In Celebration of the Wedding of Thulani Nxasana and Sbonelo Mkhize


ZuluWaters Game Reserve: 28 October 2017


It gives me tremendous pleasure to witness the wedding of Inkosi Sbonelo Mkhize. Considering his intellect and wisdom, even at this young age, I know he will have chosen his wife very carefully. I therefore have no qualms in congratulating this young couple, and wishing them everything of the best for a life of wedded bliss. Undoubtedly, they are well matched.

I often think of a quote by William Shakespeare when I attend weddings – “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment…” The fact is that a well-matched couple can become a dynamic force for good. I pray this will be the case for Inkosi Mkhize and his bride.

As a long-serving traditional leader, I understand the burden that rests on this young man’s shoulders. The pursuit of local economic development and the wellbeing of a rural community are no easy task. But the burden is made lighter when we walk in harmony with a supportive family.

I have been blessed for the past 65 years with a wife who understands my calling to serve, and who stands beside me, with encouragement, wisdom and prayer. Even though my wife has shied away from the limelight, we are a dynamic team. I could not do all that I have been called to do, or be all that I am asked to be, without the constant safe-haven of a happy marriage.

My prayer therefore, for this young couple, is that they will pursue a happy marriage. Let them seek good advice. Let them listen to wisdom. And let them lay aside anything that hinders their connection. At this great age, I can tell you this; that marriage becomes better the longer you stay in it, and that love becomes stronger the more you nurture it.

I feel comfortable offering advice to Inkosi Mkhize, even though he is an accomplished man and a proven leader. I feel comfortable because I knew his father and I knew his grandfather. I worked with them both and I know that they would want me to guide this young man as an elder and a fellow servant of our people.

I must take a moment to express my admiration for Inkosi Mkhize and the leadership he provides in the KwaZulu Natal House of Traditional Leaders, as well as in the uThukela Local House, and the AbaMbo Traditional Council.

I cannot help but think of Inkosi Albert Luthuli, my mentor and friend, who encouraged me to take up my own hereditary position as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan. Inkosi Luthuli had given up what was then a lucrative career, when the people of Groutville called upon him to serve.

Inkosi Mkhize did the same, leaving behind an international career in investment banking to serve his people as a traditional leader.

I was not surprised when I heard that he had been chosen to participate in President Barack Obama’s Initiative for Young African Leaders, at the University of California. Although he had been chosen from among thousands of candidates, worldwide, I couldn’t help but feel that it was an obvious choice. If one is looking for an exemplary young African leader, he is already in this room.

I therefore feel privileged to support Inkosi Mkhize as he takes this step of marriage. As a witness of the vows that he and uNdlunkulu have taken today, I consider myself a champion of their future happiness.

On this first day of the journey ahead, I give them my warmest congratulations!