KWADUKUZA: September 21, 2002

The Honourable Master of Ceremonies; members of the Royal House and amaKhosi present; Your Excellencies; members of the diplomatic corps and honourable members of the Consular corps; our religious leaders; the Mayor of KwaDukuza; the Mayor of Ilembe; the Honourable Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Dr LPHM Mtshali and Mrs Mtshali; Honourable Ministers from both the National Assembly and the KwaZulu Natal Legislature; members of Parliament; members of provincial Parliaments; Chairpersons of Regional Councils; their Worships the Mayors; Councillors and Indunas; members of the various clans who comprise the Zulu Nation; our distinguished guests.

Once again we come together to celebrate the memory of the founder of our nation. Year after year these celebrations assume different connotations because out of our multi-faceted and complex history, there are always lessons to be learned which are topical and relevant to the present juncture of history. This year is no exception. Looking at the many issues presently confronting public opinion in general, and the Zulu Nation in particular, we can see how our history has lessons to teach which have an immediate bearing on our daily lives.

As we recollect the times which forged our nation under the skilful reign of King Shaka ka Senzangakhona, we are tempted to place emphasis on the military genius of the founder of our nation and on the many wars and battles which he won to build up our Kingdom. Undoubtedly his skills in battle which made him the most fierce of all warriors, and the many military techniques he developed to improve on the art of war, were part of what made our Kingdom strong and successful. However, battles are events which unfold in a single day, no matter how fateful that day may be. The sun rises and then it sets on that fateful day, leaving many days to follow during which the spoils of victory may be consolidated into a fruitful and prosperous peace, or may forever be foregone.

On this occasion I wish to focus our attention on the deeds of the founder of our nation which followed the glorious hours of the days spent on the battlefield. The Kingdom was not only forged on the battlefield, but first and foremost on the way King Shaka organised it as a coherent system of administration based on law and order and on clear responsibilities. The rule of law was at the basis of the Zulu Kingdom and is indeed one of the most important features of the legacy that King Shaka bestowed on his posterity and on all of us.

King Shaka was a man of great integrity who expected integrity, honour and responsibility from all those around him. Our Kingdom was based on integrity. Integrity and honour are part and parcel of our culture as Zulus and are the very essence of our Zuluness.

In this season of history in which integrity and responsibility seem to be placed beyond greed, expedience and self-interest, it is essential that the Zulu Nation gives visible proof of being a nation which operates with integrity and honour. As Zulus, we should be recognised as people of integrity, whether we operate as politicians or as employees, employers, spouses, or in any other role which anyone may perform in society. King Shaka was a proud man who did not use subterfuge to defeat his adversaries. He was a strong administrator who did not tolerate any corruption in his Kingdom. He expected each amaKhosi to pull their weight in the administration of the Kingdom and did not allow any of them to pursue their sectorial interests. We need to take heed of that lesson. As Zulus, we must commit ourselves to eradicating any form of corruption, greed or self-interest. We should allow no space for anyone who pursues his self-interest above the general interests of all the people in our Province and all the people of South Africa.

The unity of the Zulu Nation is essential to ensure that the general interest and the common good are protected and pursued. Now more than ever it is essential that the Zulu Nation acts in unity and under a common vision and leadership. Divisions within the Zulu Nation can only undermine our sense of self and the pride we have as a nation. We have a great contribution to make towards the building of a prosperous and secure South Africa, but we can only do so on the strength of our unity. It is time that the Zulu Nation comes to terms with its real soul and recognises that we are people of integrity who demand integrity from our leaders and seek to express a common leadership of integrity for the whole of our nation.

The unity of our nation hinges on the resolution of the outstanding issues relating to the recognition of our Kingdom. This item has been on the agenda of the central government for more than eight years since April 19, 1994, when it was solemnly promised that international mediation would resume as soon as possible after the April 27 elections to settle the issue of the Kingdom. Since then, no step has been taken to recognise our Kingdom at the national level and those which were taken at the provincial level, such as the adoption of a constitution for the Province, were undermined. In the past eight years we have tackled the most important, comprehensive and complex reforms, and yet we have not been able even to begin dealing with the issue of our Kingdom nor with the many questions relating to the institution of traditional leadership throughout South Africa. Obviously, if nothing has been done thus far in this respect it is because there has not been sufficient political will to do so.

This is very regrettable. Without a proper legal and institutional framework for the recognition and protection of the institution of traditional leadership, there cannot be any adequate framework for the recognition and protection of our Kingdom. This will deprive the Zulu people of their birthright which was created with the formation of the Zulu Kingdom by the founder of our nation, King Shaka, and was bequeathed as his living legacy to us by each of the Zulu kings who followed in his footsteps. For many years I have tried to rally our nation behind the institution of our monarchy and our present King. However, this is not possible because of the unresolved issues which are still afflicting our monarchy. Unless there is immediate action both by the national and provincial governments to provide recognition for and regulation of our monarchy, the real risk exists that with the rapidly changing features of our society, our monarchy may become increasingly irrelevant. It is our role to keep our monarchy relevant and, in so doing, to preserve the legacy of what was begun by King Shaka.

This is a shared responsibility that all of us as Zulus need to carry. After all, people throughout South Africa wonder why the central government should be concerned about the Zulu monarchy, the Zulu Kingdom and the amaKhosi of our Kingdom, if we ourselves as Zulus seem not to be so concerned about them and we are divided on the issue. It is our divisions which have allowed the pretext for the lack of integrity which has characterised the dealings of the Government with amaKhosi and in respect of the issue of our Kingdom. Those who have fomented such divisions, and indeed those who have acted in a divisive fashion, bear the historical responsibility of the present situation and may rightly be tainted with the same lack of integrity.

It is essential that our nation establishes structures and institutions which can bring it together in unity and with purpose. We need purpose to transform our nation into an engine of productivity and economic growth. Our nation is affected by poverty and widespread unemployment. These problems are not going to disappear unless we turn despair into hope, pessimism into optimism, idleness into industriousness and indolence into productivity. We need to become a nation at work, driven by imagination, ingenuity and optimism. We need to take pride in working better and harder and producing more. There is not sufficient efficiency and efficacy in either our government or our private sector. Unless this is remedied the economy will not grow, jobs will not be generated and the boundaries of poverty will not be set back. We need to eliminate divisions to bring this about and we need to start working together to ensure stronger ties of social solidarity at all levels. We need a national call for growth and development. We need each person to help somebody else to grow and everyone to help communities to develop.

This call for growth and development must cut across existing divides, such as the ethnic divides in our Kingdom or those between social classes or the rural and urban segments of our populations. We must work together because the social pressures confronting all of us are such that no segment of our population can benefit from any relative prosperity unless the rest of our population has an opportunity to grow and prosper. We need to find common cause in fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS by promoting the distribution of anti-retroviral drugs to those who are infected with HIV and taking any possible measure to nurture those who are suffering and their families.

We need to overcome the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and recognise that in our Province it is a reality which affects each and every one of our families. It is time for all of us to accept this reality, coming out of the syndrome of denial and the conspiracy of silence. We need to unite as a nation to prevent the spreading of this disease, to assist those who are infected and distribute to them any available medical resources our country can muster. We can no longer allow the terrible effects of this disease to be compounded by erroneous behaviour by communities or by government.

We must accept that under the present circumstances of history, our nation must count on its strength, industriousness and productivity to overcome its present hard times and the even harder times lying ahead. The world economy is facing a likely recession which will affect emerging markets such as South Africa more than those of more developed countries. We must draw on our culture of self-help and self-reliance to promote development wherever we can, however we can, starting from food security in rural areas all the way to creating opportunities for micro-economic growth throughout our Province.

In so doing, we must walk the uphill path ahead of us with integrity, courage and dedication. We must walk upright and with the pride of being Zulus. We must bear testimony to the glory in which our Kingdom was forged by King Shaka and have the optimism that this glory will be matched by the achievement of the contributions which the Zulu Nation can make towards the forging of an economically prosperous and socially stable South Africa.

On the day when we commemorate the man who founded us as the once most powerful Nation in Southern Africa, King Shaka, we are fortunate that we do so surrounding his heir and successor, who is our present King. Recently the King celebrated the 30th anniversary of his enthronement. This makes this year's celebration a very special occasion as the year in which our King celebrated being on the throne of King Shaka for 30 years. Except for King Mpande, none of the King's forebears reigned for that length of time. We thank the Lord Almighty and our ancestral spirits who have made this possible.

I am honoured and privileged to present our King to give us his message for today. Long live the King