MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE FROM
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
READ ON HIS BEHALF BY THE HON. MR BLESSED GWALA MPL
Soweto: 8 June 2019
As we lay Ms Sibongile Nkomo to rest, I am deeply humbled to pay tribute to her as a colleague and a friend.
On behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party, I extend our condolences to Mrs Angelina Nkomo, to her sons, and to Ms Nkomo’s daughter, Mrs Zama Awuzie and her family. Your loss is tremendous, and we share your pain. While I am not able to be in Soweto today, my thoughts and my prayers are with you.
Ms Sibongile Nkomo was a remarkable leader. Her role in the IFP cannot be replaced, for she was uniquely gifted at building relationships, imparting vision and inspiring hope.
But as much as I feel the sorrow of loss, I want to remind us to grieve with hope, rather than despair. The Honourable Ms Nkomo was a woman of faith. Her relationship with Christ was such that she knew her future. Beyond anything that would happen on this side of eternity, she lived with the assurance of abundant life.
Our sadness therefore is not for her, but for ourselves, because she was important to us and now she is gone.
Sibongile Nkomo had the skills and the character of a leader. But more than that, she pursued a deeper understanding of leadership, from reading and studying. It is appropriate that we are reminded of John C. Maxwell when we think of her. He said, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude”.
This was true of our former Secretary General. She commanded respect with what she said, and how she said it. She was an excellent communicator. But it was her attitude that captured people’s attention.
Her attitude spoke of quiet strength, courage, influence and the drive to succeed. It is not surprising that she was a pioneer, becoming the first woman to chair a provincial public accounts committee under democracy. And she did it well, transforming a record of adverse audit reports into a legacy of clean audits. As she administered billions of Rands in State funds, I am sure the words of Christ echoed in her mind: when you are faithful with the little, you will be ruler over much.
The Honourable Nkomo was faithful with whatever she was given. She served the IFP with integrity, accepting the role that we asked her to play, in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, in Parliament, in portfolio committees, in the National Executive Committee and in the National Council. She performed her duties with integrity and skill.
I was particularly grateful that the Honourable Nkomo agreed to serve as our Secretary General when the 2012 national conference elected her. She was the kind of leader I needed on my team as we began the leadership transition. She was not just strong; she was tough. She wasn’t afraid of anyone. Nor was she afraid of being blunt and straightforward, when that was needed.
She has played no small part in the success of our leadership transition, and in laying the foundation for the future survival of the IFP. In years to come, when we remember our heroes, she will always be among them.
May the family be comforted in this time of grieving. Please know that we stand with you and that we held Ms Nkomo in the highest esteem.
May she rest now in eternal peace.