INTRODUCTION OF HIS MAJESTY THE KING
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN
AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Moses Mabhida Stadium : 7 October 2018
His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu; Members of the Zulu Royal Family and Members of the Royal Council; Premier of KwaZulu Natal, the Hon. Mr Willies Mchunu; the Hon MEC for Arts and Culture Ms Sithole-Moloi; Leaders of Political Parties, Honourable Members of Parliament; Honourable Members of the Legislature; Honourable Members of the Executive present; the Chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board, the Hon Mr Justice Jerome Ngwenya and members of the Ingonyama Trust Board; Her Worship the Mayor of Durban Councillor Zandile Gumede; Their Worships our Mayors present; Honourable Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps; the Councillors present; Indunas; other distinguished guests of His Majesty; Amabutho and all members of the Zulu Nation assembled here today.
We are grateful to His Majesty the King for calling us together each year to remember the founder of our nation, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. This year an unexpected tragedy made it necessary to postpone these celebrations. We still feel the pain of loss suffered by the royal family on the passing of Prince Butholesizwe Zulu, who was laid to rest last Sunday. The royal family remains in our prayers.
Whenever we commemorate King Shaka, we remind ourselves of the strength of our inheritance. We recall the forming of our identity and the values on which our nation has been structured. The genius of King Shaka’s military strategies is honoured, as is his remarkable skill at constructing a well governed, cohesive society.
Today, let us keep referring back to these cornerstones of our nation’s identity. Our survival has been based on our courage and strength. But our capacity to thrive is based on our foundational values of cohesion, good governance and social justice. No matter the challenges we face, if we retain these values, we will know which path to take.
His Majesty our King traces his lineage back to the father of our nation. He sits on the throne of King Mpande ka Senzangakhona, the brother of King Shaka. In our monarch, our past, present and future are consolidated into a single destiny. We are therefore proud to see that our King honours the throne of King Shaka.
He has led our nation with wisdom for 46 years. We thank God for his longevity, which is unusual among our kings; and we thank God that he reigns in a time of peace, after generations of conflict and war.
But there are degrees of peace. When we hear our country’s crime statistics announced by the Minister of Police, South Africa does not sound like a place of peace. Violent crime, rape and murder are commonplace in our communities and are daily occurrences. Even on our university campuses, students are killing each other. They are raping each other. What example do they have when the Moerane Commission tells us that politically motivated violence and assassinations continue unabated, on a daily basis?
Two hundred years ago, our nation faced enemies in human form and violent conflict was inevitable. But today our enemies are not people. Our enemies are corruption, social injustice, criminality, economic distress, policy uncertainty, and tariff increases and price hikes of petrol and VAT that are far beyond what our people can afford. We dare not fight each other when the battle before us is a shared battle that demands a united fight.
We cannot act as though we are enemies. I am appalled at the incidents of hate speech that still surface in our public discourse. We cannot single people out and label them as the cause of our distress, as though everything would be hunky dory if we just got rid of this group or that group of South Africans. Have we not learned from the past?
Words can have a very damaging effect. They shape people’s perspective. A hundred and eighty-six years ago, when Henry Francis Fynn penned the first written account of King Shaka, his colleague Nathaniel Isaacs advised him (and I quote) “Make them out to be as bloodthirsty as you can and endeavour to give an estimation of the number of people they have murdered… this will swell up the work and make it interesting… (making) a fortune for you as well as myself”.
Sometimes the script of the past is wrong and wholly destructive. This generation needs to change the script of the past. I want to speak today to the youth of our nation, for you have a chance to bring healing. I wish to say that it is most unfortunate that we see some of our own black Historians distorting history for political reasons. There are today conflicts within trend families of Ubukhosi as a result of this trend.
To the youth, I say don’t be hesitant because of your youth. King Shaka was just 29 years old when he claimed the throne. Don’t let your circumstances hold you back. King Shaka was born out of wedlock. He and his mother, Queen Nandi Ndlovukazi kaBhebe of the eLangeni, had no real social standing. When Shaka was just six years old, his parents’ marriage failed, and Queen Nandi suffered persecution in the Royal Court.
Nqengelele ka Mvulane Buthelezi and Mudli ka Ndaba Zulu witnessed the Queen’s tribulations and negotiated with the Mthethwa Clan to whisk her away from KwaNobamba Royal residence, together with the young Prince, who was placed under the protection of the Inkosi of the Mthethwas, Inkosi Dingiswayo kaJobe.
How then did a youth with such a difficult start in life become one of the greatest icons of strength in the modern world?
Shaka allowed himself to be trained and mentored. Inkosi Dingiswayo took the Prince under his wing and raised him in his household. The Prince was trained as a warrior under the Mthethwa Clan, under Induna Ngomane Mdletshe’s leadership as Commander-in-Chief of the Mthethwa army. The young Shaka threw himself into training, displaying tremendous courage and skill. Before long he was revered among his peers.
So I encourage our youth to equip yourselves. Learn and pursue training. Listen to the voices of reason in our nation; the voices of wisdom who speak about peace and reconciliation. Let these be your mentors. It is not the firebrands and the rabble-rousers who build a nation, but the leaders of integrity. Hitler, one of the most successful rabble-rousers of our times, misled a great nation - the Germans, and embroiled the world in a war. The World War II was a result of the machinations of that rabble-rouser and demagogue.
King Shaka understood the value of surrounding himself with people of wisdom, and in the council of these advisers he built a lasting legacy. He asked the very man who had trained him, Induna Ngomane, to govern as his Prime Minister, and to train the King’s regiments in the ways of the Mthethwa warriors.
King Shaka then began to operate in his strengths, revealing his genius as a military strategist. He introduced a new battle formation, tougher shields and the short stabbing spear which was so effective in close combat. He imposed strict discipline over his troops, forbidding warriors from taking wives. He formed social regimental units, abolishing class and status in favour of having warriors earn respect through their valour. He had youths apprentice to warriors so they might be battle ready when they came of age. And he accustomed his troops to the conditions of war, having them train vigorously even in times of peace.
King Shaka was single-minded to the point of cruelty, and wholly intolerant of weakness. Yet his was somehow the very leadership needed at that point in our history.
What if yours is the leadership we need now? I want to urge our youth to make their mark, because time is fleeting. King Shaka’s reign lasted just 12 years. He died at the young age of 41. But by the time of his death he ruled over 250 000 people, all of whom identified themselves as members of the Zulu nation.
He birthed a nation that was so powerful, it could not be defeated by anything less than the full might of Queen Victoria’s army. His leadership in this part of Africa changed history. Because of King Shaka, the Zulu nation is known throughout the world. When his moment came, he seized it.
It was King Shaka’s military legacy that defeated the British army at Isandlwana. Because of King Shaka’s legacy, Zulu people today have a strong sense of identity and belonging. Even though our Kingdom was conquered and divided, and our kings were imprisoned and exiled, today we still stand united under one King. We remain today as one of the most cohesive, respected and powerful nations in Africa.
We are the legacy of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. As we celebrate his life, we celebrate our own identity.
King Shaka’s people have suffered a great deal of tragedy and hardship since he walked this soil. We have endured so much, and we have emerged from it all with our unity and our sense of identity still intact. We know who we are. King Shaka imbued our nation with a sense of courage, resilience, determination and discipline.
South Africa is in dire need of the attributes King Shaka forged in our nation. The Zulu nation is courageous and proud. We are a people with deep respect for unity, social wellbeing and personal contribution. This makes us great patriots and valuable citizens.
We are able to lead with moral integrity, for we are raised to respect our elders, to respect the dignity of all people and to respect ourselves. We are able to give a leadership of stability and order, for we are raised to respect the rule of law and the necessity of a secure social structure.
This is the legacy of our nation’s founder. It is a legacy I have laboured to preserve, and for which I will continue to labour. I am humbled to labour alongside His Majesty our King, who seeks the same good for our nation. His contributions to our heritage are immense. He has walked proudly in the footsteps of our Great Founder and Hero, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. Your Majesty, we salute you on this 47th year of your coronation.
I know the value of listening to his wisdom. As our King rises to speak today, let us listen and hear. Let us show our respect for our nation’s monarch.