King Shaka Commemoration Ceremony
Presentation Of His Majesty The King Of The Zulu Nation
By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi Of The Buthelezi Clan
Chairperson: Zululand District Local House Of Traditional Leaders
 And Traditional Prime Minister Of The Zulu Nation

 

 

 


 

KwaDukuza: 24 September 2011

 

 

I am honoured to perform the responsibility cast upon me as the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and the Zulu Nation, as we gather to celebrate our shared heritage. As I have for so many years, I rise to introduce His Majesty the King to his people. And as he has done for so many years, our King will then rise to address us, unifying us by his presence and inspiring us with all that he represents.

 

Our King does not stand before us as merely a man. Our monarch is a symbol of our identity as the Zulu Nation; the repository of our history and the crucible in which we forge our hopes for the future. It is for this reason that we gather each year to remember our nation's founder, King Shaka ka Senzangakhona. I thank the Honourable Premier and his Cabinet for recognizing the importance of this commemoration, not only for the Zulu Nation, but for South Africa.

 

We have set this day aside to look into our past, to remember the brilliant military strategist and courageous leader who drew together the threads of a scattered and warring people to construct a mighty nation. I am humbled to stand as part of that heritage, as the son of Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu, whose father was the son of King Cetshwayo, whose father was King Mpande, the brother of King Shaka.

 

As we look into our past we see the heritage of warriors and kings. We see the deeds of our ancestors and the brave struggle for the recognition and unity of our nation. We see tragedies and losses, but also victories and gains. They flow together to form a narrative of which we may be proud, a narrative that gives us our identity.

 

As we look into our past, we also recognize that it moves seamlessly into our future through the very monarchy that we celebrate today. It is for this reason that our nation has fought long and hard for the recognition of the institution of the monarchy. Battles have been won and lost for this cause, both on these verdant fields and in the political arena. It is a cause for which I myself have sacrificed, as destiny and duty required me to do.

 

Today's commemoration has special significance, for it coincides with the 40th anniversary of the reign of His Majesty our King. This is a remarkable milestone, for never before in the history of our nation has a reigning King occupied the throne for such a length of time. Even our nation's founder, King Shaka ka Senzangakhona, reigned for just twelve years.

 

The length of His Majesty's reign speaks of greater stability in this period of our history. There is a sense of continuity that, I believe, is important. Each monarch continues the lineage of our ancestors in an unbroken chain of history. Each successive king assumes the achievements and struggle of our nation that his predecessor bore. Yet there is significance in our having the same monarch witness the past four decades of political change in our country.

 

Our King bears the memory of Apartheid first hand. He knows, not merely through the recollections bequeathed by others, but through personal experience, what we have endured, what we have emerged from and what we still face. As Zulu people we have remained loyal to King Shaka's throne for generations. The institution of the monarchy has gone through all the humiliations with us as a source of inspiration. We have struggled with our institution of the monarchy through Colonial times as subjects together with our Kings of the British Emperors. We have struggled with our institution of the monarchy throughout the Apartheid era.

 

His Majesty our King took up his reign the year after the Nationalist Government passed the Homelands Act which saw the formation of nine self-governing territories. This laid the foundation of the grand scheme of Apartheid to declare black territories independent, thereby depriving millions of black people of their South African citizenship.

 

It was a turbulent time. I had taken up the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Zulu Territorial Authority in Nongoma, at the behest of Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Mr Oliver Tambo. We established the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly and, a few years later, I became Chief Minister of KwaZulu, a position I held for eighteen years, until South Africa's first democratic elections brought us a Government of National Unity, under President Nelson Mandela.

 

Throughout that time, His Majesty our King set about restoring the dignity of our nation by reintroducing some of our traditional customs and ceremonies. Our King's wisdom and foresight in doing this saved not only our identity in a rapidly changing world, but also the very lives of many of our people. I firmly believe that the rampant spread of HIV/Aids has been slowed by the reintroduction of the Reed Dance. I applaud His Majesty our King for championing this fight. We realize that in spite of more available treatment that the incidence of HIV and Aids has not lessened.  It is possibly one of the greatest challenges of our times under the reign of our present King.  After all, the incidence of HVI/Aids is still highest in this Province than anywhere else in the whole continent.  The challenge we face is more than we can estimate.

 

Our nation's heritage contains powerful tools and weapons for building South Africa and protecting its assets. I thank His Majesty our King for the contribution he has made towards re-instilling a sense of pride within our nation. Let us return to the traditional values of our culture, never being shy of our heritage. South Africa has so degenerated when it comes to respect for those in authority that even the burning of T-shirts with the image of our Head of State is tolerated. I warned about this culture and my warnings were ignored.

 

Last year I was requested by Amakhosi through Inkosi Mpiyezintombi ka Lindelihle ka Ntshidi ka Zimema,  Inkosi of the Golela Clan, to approach His Majesty for a date that suits His Majesty as Amakhosi wished to call on the King as was customary in the history of the Nation, to pay tribute to their King. The King received me at his Linduzulu Palace. The King was with Her Majesty Queen MaNdlovu and his Private Secretary. I was accompanied by Induna Bhekinkosi Ndukwenhle ka Nqatshana ka Gezindaka Sithole. His Majesty's response was that he will think about it and give me a date. Later, I received the request and it was at a bad time of the death of the King of Khethomthandayo's son-in-law, King Maxhobayakawuleza of the Rarabes, who is married to His Majesty's sister Princess Nomusa. We are now renewing our request for the date, so as to be able to express our gratitude to the King for reigning over us for 40 years.  We owe our King a debt of gratitude. As we celebrate King Shaka Day, we honour our monarch. We remember our past, and look to our future, knowing that the two are linked through this symbol of our unity.