FUNERAL SERVICE OF
AUGUST 26, 2000
I have come here today summoned by a sorrow which lies heavy in all our hearts. As we stand before the mortal remains of my first cousin, Prince Sampson, the tragic circumstances of his death do not fail to shake us. I mourn my cousin because he was a victim of violence. A father and a husband is mourned because he was shot and killed. A good friend is gone because our country still battles with men whose hearts are as cold as stone. There is no greater condemnation of the violence that eats away at our country’s well-being than the sight of the tear-stained faces I see around me today. We can only lean on one another for strength, and hold the memory of Prince Sampson ka Solomon ka Dinuzulu forever before us.
Yet, I do not want to take this moment when we may celebrate the life of our brother and give it away to more talk about violence, criminality and bloodshed. These things are not worthy of our time. They are wrong. They must stop. But that is all the place we will afford them. Today, we will remember Prince Sampson and allow our tears to wash the aching of our hearts. I have been fortunate to know my first cousin well and to develop a friendship with him which, over the years, has lent me comfort under trying circumstances. It is said that one can choose one’s friends, but cannot choose the members of one’s family. Had I the choice, knowing what the life of my cousin has meant to my own life, I would have chosen him both as a friend and a very close relative. I cannot say the same about several of my relatives in the Zulu Royal family.
Sadly, I have found on occasion that the saying is true, however, for in my darkest times I have found that some family members have been a greater source of difficulty than of support. This was never the case with my first cousin, Prince Sampson. Throughout his life he understood and supported what I was doing for the nation. Prince Sampson always supported me with affection and with his presence. He attended every conference of my Party and was with me at crucial junctures of our political history. I knew that I could rely on him simply to be there, and no words could have spoken louder of his generosity of spirit or his tremendous love.
With Prince Sampson rests the legacy of a profound understanding of things to come which first inspired his father. On the strength of a premonitory dream, his father became determined that his sister had to marry my father so that she could give birth to someone who would dedicate his life to the care of the nation. Prince Sampson respected this legacy and always expected me to fulfil the role envisioned by his father. I feel that I could never have failed to walk the path Prince Sampson expected me to walk. My path was clear in his eyes, and his silent faith that I would walk it, often strengthened my own resolve to do so.
He was a very special Prince in that he was the last born of my uncle, King Solomon ka Dinuzulu. There is always a special place for the last born in any family. I remember that when I was presiding at the funeral of King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon, he was one of the King's brothers whom I chose to carry the King's coffin. There were other brothers who were older than him, but I felt that I should not leave him out because of his special place in the family as the last child of the King.
I always respected him for his courage and integrity. It will be remembered that on a number of occasions, bogus Royal Councils were launched by some people in the family. Efforts were made to mobilise quite a number of members of the family against me over the years. He soon realised that there was no justification for all these plots against me. When he decided to step out of these collusions, he did so decidedly and never ever to look back. Although the youngest of King Solomon ka Dinuzulu, he became a source of inspiration to me like his elder brother, the late Prince Alpheus ka Solomon who never ever turned his back against me.
Prince Sampson often said he was surprised that there should be anyone in the family who does not appreciate his father's wisdom when he arranged the marriage of his full-sister, Prince Constance Magogo ka Dinuzulu to Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi. Prince Sampson often used unkind words for those whom he felt were blaming his father the King in not appreciating the fulfilment of the King's vision for his Nation, when I was born out of the marriage which the King arranged between his sister and my father.
He was not ashamed to stand with me for all to see when I am with members of the IFP. That is why some of our members have joined his family, members of the Royal House and the Nation, to mourn the tragic death of a Prince of the Zulu Royal family who was not ashamed to nail his political colours to the mast. I shall miss him as my first cousin like all other members of the Royal family, but I shall also miss him in my capacity as President of Inkatha Freedom Party, with which the Prince openly identified.
The death of my cousin highlights a tragic development that we now see in our families. Families in Zulu society were large because as Zulus we have very closely-knit extended families. I fear that this is now disappearing. When I grew up people valued our large families. This is no longer the case today. For example, I do not know a single one of my late cousins's children, and yet he has children who are now young adults. What applies in his case is the case with many of my very close relatives. It is not even politics that is responsible for these developments. People just no longer care for kinship ties. This is another reason which makes me feel so sad that we are here to intern the mortal remains of such a beloved cousin with whom I had such strong kingship ties.
He was a rare kind of Prince who did not just expect people to do things for him. He was a generous Prince who showed his generosity in a way befitting a Prince of the Zulu Royal family. From what his aunt, my late mother, used to say to me about the generosity of her brother, King Solomon ka Dinuzulu, the Prince really took after his father as far as his generosity was concerned. We shall miss him for he made us proud of him as a Prince of the Zulu Nation.
We are all shocked because as we prepared for his funeral we were told that his wife was fatally shot last Saturday as she was busy preparing to come down here for the funeral. This has become a double tragedy. We are all shocked and literally shell-shocked. We ask ourselves the question of who is responsible for these dastardly and despicable actions? Was it done by strangers, or is this evidence of a family feud that we did not know about? We just do not know, and we are not in a position to know the truth. But our Lord and Creator knows best. As Christ Himself assured us, nothing is hidden that will not be revealed as we read from Matthew 10: verses 26 to 28:
This is my message to his immediate Royal family, to the whole Royal House and to members of my clan in this area and to members of the Zulu Nation. And this is my message also to all his friends.
My cousin's heart was always in the right place and people were drawn to the tangible bedrock of his goodness. In the day-to-day tasks of my political life, I shall feel his absence and his loss will pierce me to the heart. Yet I know that I shall continue to recall his presence and even this shall comfort me. I thank my late uncle, the King, and my Aunt Indlunkulu, for having given us such wonderful sons, such as the late Prince and his late brother, Prince Alpheus.
In memory of my cousin, our brother, I wish to encourage the young people among us to cherish the broader ties with their extended family. There is always purpose and value in the relationships we establish with our family members. My sorrow is eased today in knowing that Prince Sampson and I shared a close relationship which gave benefit to both our lives. I believe we were blessed to have had a head-start on our friendship by being born into the same extended family. Thus, as the grave takes the cold and silent bones of Prince Sampson today, I know that in life he belonged to his family. We have had the lion’s share. We are the fortunate ones. Let us praise God for having lent us his life for all these years he lived on this earth.
It is true that love triumphs over death. Prince Sampson will always be remembered in our hearts and our children’s children will hear stories of their great-great-uncle. In the immortality of memory, spirit indeed goes on. My sincere desire is that our individual special memories of Prince Sampson will combine in the collective grief we feel today to construct the tangible presence of our brother. As we bid farewell to his mortal remains, may we celebrate his eternal presence which will dwell in our hearts forever. His family shall miss him dearly. May Prince Sampson rest in peace.
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