001
One of the towers of our Kingdom is no longer, but his strength shall live on forever. Inkosi Khawula has been a tower of strength for the Zulu Nation. His legacy shall pass on to future generations. His memory shall strengthen our nation. His death is a moment of mourning for the whole of our nation and an occasion to pause to reflect on the destiny of our nation. Inkosi Khawula dedicated his life to fulfil the destiny of the Zulu Nation in this part of our continent. His life and the destiny of the Zulu Nation have been inextricably intertwined. His life has reached the end of its natural cycle, but the mission to which his life was dedicated goes on as the baton of our struggle for freedom is passed on to the hand of a new generation.
We are summoned by death not only to share our mourning for a friend, but also to celebrate in sorrow and compassion the closing of one of our country’s greatest and most glorious chapters. We are here to mourn the greatness of a man which, in his time, and indeed in any time, has had few equals. God chose to place in him a greater imprint of His own divine image and to make him a true leader of people and a shaper of our nation. Inkosi Khawula represented the quality and features of leadership at their best and expressed them through half a century of consistent, unwavering and spotless service to his people. Throughout his life he has showered all those around him with the strength of his wisdom and the wisdom of his strength. Wisdom and strength were indeed the features perhaps most prominent in his leadership.
I have known Inkosi Khawula all my life and he has been one of the closest people to me. Together we were young amaKhosi during the times of King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, my cousin and father of the present King. Together we embarked on a difficult and long journey during the most dramatic times of our history. Together we fought for liberation as freedom fighters and traditional leaders. He was with me in the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly since its inception and he was with me when we closed the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly in April 1994. As I did, he served as a traditional leader both in his community as well as in his Regional Authority, the Mzumbe Regional Authority. He was with me when we formed Inkatha and was with me when we moved into the post- apartheid dispensation. He has been with me all along, through thick and thin. He has been a pillar of strength and reliability. He has been an unparalleled example of unqualified and unconditional loyalty. I have had many followers, but few people have been as loyal as he was. He was loyal throughout, without ever wavering or being intimidated. He paid a high personal price for his loyalty and he became the victim of vilification and persecution without ever becoming less loyal.
His loyalty stems from the commitment he made to the success of our endeavours and the service of our people. He was loyal to our cause and to the goals to which we dedicated our lives, not just to me personally. He was loyal to the destiny of our nation and to the pursuance of the dream that one day all our people will be free from the oppression of poverty, ignorance and lack of essential services. His death is an enormous loss to our nation and a terrible blow for me personally. We were exactly the same age. The disappearance of many of my peers is a dramatic reminder of my own mortality. Yet I know that death can but destroy our bodies, for it does not affect our soul, nor the mission we have served during our lives. Our soul survives within the spiritual realm to which it belongs. Our mission survives as it is assumed by new generations which carry it forward within the new context in which they find themselves operating. The mission continues and, on this occasion, we must transform the pain we all feel into a renewed commitment to carry the mission forward and make this loss a source of renewed strength.
Standing here, I look out upon these faces and see written in every tear and whispered with every sigh the loss we have suffered with the passing of Inkosi Khawula. He has left a gap in our hearts which shall perhaps never be filled. As the pain of this loss subsides, I pray that we may speak often and fondly of his memory, and that such words shall be a healing balm. Witnessing the multitude of friends who have gathered here today to bid farewell to our comrade, I am encouraged in the hope that Inkosi Khawula’s life shall be remembered in its most joyful moments. May his memory stir us all to live more fully, more broadly, more freely and with a greater awareness of the fleeting nature of life.
Inkosi Khawula lived the full measure of his life. He enjoyed the blessing of raising his own children together with his wife, Flora, and seeing his many grandchildren continue his line. Today, my heart cries for his large and close-knit family who suffer such a tremendous blow. May each of you whom he loved take comfort in having known him and in having shared so much of his life. The affection and esteem which you feel for Inkosi Khawula is felt by many who knew him, who worked with him and had the pleasure of calling him a friend. In his life, my brother came in contact with many people and never failed to leave an impression upon them of the vastness of his benevolent nature. Indeed, he drew love into his life by his own great capacity to love.
Having battled a long illness, I feel that Inkosi Khawula is now finally at peace. It was not befitting of his outward nature that he should suffer so quietly within. I am reminded of the psalm of David which says "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning". I believe that as our friend has completed this earthly life, he has also ceased to suffer. Surely suffering belongs to this world. Inkosi Khawula was acquainted with grief from an early age with the untimely death of his father. Yet, his resolve was to continue his father’s work and he took up his position even as the youngest Inkosi in the Mzumbe region. Let us take heart from the courage he mustered and set our own lives to continue his work.
Inkosi Khawula’s work is the very work which engages us as South Africans of goodwill, and as Zulu’s firmly rooted in a tradition of unity, strength and ubuntu. Inkosi Khawula never shied away from his responsibility towards his fellow man and sought to raise those around him above the dire circumstances of life. His active participation in Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe since its inception was the expression of his commitment towards genuine liberation. Together with many of us, Inkosi Khawula took up the struggle against oppression from the fundamental stand of nonviolence, negotiation and high moral ground. I am pleased that my brother lived to see our victory in 1994, and to participate in building a new South Africa through development of rural communities, development of the land, and development of a culture of liberation.
Inkosi Khawula knew that a man is only truly free when the shackles are removed from his mind, not merely from his feet. His leadership expressed the desire to push his people out of the culture of poverty and despair and into a new hope generated out of opportunity, possibility and potential. He recognised that the political ceiling had been removed on what we could achieve within even our poorest communities, and that the only limitations we now face are those we impose upon ourselves. His work within his community and within the provincial government of KwaZulu Natal speak of his understanding that genuine liberation can be achieved and must be achieved, if not in this lifetime then through the ongoing efforts of every successive generation.
Serving in the KwaZulu Legislature first in Nongoma and then in Ulundi, Inkosi Khawula waged his own war against the oppression we lived under. From within the structures of the IFP he worked hand in hand with those of us who pursued liberation from abject social conditions, liberation from ignorance for lack of exposure and schooling, liberation from unemployment and the degradation of poverty, liberation from dependence on the pittance of government handouts, and liberation from need, fear and despair. I shall feel his absence acutely in my own life, for Inkosi Khawula was one of the few who remained loyal to me when some of our comrades in the liberation struggle denounced me and vilified my name across the world.
I believe we shared a profound commitment towards serving our people which brought to Inkosi Khawula a recognition of the lies being spoken and the destructive seeds being sown. Throughout that time, he was persecuted for his affection towards me and for his loyalty which refused to be hidden. His presence eased my burden, and doubled my joy when liberation came. With our political victory in 1994, Inkosi Khawula did not sit down on what we had achieved, for he, like I, knew that the struggle was far from over and we had much more to do to reach genuine liberation for our people. Instead, he took a new seat in the provincial legislature of a democratic government, becoming Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Traditional Leadership and a member of the Transport Committee.
Not once did he sit back waiting for someone to take the initiative to lead our people. He himself opened the way for people to some together and exchange ideas, seeking a common vision for the path towards delivery and good governance. His work on the Portfolio Committee on Traditional Leadership allowed Inkosi Khawula to participate in an arena close to his heart. As a proud Zulu and long-time Inkosi, he could not rest on the issue of traditional leadership, which even now remains wrought with difficulties. Through his work, he sought to preserve this institution as the backbone of our cultural heritage. As a traditional leader himself, Inkosi Khawula knew of the commitment amaKhosi carry towards bringing development and more development. Indeed, development is the only means to achieve the vision of genuine liberation which motivated the life of our brother and comrade.
I am deeply saddened that Inkosi Khawula could not continue his struggle for the recognition of amaKhosi. The illness which invaded his body had weakened him several years ago to the extent that he had to lighten his load, and was forced to abandon his work within the established fora. Yet I know that Inkosi Khawula never gave up his struggle and never diverged from the vision of genuine liberation for all our people. Today, as we celebrate his life and mourn his passing, I wish that we may consider the benevolence of what was in his heart and determine to take up where Inkosi Khawula left off. It is wrong that a man with so much passion and goodwill should be subdued by weakness in the body. Yet, perhaps we all have a measure of work to accomplish and, once completed, our bodies prepare to rest.
I believe that Inkosi Khawula achieved the measure of his life’s work. I believe that he lived expansively and with great ambition. His was not the ambition of a man trying to elevate himself, but indeed that of a man trying to elevate a nation. And I believe he succeeded. Inkosi Khawula has become an institution in our Kingdom. His footsteps across our soil are deep and wide, perfectly befitting a giant among men. He was a true son of Africa and we shall remember him as a leader who led his people one step closer to the vision we all share. One day, as we look back from the vantage point of genuine liberation over all that we have overcome and all we have achieved, the name of Inkosi Khawula shall emerge like a bright star above us. Indeed, his life gave the point of light to many who traversed the darkness this country has known.
On this day, I wish to express my deepest condolences to his wife, Indlunkulu KaMadlala, and to his children and grandchildren. I further wish to express my deepest condolences to the AmaHlongwa Clan, to the people of this region, and to all relatives and friends who are gathered here today to pay their last tribute to a great son of Africa - Inkosi Calalakubo Khawula. On behalf of the IFP and the people of KwaZulu Natal, we say thank you, Gabhisa. You have lived a great life and you have completed your mission. We as believers know that this is not the last time we will see you. We know that we will meet when our turn comes, as it will surely come, since none of us here is mortal. But we as believers live in hope. St Paul makes our hope very real in his letter to the Romans, in Chapter 6 verses 4 to 9: "4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together (become united with Him) in (by) the likeness of His death we shall also in (by) the likeness of His resurrection. 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (done away) that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead (hath died) is freed (justified) from sin. 8 Now if we be dead (died) 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." That is our hope for our brother. That is the hope of we who will also follow him when our own end comes.
We shall feel his loss deeply and for some time to come. Yet, I know that Inkosi Khawula has left us with a powerful message; that our struggle is generational. Each one of us must fulfil the measure of our destiny and then, as we weave together these individual threads of life, the tapestry of our collective prosperity shall emerge. The thread our brother has brought to be woven into it shall run like fine gold through the final picture of a liberated South Africa. Truly, he was a great man. His memory will live on, and his legend will forever be enshrined in the history of our Kingdom.