His Majesty King Zwelithini Ka Bhekuzulu
40th Anniversary Of His Reign

Address By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi Of The Buthelezi Clan
Chairperson Of The Zululand District Local House Of
Traditional Leaders
Traditional Prime Minister Of The Monarch And The Zulu Nation









Ondini: 27 August 2011 


I found a note when I arrived home from Cape Town last Wednesday, the 17th of August which I was told was left by Prince Mbonisi accompanied by Prince Bonginkosi and Prince Gibizizwe. The note stated that His Majesty the King had sent them to tell me that Her Worship Councillor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, the Mayor of the Zululand District had arranged this celebration of the King’s 40th Anniversary for today. I wrote a letter to Prince Mbonisi, expressing my support for the idea of holding this function to mark the 40 years of the reign of our King. I at the same time expressed my reservations and disquiet about the choice of today for this great event. I received no response from Prince Mbonisi and after informing my Deputy Mr Josias Phumempini Mtshali about the predicament in which I found myself, he undertook to make an appointment with Prince Mbonisi on the 24th of August. But I learnt that although he travelled to Nongoma to see the Prince to express my concerns, the Prince said that he was unavailable. I choose not to be judgemental about the Prince’s unavailability to my Deputy.

I have notwithstanding this situation decided to join other subjects of the King to express thanksgiving to God for the fact that he has reigned over us for 40 years. This as has been stated is a record since no other Zulu Monarch was so blessed to reign for so many years. I therefore, join all other subjects of the King, and other descendants of the Zulu Royal House as a member of that House and the King’s Traditional Prime Minister and the Zulu Nation, to express my felicitations to His Majesty the King for the milestone that he has reached, a record in the history of the institution of the Zulu Monarch.

For me personally, this is a very special occasion. Whatever circumstances that have gone on in these years the King and I have travelled a very long road.

Today, I have mixed feelings because while it is an occasion for us to rejoice, it is also an emotional occasion. It takes back to the sad day of the passing away of my King and first cousin, His Majesty King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon. I remember the role I played during that sad moment for the entire Zulu Nation, and as I made arrangements for the King’s children to be ferried to the Royal burial grounds.

I cannot help but recall what happened thereafter, when the young Prince and the widows of the King were to visit KwaPhindangene in the dark days when things were not going well in the Zulu Royal Court.

I remember being accused together with the late Prince Gideon Layukona ka Mnyayiza of misleading the young Prince and Heir Apparent who is our King today. I cannot help remembering the preparations that I made at the request of the Prince to approach Bishop Zulu to solemnise the first marriage of the Prince to Queen Sibongile. I remember my involvement in the preparations in which we were engaged with my first cousin, the Senior Prince - the Prince of Nxangiphilile, Prince Mcwayizeni ka Solomon. I recall him asking me to accompany him to Pretoria to introduce the Heir Apparent to the then Minister of Bantu Administration, the Honourable Mr MC Botha MP. Unfortunately the date for this important meeting clashed with dates for a trip I was undertaking to Germany. The Prince of Nxangiphilile suggested postponing the visit to Pretoria until my return. The then Commissioner-General, the Honourable Henri Torlage insisted that it would be ok to present the Prince to the Minister even if I was absent. The Prince of Nxangiphilile insisted that it should be done on my return from Germany. To create peace I then begged the Prince of Nxangiphilile to relent and take the young Prince to Pretoria even in my absence. That was one of the biggest mistakes of my entire life. While I was in Germany I was told that I was no longer part of the Committee that was making arrangements for the King’s installation.

On the eve of the installation of our King, someone came to my house and told me at the crack of dawn that if I attended the installation of the King, there was a plot to assassinate me. I was flabbergasted to hear this from someone who claimed that he was present when the plot to assassinate me was hatched. I had the dilemma of whether to attend the installation of the King or not. I was prevailed upon not to attend. I told those who advised me to stay away that because of my relationship with my late cousin, and my position within the Zulu Nation I had to attend. I used the Zulu saying that those whose pastime is swimming die swimming, ‘Inhlanzi yamanzi ifela emanzini,’ and I also quoted them the well known Zulu saying that a soldier dies doing his work as a soldier, ‘Isotsha lifela emsebenzini walo.’ I said that it was unthinkable when I of all people can be absent when the child of my two cousins, the King of KwaKhetha and Queen Thomo (my Aunt’s daughter) is being installed as King. I wish I could relate how things went on that day but time does not allow me to do so.

The first thing I did after the King was installed was to ask the officials of the KwaZulu Government in my department to stop paying the King a Paramount Chief’s salary. I suggested that it be more than that of myself as Chief Minister. The budget that the KwaZulu Government got was very limited and on per capita basis it was less than that of any other self-governing territory.

Just about this time, our King paid a visit to Swaziland as the Guest of King Sobhuza. On his return we received the good news that the King was now engaged to Her Royal Highness Princess Mantfombi, the daughter of King Sobhuza. As the King’s Prime Minister, I sent the late Rev Celani Mtetwa and Prince Clement ka Solomon to all the cities, to appeal to the subjects of the King for funds. I appealed to Amakhosi for all of us to donate cattle for the dowry of the Princess. As Chief Minister, I appealed to the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, for us to adjust our shoe-string budget in order to set aside funds in order to construct KwaKhangelamankengane Palace. I remember in my argument in the Legislature, saying that if we as Zulu people have a King, then a King lives not in a Pondokkie, but in a Palace. And as the King was by that time married to two Queens, Queen Sibongile and Queen Buhle, we had to be aware of the status of his bride-to-be who was a daughter of a King of another Kingdom. Members of the Legislature all supported me and we proceeded to build the Palace. I also had a Palace built for the King here in his capital of Ondini.

Then there was the issue of Ingwavuma which the Apartheid Regime wanted to excise and give over to the Swaziland Kingdom, together with the area then designated as KaNgwane in today’s Mpumalanga Province. I took the matter to the High Court and won it. I sued the South African government. They took the case on appeal and lost it and we won. We agreed with His Majesty to build a tombstone over the grave of King Dingane at Kwaliweni in the Ingwavuma District. I also appealed to His Majesty to allow my government to build another Palace for him in the Ingwavuma District. His Majesty agreed and we then built it.

I made it a point also to have the King’s Traditional Palace at Enyokeni built. As government, we also defrayed the expenses of His Majesty’s marriage to both Queen MaNdlovu and Queen MaMchiza. There are many things that we did together with His Majesty such as continuing holding King Shaka’s celebrations and as government we decided to make the 24th of September a holiday in KwaZulu.

I cannot help but correct what the Honourable Zabulon Zulu, Member of Parliament, writes in his book about me and my government in his book ‘UMONGO KA ZULU’.  A self-governing state of KwaZulu was introduced and the King no longer had the power to choose his Prime Minister. This worried the Princes and the Royal household tremendously. He was forbidden from leaving the Usuthu Area without notifying the government. In 1979, this government summoned him and charged him with 10 counts of breaking the law. This was the worst year in his life on the throne. He was at parliament buildings from 10 o’clock in the morning until 11 o’clock at night. Members of Parliament all took turns cross-examining him and when Princes tried to defend him they were told that they were forbidden to speak as they were not Members of Parliament.”

There were matters which the then KwaZulu Legislative Assembly felt warranted an enquiry into some allegations of His Majesty in politics and other matters. Many of us including myself did not feel such an enquiry should be conducted. So a debate was around that issue and that issue only. At the end of the debate, the resolution that suggested an enquiry fell away when His Majesty explained the position to us as representatives of his subjects. The King’s uncle, the Senior Prince of Nxangiphilile was a member of the House and participated in the discussions that took place that day. I do not think we have the time to read his verbatim address on that day or the verbatim reports of all His Majesty’s utterances during that debate. The final resolution that was adopted was to abandon the idea of holding an inquiry into all the allegations that were the subject of discussion, and the following resolution was finally moved and accepted by the Legislative Assembly.

That in the opinion of the Legislative Assembly, the advisability be considered that;

  1. The House accepts the appeal of His Majesty, that peace should prevail and that the difficulties that have existed be forgotten;

  2. That part of the resolution No 23 passed on the 25th June 1979, calling for an enquiry into His Majesty’s conduct, be revoked in view of His Majesty’s stated intention to work harmoniously with this Legislative Assembly and Cabinet.

Originally, the words ‘in politics’ had been inserted and it was withdrawn later. And the resolution was unanimously accepted by the Legislative Assembly and that was the end of the matter.


The author of ‘UMONGO KA ZULU’ makes allegations that His Majesty was ‘forbidden from leaving the Usuthu Area and from visiting his Chiefs’. This is a lie that must be buried today once and for all. We had a protocol as the King’s government, as is the case in all countries which have the Kings today, to want to know whether people who invited the King were doing so in a manner which could not bring the office of His Majesty into disrepute or lower His Majesty’s dignity in anyway. As happened at that time, there were people who were prompted by the Apartheid Regime to form parties to oppose me as the opponent of the Apartheid government, who would start bogus political parties, who would drag the King’s name in the mud. And it was our duty to protect His Majesty from that kind of abuse of his office. So it is a blatant lie that the enquiry was ever conducted as the Honourable Zabulon Zulu has written in his book. We have a word for word record, which is the Hansard of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, which has every word that was said that day by everyone of us, including His Majesty himself.


My words on that day were: “The aim in issuing the protocol guide was to avoid situations where we have had in the past, where certain people invite the King in order to exploit his office, either for political or financial ends. All mischief makers in the past few years have tried to drag His Majesty’s name into the mud. When the Shaka Spear Party, the Inala Party, the Zulu National Party and now Icilongo Party were found, certain shady characters aided by Departments of the Republican government have on each and every occasion attempted to use His Majesty’s name by attempting to build these defunct parties around the person of the King and the Zulu Royal House. All this that I have related here is history, and I do not mean to delve into this matter, but I want the Nation to know about these things that have happened in the past. I have no intention of going into details, as all these matters are too well known to all of us. Except Icilongo, which has just been recently launched. When we issued the protocol guide for the King’s visits to certain members of the Zulu public, some people against us thought this was as it were now placing the King in a strait jacket. Because we in the Cabinet want to be democratic, I felt that this matter should be brought to the attention of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly in order that we may be sure whether what we have done, meets with the approval of the Zulu people. We have no way of consulting the Zulu people individually. This Assembly is the best forum for doing so, as in this Assembly sits representatives of the Zulu people. The King is also a member of the Assembly. So that by raising the matter before this Assembly, I was also giving His Majesty a chance to have his say about it, so that if members of the Assembly felt that the protocol guide was unfair, we would have amended it accordingly or abandoned it......”


The author of ‘UMONGO KA ZULU’ also makes the allegation that the King no longer had power to choose his Prime Minister. This is news to me. The King was not prevented from choosing his Traditional Prime Minister by any of us. He is free to do so today. The King’s authorised biography states that I am that Traditional Prime Minister. It was not written by me or with my approval. But the writers were authorised by His Majesty to write the book, and I am certain that the King was shown the manuscript before it was published. The only thing that we rejected from Pretoria was when the KwaZulu Government Constitution was brought to us. It had a suggestion that His Majesty should appoint members of Cabinet. The reason why we rejected it was because that would embroil His Majesty in the heat and dust of politics. Just look what is happening today in our neighbouring Kingdom of Swaziland. The people who are agitating there are targeting King Mswati II and not the politicians. And we did not want our King to be involved   in political controversies. I do not know whether the Honourable Zabulon Zulu is referring to that.


I am sick and tired of people implying that I, Mangosuthu Buthelezi imprisoned the King when they distort what happened. This lie must lie buried today. No one here or anywhere has done what I have done for His Majesty and the institution of the Zulu Monarchy.


I have a Hansard of that debate and nowhere is a record of any insults or disrespect that members of the Legislature hurled at His Majesty during that debate. I cannot state here what was actually wrong that led to that debate as I do not wish to revive that matter that should be left in the dustbin of history and forgotten. But His Majesty actually paid tribute to me that day for the manner in which I had handled that affair.


I am not aware of anytime that can be described as the time when I and the KwaZulu Government disrespected His Majesty in anyway. I challenge anyone of the King’s subjects to tell me that he has in all these years shown more respect for the King and the institution of the Monarchy than I have done, right from the King’s youth when he was a young Prince to this day. I risked my Party, Inkatha Freedom Party being completely obliterated from the political radar of this country when we decided that we were not going to participate in the first democratic election until there was international mediation on the issue of the institution of the Monarchy and other related matters. Had we not signed the agreement on international mediation with both President de Klerk as the then Head of State and His Excellency Mr Nelson Mandela on the 19th of April 1994, the IFP would have been just history by now. I further insisted that the existence of the Zulu Monarchy be enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa. Mr de Klerk was resisting and he was insisting that it was enough that we had signed the agreement on international mediation. A special session of Parliament was convened for one day, to enshrine the existence of the Zulu Monarchy in the Constitution of South Africa. I sent a delegation to Parliament, led by the late Prince Gideon Layukona ka Mnyayiza and Prince Bonga Mdletshe and  Dr Sipo Mzimela and other members to witness that this was done. They went to Parliament for the first time, dressed up in our traditional attire.


I piloted legislation in the KwaZulu Legislature, removing the insulting title of “Paramount Chief” as the designation of our King and substituted it with the correct one of His Majesty the King, and the Zulu ones of Ingonyama and Isilo


I appealed to the Zulu Nation in 1994 to accompany the King to meet with President F W de Klerk, to express his concerns about his position as King within the new political dispensation. Tens of thousands of us accompanied the King to Pretoria and Durban. I was able to get some of my friends to help me with the finance for buses which ferried all these thousands subjects of the King to Pretoria and Durban.


I finally conceived the idea of Ingonyama Trust and piloted that legislation in the final session of the KwaZulu Legislature, to protect the bits and pieces of what remained as our land when we were dispossessed of our land after our conquest. I suggested that it be chaired by His Majesty or whoever he chooses to chair it. I do not see in whatever other way I could have demonstrated my allegiance and loyalty to the King.


I therefore have to say these things for the record as lies. And I must state that even during the reign of my late first cousin, King of Khethomthandayo, all sorts of characters attempted to drive in wedges between me and the King. But I thank God that both the King and I did not allow them to succeed in doing so. So efforts that are going on, to do so on such a large scale at present, are not something new. I wish as I conclude my remarks to say that I shall remain loyal to the King and the institution of the monarchy to the end of my days. Ignorant people do not know that I am the dream of the Zulu King, King Solomon Maphumzana ka Dinuzulu - my uncle. It was he who conceived the idea that his sister Princess Magogo Sibilile Mantithi Ngangezinye Constance who had no love affair with my late father Mathole Phumesaleni Buthelezi be given his sister’s hand in marriage. I always say that I have survived to this day in spite of all that I have endured because I am the dream of a King. It is he who has asked God to give me to live to the age that I have reached.


We have been fortunate to have as our King, the kind of person that our King is. The King has always been concerned about the food security for his people. As a result he has set an example for all of us by farming on his own Royal lands and farm. His example has been appreciated throughout the country, that the University of Zululand awarded His Majesty the doctorate in recognition of his work as an exemplary farmer amongst us as his people.


The King was awarded a doctorate in Agriculture and Culture. His Majesty has introduced the Reed Dance which is aimed at encouraging young maidens to retain their chastity before marriage. The King was a Prophet when he did this, because it was long before we had the scourge of HIV/Aids. In this way he has protected many young people who would have been victims of this pandemic. His Majesty has further re-introduced the First Fruits Ceremony which was banned when the Zulu Kingdom was destroyed by the British in 1879. The King has also proved himself to have business acumen. His involvement in the wine industry proves this. And by doing this, the King has also created opportunities for his people to do some beadwork which puts food on the table.


It was my privilege as Chancellor of the University of Zululand to confer that doctorate on His Majesty. It was a moment of great pride for me and others of his subjects. The King has over the years been concerned about his people’s education and he sought donations from the business sector to donate money in order to construct many schools in the district of Nongoma. The King has created links between the Zulu Kingdom and other Kingdoms in Africa, such as with the King of Asante in Ghana, the Asantahene. He has done so also with the King of Uganda, the Kabaka and also with the Kingdom of Toro also in Uganda. And with Inkosi Yamakhosi Mbelwa of Malawi. Not to mention our relationship with the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Kingdom of Lesotho. He also attended various international meetings, including meetings of Kings of Africa with Brother Leader Colonel Gaddaffi of Libya on more than one occasion.


We have been fortunate to have a King who has shown such concern for his people’s welfare. I am very proud to present His Majesty to you, to address us as his people on this important 40th Anniversary of his reign.


I have come here to say with all the invited guests that LONG LIVE THE KING!