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
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
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.