King Shaka Commemoration Ceremony
Introduction 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: 25 September 2010

 

I rise today aware of the weight of responsibility that rests upon my shoulders. It is my privilege to present His Majesty the King, your King and my King. But I do so not only as Undunankulu weSilo, but as the son of Princess Magogo ka Dinuzulu, King Solomon's full sister whose father was the son of King Cetshwayo, whose father was King Mpande, the brother of the founder of the Zulu nation, whom we honour today.

 

I recognise that I am one of a lineage of ancestors who have led the Zulu nation through its various times of division, unity and trial. I carry within me the history of a nation that has earned the awe and respect of great leaders throughout the world. I bear the responsibility of maintaining the cause of my forefathers, on both my maternal and paternal lines; the recognition and unity of the Zulu nation. My roots have cast me in the role of one of the defenders of our nation, and I have walked my entire life in the path of this responsibility.

 

I have done so not merely because it runs in my blood to do so, but because I recognise the sovereign right of a people to their identity, heritage and culture. This is what gives a people value. For some 150 years, the Zulu nation has stood against those who wish to strip away our power, by dividing us the way the British did in the wake of the Anglo-Zulu War, or by ignoring us and systematically diminishing the authority and role of our traditional leaders.

 

The Apartheid Regime tried to do the same and also failed.  I am humbled that I was one of the people who were in the forefront of that opposition.  We successfully stood against being fragmented and balkanised into foreigners in the country of our birth.  It was an odd thing to try to do this thing when our King's great great grandfather, my maternal great grandfather King Cetshwayo ka Mpande was a prisoner in the castle in Cape Town and lived on the farm Oude Moulen in the Western Cape for the duration of his time in exile after the conquest of the Zulu Nation.  It is tragic that up to this day there is still no clarity about the powers and functions of Traditional Leaders in the new South Africa

 

The Zulu nation is still standing. We are the legacy of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, who birthed this nation through battle, sacrifice and vision. On this day, as we commemorate King Shaka, we are given the opportunity to express our pride and strength as a nation; and to freely speak the truth to power.

 

I have been a champion of the institution of Ubukhosi and have staked my political career on serving the interests of our nation. In many venues, at many times, over many years, I have warned against sidelining the Zulu culture and its accepted social structure. I have painstakingly followed the legislative process since democracy and pointed out every instance in which we are compromised. I have sought solutions, I have pursued agreement and I have heard many promises being made.

 

I shall never surrender my passion for the cause of the Zulu nation. 

But I shall also not use this venue to recount the long history of broken promises that have prevented us from finally drawing together the shattered fragments of our nation, to again find the unity we enjoyed under King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. Let us rather use this day to stir up a new sense of hope for the future as we remember the strength of our past.

 

King Shaka's strategy in growing his military force displayed his brilliance as a tactician. History remembers him as single-minded to the point of cruelty, as a visionary in nation building, and as the one man who could draw together the threads of a scattered and warring people to construct the brilliant tapestry that historians now look upon with wonder. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli marvelled at our strength, in that it took the full might of Her Majesty's army to defeat us in Ulundi on the 4th of July 1879.

 

The iconic image of King Shaka has by now been romanticized and his life beyond military conquest is shrouded in mystery. It was therefore a surprise, and almost an insult, when King Shaka kaSenzangakhona was portrayed, in a statue outside the new King Shaka International Airport, as a herdboy. One would not expect to see, at any international venue, a statue of former President Nelson Mandela as a  herdboy.   We thank His Majesty our King for the stand that he took  which resulted in that grotesque caricature of our founder being removed.  Many members of the King's Nation were seething with anger at its mere sight.

 

This is not to deny that such a time of herding cattle formed part of their childhood, just as I too tended cattle when I was a boy. But we are not remembered for the mundane rituals that teach us discipline.  Rather we are remembered for the extraordinary achievements that such discipline enables us to reach.

 

King Shaka and other children of the Royal household grew up under the tutelage of my great great grandfather, Nqengelele Buthelezi, who became established in the Royal Court for his skill in medicine and skills in warfare. His son, Mnyamana Buthelezi, became the traditional Prime Minister to King Cetshwayo, while his grandson, Mathole Buthelezi, who was my father, fulfilled the same responsibility in the court of King Solomon ka Dinuzulu, from the year 1925 to 1942, when he died serving in the same capacity under his younger brother-in-law His Royal Highness Prince Mshiyeni ka Dinuzulu who was Regent.  During the Second World War the Regent who was then sitting on King Shaka's throne during the minority of the Heir to the throne His Royal Highness Prince Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon, decided to join what was called the Native Military Corps. Although Mathole was opposed to it, he had to join the Regent as his Prime Minister in camping at Eshowe to encourage Zulu people to join the war effort.  He said he could not stay at home when the Regent whom he served at that time was staying in tents at Eshowe.

 

History is static and cannot be changed. But our perception and interpretation of history is constantly in flux. It matters how we remember King Shaka. It matters how we present to the world the founder of the Zulu nation. As we gather on this day, set aside to honour his legacy, let us reflect the truth of the past. For it is only when we are honest about our past, that we can enter our future in the good faith expectation of greater achievements, greater unity and greater strength.

 

It is my privilege now to present the monarch who gives expression to the continuity of our past, His Majesty the King of the Zulu nation, who will deliver the main message of the day.  The King sits on the throne of King Shaka, King Dingane, King Mpande, King Cetshwayo, King Dinuzulu, King Solomon, King Bhekuzulu who begot us our beloved King.

 

His contribution to our progress and development as a people is legendary. His concern for the welfare of his people has not only been expressed in mere words over the years, but many concrete things he has done stand as evidence which speaks for itself. Those of us who have lived under his reign, consider ourselves lucky to have His Majesty as our King in our lifetime.

 

Please pray silence for His Majesty the King!