Funeral of the Late Mr Khethelo Dlamini



I long to be with you as we lay Mr Khethelo Dlamini to rest. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you today. My heart is filled with sorrow over this terrible loss. I ask that the friends of this family will give their support generously, so that they might be comforted in the midst of their pain.

I also ask that Inkosi Dlamini and the family please forgive my absence, as I am compelled to be in Limpopo today with the Deputy President of South Africa. Had it been possible, I would have changed my plans so that I could honour my friend as he buries his son. In my absence, I send my deepest condolences. I wanted you to know what is in my heart.

The news of Khethelo Dlamini’s death shocked me, as it did all of us. It was wholly unexpected. We are left with many questions, some of which may be answered as the law takes its course, but some of which will remain until we too stand before the Lord. As a father who has lost five children of my own, I understand the questions in the heart of Inkosi Dlamini and his family. Why? Why Khethelo? Why so young?

On this side of eternity there may not be answers, but there are promises that we can cling to in times of distress. One such promise is written in Revelation chapter 21, which speaks about the things that are to come. It says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away… Behold I make all things new… these words are true and faithful… I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is thirsty freely from the fountain of the water of life.”

I pray that the Dlamini family and the whole clan of KwaBhidla will cling to this promise, knowing that the Lord is close to those who grieve. Inkosi Thulabezwe Dlamini, Inkosi of the KwaBhidla section of the great Dlamini clan, is one of our young Amakhosi who is full of promise as a man of integrity. As a man of honesty and a man who is truly a servant of his people, and of the people of South Africa. We know that the clan of KwaBhidla has given South Africa one of the most admired leaders of South Africa Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has served South Africa and Africa so well. In my view whenever I interact with Inkosi of the Bhidla clan, I have no doubt that he is really from the same timber as Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who has put us as Zulu people on the map of Africa. Khethelo was still a flower in the bud, but already full of promise, and just blossoming.

We can only imagine the bright future that Khethelo may have had. He was in his first year of studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal and had chosen law as his field of study. As the first born son, he was setting the example, choosing to pursue education. He was 21, an age which we often association with becoming fully adult. By all appearances, Khethelo’s life was just starting. It is not only the Inkosi and Indlunkulu and the people who have lost, but all of us as Zulu people have lost a future leader of the Clan so full of promise

In truth, his 21 years were full of life. The joy he gave to his parents and family cannot be forgotten. He loved, and laughed, and played, and made friends. He finished school, he thought about the future, he experienced kindness and he enjoyed the sunshine. Khethelo created many memories, and it is those memories that must sustain us now. One poet Grey, puts what has happened to us so well when he wrote: “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its fragrance into the desert air.”

Let us not get stuck in the “what ifs” and “what could have been”. There is no peace there. Let us think rather of what we had, and thank the Lord for His gift of life.

It is true that there is no greater blessing than seeing one’s children prosper. As a father, I say to Inkosi Dlamini and Indlunkulu that Khethelo did prosper. He lived the time that he was given, and we are proud of him. We will remember his life and honour his memory. He will be amongst our many flowers that were taken just as they were blossoming.

May the Lord embrace you with healing and peace, even when it doesn’t make sense. I join my prayers today with the prayers of many as we say, may Khethelo Dlamini rest in peace.