Christmas Dinner At The Verulam Day And Frail Care Centre
Hosted By Khwaja Ameenudeen Foundation Of South Africa Message Of Support From Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party


Verulam: 26 December 2011


On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, myself and my family, I wish everyone at the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre a wonderful festive season. It is my pleasure to send this message of support and good wishes as 2011 draws to a close.


I have celebrated 83 Christmases and with each passing year I recognize more and more the value of cheerful giving. As Gandhi said, "Generosity consists not of the sum given, but the manner in which it is bestowed".  Christmas is a season of generosity and giving. It is a time to celebrate our relationships and to express our affection for one another with gifts and tokens.


Indeed, by giving a gift, we acknowledge someone's value and importance. I am therefore grateful to the Khwaja Ameenudeen Foundation of South Africa for hosting this Christmas dinner at the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre, for they are expressing on behalf of all South Africans that you, our senior citizens, are valuable and important.


Our society has changed over the decades and the traditional structure that saw the elderly cared for by family has become a rarity rather than the norm. Financial constraints and fluid family structures have created a growing need for centres like this where the aged can receive assistance. These centres rely on the support of private citizens, charitable organizations and business. It is perhaps not how things should be, but it opens a window of opportunity and hope.


I have worked for more than half a century in politics and public life. I am an octogenarian, but I still work in Parliament. I still hold our Government accountable. I still ask tough questions of our Ministers. I still fight for social justice and economic reforms. I still write to newspapers, visit communities, speak in churches and address rallies. I still support my family and my grandchildren. I still care for my country. I still vote. And my voice still counts.


But I don't think I am unusual in any way. I am simply a patriot who refuses to believe that my contribution to this country is limited to what I did before the age of 65, or 70 or even 80. My contribution will continue as long I live, not only because I believe I have something to give, but because my country has so many desperate needs.


I know that you have all given a great contribution to our society already. You have worked, you have raised families, you have paid taxes, you have helped educate the next generation, you have sacrificed, saved, spent and prayed. Some of you have given almost a lifetime's contribution. But not yet. It isn't finished yet. There is still so much to do.


At our age, we know ourselves better, and we know the unique gift we have to give the world. Whether it is the gift of music or an encouraging spirit, the gift of cooking, teaching, listening or writing letters to councillors. There is no excuse for withholding the gifts we still have to give. Keeping them to ourselves will bring us no joy, but giving them freely and with a cheerful heart will make all the difference in the world.


I am delighted to see such a young man as Mr Fakeer Noordeen at the helm of a charitable organization like the Khwaja Ameenudeen Foundation of South Africa. Mr Noordeen represents a young generation that is yet to give its contribution to our country. It is inspiring to know that he has already served the community through the Foundation for three years. I hope he is encouraged to keep going.


As you celebrate this Christmas dinner, may you be inspired to look for your gift. Not the one that is under the tree at Christmas time, but the one that is in your heart; the one that you can still give to make a difference to others and to yourself. May this be a season of cheerful giving.