Funeral Service of the late Mr Robert Mthethwa

MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCES
BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
AND PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

DELIVERED ON HIS BEHALF BY
THE HON. PRINCESS PHUMZILE BUTHELEZI MPL
NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON OF THE IFP WOMEN’S BRIGADE

Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre: 22 September 2019

If we lived in the time of wars, fought on the battlefield with spear and shield, Robert Mthethwa would have been the first to give his life for his King. There is comparing the loyalty and love he showed to His Majesty. I know that today our King has lost not only his most loyal subject, but one of his closest friends.

It pains me to know that I cannot be present as Mr Robert Mthethwa is laid to rest. Unfortunately, I committed several months ago to attend the 90 the anniversary service of the Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin, in Johannesburg. As the Bishop of Johannesburg, the Right Revd Dr Stephen Mosimanegape Moreo, who assisted the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba who led the service on my 90 th birthday, I felt I could not let them down. My late wife, Princess Irene was actually a congregant in the Diocese of Johannesburg and she was confirmed by the then Bishop Geoffrey Clayton.

I have therefore asked my daughter, Princess Phumzile Buthelezi, to bring you this message of condolences, so that you will know how highly I esteemed Mr Mthethwa and how saddened I am by this untimely and tragic loss.

Princess Phumzile was seated next to Mr Mthethwa just days ago at dinner at His Majesty’s Osuthu Palace during the Reed Dance Ceremony. She too was devastated by his passing, coming as it did so utterly unexpectedly.

I cannot help but think of something told to me by Mr Zakhele Khumalo, just recently. Mr Mthethwa had asked Mr Khumalo to approach me, asking that I give him my blessing. In response, Mr Khumalo mentioned Jacob. But Mr Mthethwa quickly said, no, no, he must then not speak to me, for he didn’t want his uncle to get the impression that he was about to die!

I was indeed his uncle and he was my nephew. His mother was a Buthelezi. My children related to him as their cousin.

I am pleased that he set such a great example of loyalty to our King. May many follow that example. It seems these days that loyalty is taking a back seat to various agendas and attitudes. I admired the way that Mr Mthethwa remained a loyal subject, first and foremost. He did it, not for gain, but for love.

In fact, he was a man of independent means; a successful young businessman, in the prime of his life. Yet death does not respect success, nor youth, nor happiness. It isn’t always loudly announced, but sometimes slips in quietly while everyone is sleeping. That was the case with Robert Mthethwa. We are left reeling with shock.

As this great young man is laid to rest, please know that you have my deepest sympathies. My condolences go to his wife and his children, who have lost far more than we can know. My condolences go, too, to His Majesty the King, for I know what he has lost.

At this time of Heritage Month, as we prepare to celebrate King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, I am reminded that King Shaka and his mother, Queen Nandi, were given sanctuary by the Mthethwa family. The relationship between the Royal Family and the Mthethwa family goes back generations. The loyalty that Mr Mthethwa displayed in such abundance towards our King shows how deeply rooted he was in culture and history.

This makes our loss greater still, for where will we find the likes of this young man? We can only pray for healing to come in the fullness of time.

May his soul rest in peace.