Memorial Lecture On Professor Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews
Delivered By Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President Of The Inkatha Freedom Party
Alumnus Of The University Of Fort Hare
Delivered at University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus
Standing here today, I feel the weight of 100 years of history. Here in these halls and classrooms, great men and women were moulded and prepared before they burst forth to claim their destiny. Here they wrestled with the questions of life, with the ideas of man and the principles of faith. Here they laid claim to knowledge, equipping themselves bit by bit for the battle that lay ahead. It was a battle against circumstances and ideologies, but more than that it was a battle for freedom.
I am humbled to have walked among some of the greatest minds to emerge from this university; to have known giants like Nelson Mandela, Sir Seretse Khama, Dr Ntatho Motlana, Ms Sally Maunye, Mr Duma Nokwe, Ms Tiny Malangabi, Mr Can Themba, Mr Alfred Hutchinson, Mr Joe Vincent Matthews, Mr Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Dr Munyua Waiyaki, Dr Njoroge Mungai, Mr Orton Chirwa and Mr Ntsu Mokhehle. This list is too long to continue.
But of all these names, during my time at Fort Hare, I was influenced most profoundly by one man: the Professor we affectionately called ‘ZK’.
I am therefore honoured today to deliver the memorial lecture on Professor Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews, as we celebrate the centenary anniversary of my alma mater, the University of Fort Hare. I must thank the Vice Chancellor Dr Mvuyo Tom, for affording me this privilege.
To every student who attends Fort Hare, ZK Matthews is a household name. He was the first student ever to have graduated from this university. But to people of my generation, his name brings to mind so much more. Educationist, orator, political giant, intellectual, husband, man of faith. There are many aspects to the man. Before I venture an account of his life, let me tell you about the ZK I knew.
I entered Fort Hare in 1948, in the very year apartheid began. It was not surprising that our lectures were filled with politics, and many of our black lecturers were politicians, including Mr CS Ntloko under whom I studied Native Law, Mr Godfrey Pitje who chaired our Fort Hare branch of the ANC Youth League, and Professor ZK Matthews under whom I studied Bantu Administration, Roman-Dutch Law and Criminal Law. Professor Matthews happened to be the father of my friend and fellow student, Joe.
Professor Matthews was an impressive figure, almost intimidating. However he had a wonderful sense of humour, liberally offering anecdotes to illustrate his point. I remember, for instance, when he taught us about defamation. He regaled us with the tale of General Hertzog being assaulted in Parliament, which prompted ‘The Witness’ newspaper to print the headline “SERVED HIM RIGHT”. General Hertzog sued and was awarded damages for defamation.
While remaining always the epitome of dignity, Professor Matthews didn’t hide his disappointment or disapproval. I remember how he shook his head sadly as he reported that a conference of Die Suid-Afrikaanse Vroue Federasie had passed a resolution on “The Native Question”.
During one of our rag balls we got to be aware that Professor ‘ZK’ got aware of some of our youthful exuberances. On such occasions we wore all sorts of odd garments. We jived to the music of the students’ band – the Varsity Swingsters. I remember that Duma Nokwe played the trombone, the Professor seated prim and proper in black tie, was shaking his head ever so slightly at our antics. On Monday morning we attended his class of Roman Dutch Law. He put some questions to us and we were blank! He then said; “Stop doing all these nonsensical things you do in this place.” (A reference to our rag ball) And added; “Jive on your books Sirs!” That “Sirs” as a reference to us, was extremely embarrassing. I felt very small.
My years at Fort Hare have a special place in my heart. I was naturally devastated when our political activities saw me rusticated in my final year. As the Youth League, we organised a boycott of the visit to Fort Hare by the then Governor General, Dr G. Brand van Zyl. Professor Matthews was not present during the visit, for he was attending a funeral. But before he left, he told his son that he hoped the family would be well represented. Upon his return, of course, he discovered that Joe had been part of the boycott. Poor Joe was summarily chased out of the house, and had to spend a fretful night in his cousin Peter’s room at Beda Hall.
Ultimately the university felt that making an example of three students was enough. Unfortunately, I was one of them. My uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, the founder of the ANC, wrote to Professor Matthews, seeking his assistance to ensure that I completed my studies. Dr Edgar Brookes, the Principal of Adams College, also intervened, and the authorities at Fort Hare were finally persuaded to let me write my exams in Durban at the University of Natal. I was accepted into the non-European section by Dr Mabel Palmer.
I must say, my friend Joe Matthews expressed his camaraderie during that time, even copying out notes for me from the lectures at Fort Hare. Joe went on to make his father proud, and he remained one of my lifelong friends.
But let me now turn from these reminiscences to expound on the remarkable life of Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews.
ZK Matthews was born into a time vastly different to the present. He was born at the turn of the last century, during the Second Boer War, when European colonialists battled for control of the territories. The Act of Union still lay ahead, as did the founding of the South African National Native Congress, the passing of the Natives’ Land Act, the beginning of apartheid and the first awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an African. Both within South Africa and across the world, history would be filled with momentous events during his lifetime.
As an adult, he understood that these events were demanding a fundamental change in the human experience. On this matter, he wrote –
“While some changes are normal in every society, those that have taken place in the modern world in recent years can only be described as revolutionary. They have been rapid, widespread and thoroughgoing. More changes have been packed into the last fifty years than have occurred in centuries in the past. They have affected the so-called western world of Europe and North America but, perhaps even more drastically, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. They go to the root of every aspect of life; they call not for a minor tinkering with the social structure, the economic order or the political system, but for a radical transformation of individual and group attitudes, ideas and values; not for a mere pouring of new wines into old bottles, but for a thorough rethinking and re-evaluation of the traditional, in order to bring about the realignment of social, cultural, economic and political life to achieve a new world order.”
ZK Matthews was part of that thorough rethinking and re-evaluation. His work brought change in perspectives and policies on matters as diverse as education throughout Africa, and humanity’s responsibility concerning refugees. He was a pioneer in many ways, challenging the established view that a black man, born into an impoverished family, at the turn of the last century, could not possibly amount to much.
There is no one better equipped to tell a man’s life story, than the man himself. Let me therefore read the opening words of ZK Matthews’s autobiography, titled “Freedom For My People” –
“The first white man I ever saw was a Location Superintendent named Bird. He was mounted on a white horse and wore a white uniform, with brass buttons down the centre of the tunic, a white helmet cupped over his red face, and a pistol in a holster that hung from his belt. From where I peered up at him, through the wire fence around our small yard, he looked like a giant, a fearsome giant who came from the dangerous world beyond the ‘Location’, bringing pain and panic with him to our family and to all the people among whom we lived.”
With these beginnings, it is remarkable that ZK developed a firm belief in equality. The fundamental principle that all men are equal in the eyes of God underscored everything he thought, said and did. At his wake in 1968, as friends paid tribute to his character, achievements and intellect, the representative of Fort Hare University College, Mr Makhanya, recalled what ZK once said about racial discrimination.
He said that he could tolerate discrimination between the educated and uneducated, because the uneducated could at least be inspired by such discrimination to get some education. He could also tolerate some discrimination between clean people and dirty people because the dirty could ameliorate their situation with a piece of soap and water. But he abhorred racial discrimination on the basis of colour, as no one could help being born the colour he is!
ZK’s life was a testimony to his belief in equality. As I sat at his state funeral on the morning of 18 May 1968, I thought to myself that there could not have been a better setting for the funeral of the man as I knew him. As I looked around Trinity Church, I saw members of the diplomatic corps representing various countries, European, African and even Chinese. A multi-racial choir sang beautifully in Sechuana and in English. Sir Seretse Khama, the President of Botswana, and Lady Khama, and the Botswana Cabinet attended. In this setting, race and colour were irrelevant.
So what shaped the exceptional character and beliefs of ZK Matthews, turning him from that boy peering through the wire fence, into the man esteemed by presidents? Let us look at his life.
Following his primary education at Lyndhurst Public School in Kimberley, ZK attended Lovedale Training School. In 1918, he enrolled at the South African Native College at Fort Hare. It had been in existence for just two years and was under the competent leadership of Dr Alexander Kerr. By the time I entered Fort Hare, Dr Kerr, or “Skerrie” as we called him, was in his final years in this position.
ZK’s superior intellect, coupled with hard work, ensured that he had no problems obtaining first matric and then a Bachelor of Arts degree. This degree was from of the University of South Africa, as Fort Hare was then its university college. ZK went on to acquire a post-graduate diploma which qualified him to teach.
I am sure that this list of achievements sounds fairly standard. But one must appreciate the novelty of it at the time. ZK Matthews was in fact the first black South African to obtain higher learning in our country. Professor DDT Jabavu, who lectured at Fort Hare before him, may have been the first to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, but he studied outside South Africa. ZK was blazing a trail.
Upon leaving Fort Hare, ZK was appointed to the secondary school at Adams College in Natal. Inkosi Albert Luthuli was also teaching there at the time. Here again ZK broke new ground, becoming Principal of Adams College, which placed him in leadership over a staff of all race groups.
In everything, ZK followed his own convictions, including matters of the heart. When he fell in love with Ms Frieda Bokwe, whom he had met at Fort Hare, he disregarded the Sotho-Nguni divide and proposed marriage. It proved a wise decision, for their marriage was a blessed partnership that lasted a lifetime. A year after their wedding, they celebrated the birth of their son, Joe Vincent Gaobakwe Matthews.
Mrs Frieda Matthews was a great match for ZK. She in fact became one of the first black women to earn a degree within South Africa. Her father, the Rev. John Knox Bokwe, was instrumental in the founding of Fort Hare, having worked for years for Dr James Stewart. Frieda was remarkably accomplished and was well able to stand at her husband’s side throughout his great career. Today, their legacy of achievement continues in their granddaughter, the Honourable Minister Naledi Pandor, with whom I have the privilege of working in the National Assembly.
Newly a father and working as Principal of Adams College, ZK continued studying on his own time. He was also active on the Natal African Teachers’ Union, together with Bishop Alphaeus Zulu and Inkosi Luthuli. ZK became the first President of the Union.
In 1930, he earned his Bachelor Degree in Law from the University of South Africa. Three years later, he received a scholarship to the University of Yale, and the Matthews family left for the United States. Within a year, ZK graduated Master of Arts, and the family moved again, this time to London. There, at the London School of Economics, he studied Social Anthropology under the great Polish anthropologist, Professor Bronislaw Malinowski.
At that point, South Africa received a gift that should not be overlooked. An academic of ZK’s calibre could well have remained outside our country. But he returned. And shortly thereafter Dr Alexander Kerr welcomed him back to Fort Hare, now as a lecturer in Native Law and Social Anthropology.
It was during his time as a lecturer that ZK joined the African National Congress. Within three years he was elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
That same year, 1943, ZK was elected to the Native Representative Council created by the then Prime Minister General Jan Smuts. The Council had been designed to advise Government on the framing of legislation for African people. Alan Paton writes of ZK’s appointment as follows –
“Here was another man whom fate was forcing into a mould for which his temperament did not fit him… By nature he was deliberate and gentle, with none of the tricks of the demagogue.” (Life of JH Hofmeyr, p. 438)
That is not to say that he was not perfectly capable. Professor Matthews could be acerbic in a very gentle sort of way. I remember for example how he summed up the philosophy and policies of Prime Minister Smuts. He said they reminded him of a few lines in the first stanza of the hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’: “Keep thou my feet. I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me.”
Mr Oliver Walker, in his book titled ‘Kaffirs Are Lively’, writes about the Council as follows –
“The council was a lively body of men whose speeches on national issues made more sense that the hot air breathed in Cape Town’s House of Assembly… There was Mussolini-domed Professor ZK Matthews, holder of several degrees from White universities, who was then on the staff of Fort Hare. He was sauvest of debaters, an ideal chairman and a rare pourer of oil on troubled waters.”
This characteristic of ZK, this preference to reconcile opposing views rather than enforcing a rigid code of rules, was appreciated by his students. Often, he would remind us, “There are two sides to every issue.” By the time I started at Fort Hare, he had been promoted to Head of the Department of African Studies, taking over from the retired Professor Tengo Jabavu. He was serving as Vice Principal of Fort Hare, second in command to “Skerrie”. During my second year of studies, he succeed Rev Canon James Calata as President of the Cape branch of the African National Congress.
I wish I could say that he received support as Chairman of the Native Representative Council. Instead, he experienced great opposition. The Council was having little influence on Government, which frustrated ZK enormously. But he believed in changing the system from within and would not compromise his principles by giving in. He was certainly not doing it for the money; members of Council received the paltry allowance of ten Pounds.
But there was a great debate raging across South Africa on whether participating in government-created structures was right or wrong. Many called for ZK to resign from the Council. Some students at Fort Hare pinned notices to the notice board at the College accusing him of being a “stooge”. Ironically, many whites considered him an extremist and even a communist. But the actual communists resented him deeply for his participation on the Council.
There was a newspaper called ‘The Torch’ which was published by the Trotskyites, supposedly edited by a Dr Kies, which was circulated on the university campus. On one occasion, it reported on a meeting that had taken place in Port Elizabeth which was addressed by the Reverend Skomolo, a Chaplain of the ANC. The report went like this: “The Rev Skomolo delivered a fiery address. But he forgot that on the same platform there were those who had developed pot-bellies from crumbs that fall from Pharaoh’s table.” This, of course, was a snipe at ZK.
The burning question among revolutionaries at the time has been perfectly framed by the late Professor Herbert Vilakazi, whom we laid to rest this past Saturday. He expressed it, during the 2013 Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture, as follows –
“The most crucially important question… was: what should be the attitude of the liberation movement towards these… structures… and towards the individuals in leadership positions of these structures? Should revolutionaries boycott these structures? Should they send some of their people to work inside these structures? Should revolutionaries refuse to cooperate with these structures on specific issues? Should the individuals working within these structures be considered enemies of the struggle for liberation? Should these leaders be attacked the same way revolutionaries should attack the White oppressive State? Should the individuals leading these structures be identified as the same with the White oppressors? Should revolutionaries boycott reactionary institutions all the time? Are there times and conditions when revolutionaries shall be obligated to work within reactionary institutions?”
Mandela himself answered these questions in 1958, in a piece called “Our Struggle Needs Many Tactics”. He wrote –
“In some cases, therefore, it may be correct to boycott, and in others it may be unwise and dangerous… In its struggle for the attainment of its demands the liberation movement avails itself of various political weapons, one of which might (but not necessarily) be the boycott. It is, therefore, a serious error to regard the boycott as a weapon that must be employed at all times and in all conditions.”
In his book, “No Easy Way to Freedom”, Mandela argues that it was not treachery to serve in government-created institutions. This is echoed by the words of Mr Walter Sisulu, who wrote, while in prison: “One of our greatest mistakes is to see in every man and woman who works within these apartheid institutions an enemy of the revolution.” One must remember that Inkosi Luthuli also served on the Native Representative Council, as did Mr AWG Champion, Mr Paul Mosaka, the Zulu Regent Prince Mshiyeni ka Dinuzulu and also IKumkani Victor Poto of Western Pondoland.
Despite enormous pressure, ZK never resigned from the Council. But on 14 August 1946 the Council took the decision to adjourn sine die. Shortly thereafter, ZK penned a comprehensive pamphlet titled “Reasons Why the Native Representative Council in the Union of South Africa Adjourned”.
In its final section, he writes –
“The patience of the Council was obviously near breaking point and an adjournment of the Council for an indefinite period until the Government showed evidence of its intention to give more serious consideration to the views of the Council seemed the least drastic action that the Council could take… the reputation of the Council has suffered as the result of the Government's attitude towards it. The view has been expressed that this experiment in political segregation has been given a fair trial by the African people during the last decade, and that the time has come for them to recognise that the experiment has failed and to embark upon a boycott of the scheme. This is mentioned to indicate that the councillors are not in advance of their people in drawing the attention of the Government… to the fact that all is not well...”
Despite Council’s adjournment, the debate continued over whether ZK should have resigned. As students, we engaged this debate in the ANC Youth League branch at Fort Hare, for ZK was not just our professor and Vice Principal, but also our Party President in the Cape Province. He was our provincial leader. As the students went to and fro debating whether he should have resigned, Joe Matthews stood up and said, “Why don’t we invite him so that we can ask our questions?”
Of course, neither Joe nor I were keen on debating Professor Matthews, for we knew that all of us would come off second best. Perhaps our friends knew that too, for some of them murmured dissent. But then Joe asked, “Are you scared to invite him?” And immediately they clamoured, “Call him! Call him!”
Professor Matthews was gracious enough to attend our next meeting and face the students’ interrogation. He patiently explained that he had boycotted the Council by arresting its machinery from within. One of our senior members, Mr Ntsu Mokhehle, then got up. He was an MSc graduate who was doing a diploma in teaching, and he later became Prime Minister of Lesotho. Mr Mokhehle said, “Professor! Do you believe in democracy?” Professor Matthews, in his calm and cool style, said, “Yes Mr Mokhehle I do. Except that, sometimes I have no confidence in the Demos i.e. the people, because it is not so much the hands one counts when it comes to voting that matter, but the heads behind them.” Thus ended the debate.
I remember writing in ‘The World’ newspaper in 1976 that, as students, we criticized severely some of the political stances of great political leaders of our youth, yet still we respected them profoundly. It was experience, once we were out in the world, that made us understand these leaders.
ZK’s work was not only political. He was a great educationist and sought to broaden the horizons of Africans across the continent through higher education. Together with Dr Kerr, the Principal of Fort Hare, ZK was appointed to the De la Warr Imperial Commission on Higher Education in East Africa and Sudan. Among the nine commissioners, they alone had any experience of African education and their contribution greatly influenced their British colleagues. Dr Kerr later wrote of his admiration for ZK’s skill as an advisor.
Then of course there was his faith. He was a committed Christian and worked diligently for the Church. I remember there was a stained glass window in the chapel at Beda Hall depicting St Bede, the classical scholar who translated the Bible from Latin into English. At his feet, looking up in rapt attention, was a young disciple. The artist had used Bishop William Edmund Smyth, the first Warden of Beda Hall, as inspiration for the face of St Bede. The disciple’s face belonged to none other than ZK Matthews!
During his student days at Fort Hare, ZK had developed a great friendship with Bishop Smyth. Among many things, he appreciated that, under the Bishop, Beda Hall alone had no rule about lights-out. This was to the envy of the other hostels, and particularly conducive to ZK’s education, for he preferred studying in the quiet of night, often staying up to three or four in the morning.
In 1952, while serving as Vice Principal of Fort Hare, ZK worked for a year at Union Theological Seminary in New York as a visiting professor. At that time, the relentless barrage of legislation to extend racial discrimination had prompted the ANC and the Communist Party to launch the Defiance Campaign with the aim of mobilising widespread defiance of curfews, pass laws and segregated amenities. Inkosi Albert Luthuli, who was elected ANC president in 1952, gave his support to the principle of mass action.
However, the Defiance Campaign soon petered out, as one after the other its organisers were banned and imprisoned. The next major breakthrough was when Professor ZK Matthews proposed the idea of an Assembly of the People at the ANC Cape Conference. The purpose of the Assembly was to adopt a Freedom Charter, which primarily affirmed that South Africa belonged to all its inhabitants, black and white.
The Charter demanded a non-racial, democratic system of government and equal protection of all before the rule of law. It famously proclaimed, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people”. As one of its drafters, ZK’s ideological fingerprints are all over that document.
With this level of involvement in our struggle it is not surprising that ZK was among the 156 activists arrested in December 1956, who stood accused at the Treason Trial. Joe was among them, as was Inkosi Luthuli, who later wrote about it as follows –
“The treason trial must occupy a special place in South African history. That grim pre-dawn raid, deliberately calculated to strike terror into hesitant minds and impress upon the entire nation the determination of the governing clique to stifle all opposition, made one hundred and fifty-six of us, belonging to all the races of our land, into a group of accused facing one of the most serious charges in any legal system.”
I admired my professor tremendously for the way he handled these tribulations. He emerged utterly unembittered.
Years later, in 1975, Mrs Frieda Matthews asked Ms Monica Wilson to edit her late husband’s autobiography and pen a memoir. Ms Wilson was among those who had penned a tribute to ZK shortly after his death. In that tribute she recalled ZK’s composure and fortitude throughout his detention and trial. She wrote –
“The judge who tried him for treason and acquitted him, congratulated him, at the end of the case, on the manner in which he had given evidence. He could view even his own case with an astonishing measure of objectivity. And I remember a sunny day after he had come out of goal when he told of the absurdities of that period of imprisonment without a trace of malice. It was in the manner of a soldier returned from battle who can yet recall the comradeship and the jokes.”
Once acquitted, ZK returned to Fort Hare. But there were seismic changes on the horizon at the university. In 1959, the apartheid regime passed the Extension of University Education Act to establish separate university colleges for Africans, Coloureds and Asians. Wits and Cape Town University were no longer open to Africans, and Fort Hare would be exclusively for Xhosa-speaking students. Control of Fort Hare was taken from its multi-racial governing council and given to the Minister of Bantu Education, with the powers to dismiss staff.
Professor Matthews was two years away from retirement. He loved his work at Fort Hare, but ultimately he felt he could not compromise his principles, and he resigned. In doing so, he lost both his job and his pension.
For a while after that, he earned a living practicing as an attorney in Alice, before taking up a position as Secretary of the World Council of Churches, in Geneva. He travelled up and down Africa on behalf of Inter-Church Aid and, together with Sir Hugh Foot, investigated the plight of refugees in Africa. The report they produced proved profoundly influential and drew the attention of the United Nations to this important issue.
Then came his swansong.
When Botswana achieved independence on 30 September 1966, Sir Seretse Khama became its first President. Khama was a former student of Professor Matthews and knew his remarkable strengths. He quickly appointed Professor Matthews as Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States and its representative at the United Nations. Thus Professor Matthews presented his credentials to President Lyndon B. Johnson, settled in Washington, and began discussing world politics with Heads of State.
Sadly, this appointment lasted less than two years before his health began to fail. At the youthful age of sixty-eight, ZK passed away in Washington in May 1968. In a gesture of exceptional respect, President Johnson flew his mortal remains back to Botswana in the President’s own plane.
Soon after his death, I was asked to write an article for a magazine called ‘The South African Outlook’ which was published by Lovedale Press. I titled it simply, ‘His Death’. In part, it read as follows –
“After the funeral service one of the longest corteges I have ever seen wound its way to the outskirts of Gaberones where the cemetery is. The rites at the grave-side were performed by Bishop Skelton. There were hundreds of people of all races from all parts of South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho. Mrs Frieda Matthews was the very personification of composure and dignity in her grief, as were her children. Joe supported his mother throughout the service at the grave-side. Dr Stephen Matthews, the last surviving brother of the deceased expressed thanks to all on behalf of the family.
Thus was laid to rest one of the greatest leaders I have ever had the privilege to know. I thought it was absolutely marvelous that during the latter part of his life in service of God and his fellow men Dr Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews should have died in harness serving a non-racial country, in a non-racial setting, something he always strove for even in the country of his birth.”
Today, as we celebrate the centenary of the University of Fort Hare, it is fitting that we remember the exceptional life of Professor Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews. At this juncture in history, our country wrestles with contentious issues of tertiary education. Across South Africa our institutions are seized with the debate on access to education, student fees, the outsourcing of university employees, student revolts, and the role of historical names and statues. Politics is playing a heavy role in the direction of this debate. Thus education is flung in an ocean of turbulence.
What then can the individual student hold on to? What can inspire hope in the young man or woman who pursues education for education sake, whose intellectual capacity cries out to be filled, and whose thirst for knowledge transcends all other considerations? Their anchor is this: that it can be done. ZK Matthews blazed a trail, pursuing higher education when the consensus among those in power was against him becoming anything at all.
He went from the impoverished streets of Kimberley, to the hallowed halls of the United Nations. And he did it through his own efforts; using his own capacity; on merit. Thus I would say to the students at Fort Hare in 2016: heed this example. Let it be an inspiration to you as you pursue not just a degree, but a life of learning. Respect the education offered to you at this university. Show respect to your lecturers and professors. A university education is the beginning of your destiny. How you achieve it will forever speak of your character.
This is the legacy of ZK Matthews.
I cannot help but wonder how a leader of his calibre would view the present state of the party he served and the country he loved. How would he have felt about Polokwane and Mangaung? What would his reaction have been to the depth of corruption that pervades our democratic Government at all levels? With the hardships we face in South Africa, from a failing economy to drought, unemployment and increasing social unrest, the danger of an implosion is ever present, and the threat of demagoguery is upon us.
Those of us who love our country are tempted to abandon hope. But ZK would undoubtedly have reacted by calling for calm and urging us to maintain hope. In the darkest hour, I am always reminded of a favourite quote of my friend, Sir Laurens van der Post. He loved to quote Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote, “It is better to travel in hope than to arrive.”
Now more than ever we need the kind of leadership that ZK provided: calm, strong, reasoned, and predicated on a genuine belief in equality. The present challenges demand that we be more cerebral than emotional. We need the measured intellect of a ZK Matthews. For the sake of South Africa, I pray that God will provide.
I thank you.