MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE
INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Weekly Newsletter to the Nation
My dear friends and fellow South Africans,
Yesterday I returned from London where I attended and spoke at David Rattray's memorial service at Southwark Cathedral on Monday. The service was a splendid celebration of David's life: a glorious fusion of colour, ritual and informality. The sun, fittingly, streamed into the nave of the overflowing cathedral, evoking the bright light of David's all too brief, yet, brilliant life.
Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, sat in the front row adjacent to Nicky Rattray and their three sons. The scarlet uniformed figure of Brigadier Robert Aitkin of the Royal Welsh mingled with Minister Ronnie Kasrils and Prince Valekhaya Shange of the Zulu Royal family. A direct descendent of Lord Chelmsford, who led the British forces at Isandlwana, was present, as were many of David's friends and colleagues.
Reverend Rowan Smith, the Dean of Cape Town, who perchance happened to be in London, assisted the Dean of Southwark Cathedral, contributing to the South African flavour of the service.
Andrew Rattray, David and Nicky's eldest son, read beautifully from Isaiah 61:
"The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners."
I, on behalf of the Zulu and South African people, was privileged to give one of the three tributes to David. I recalled how David understood the searing power of a nation's narrative and the importance that it be told. I thanked him for helping the Zulu nation reclaim its proud history from the ashes of conquest, colonialism and the indignities of apartheid. I praised his work of reconciliation and observed how the quality of his vivid accounts freed us to empathise with the 'other side' when the cause is noble. Empathy for the other, we know from our history, is the beginning of the truest kind of reconciliation.
Brigadier Robert Aitken, on behalf of the Royal Welsh, and Mr Robin Woodhead paid moving, and often humorous, tributes reminding us that not only was David a man of many parts; he also knew how to laugh. Robin Woodhead, who has a farm adjacent to Fugitive Drift Lodge, recalled with deadpan English humour how David described his occupation as "storyteller" on his tax returns.
During the service the band of the Royal Welsh played a fanfare, the Aberhonddu and District Male Choir sang Men of Harlech and Rachie, and the Lions of Zululand sang Lomhlengi, Alikho Igama and - after the Blessing with the entire congegration remaining standing - Siyabonga Ngomsakho.
The service did handsome justice to a great patriot.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP