Funeral Service For the Late Mr. Themba Nzimande


Osuthu: 14 August 2019

It is a sad truth that when a man dies the full treasury of his knowledge, talents and learning goes with him to the grave. We are burying a vast treasure today; something more valuable than I can begin to explain.

Mr Themba Nzimande was an extraordinary man. He was gifted with an unquenchable thirst for the truth, and an enormous capacity to wade through volumes of ideas until he found it.

I had the unique pleasure of witnessing his growth, for he grew up in front of me. He worked in my office for many years, from the time he was a very young man, and he became my protégé. I quickly recognised his ability to research a matter both accurately and comprehensively, and I was amazed at the depth of maturity expressed in the conclusions he drew.

I have in my office and at home piles and piles of correspondence penned by Mr Themba Nzimande on all manner of subjects related to our country and the direction it was taking. He was naturally perceptive, but his judgements were always based on a detailed understanding of history.

It is difficult for me to accept his passing. When he became ill, I was devastated, for it was clear that his illness would take from him that which he was most passionate about. He was determined not to let go of his capacity for reading, writing and research.

I wanted to be here today not only to pay tribute to someone I respected so much, but to express my condolences in person to the family. I do this because I am part of this family.

When Themba married Ms Buyisiwe Dlamini-Nzimande, he became even more like a son, for his wife’s paternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother were both the product of Madlikivane Mtshali. Ms Dlamini-Nzimande’s father, Mr Phillimon Dlamini, worked at the Mahlabathini Magistrate’s Court for many years. His mother and the mother of my late father came from the same Mtshali family.

I was therefore honoured to work with Ms Buyisiwe Dlamini-Nzimande in Parliament in Cape Town, where we both served as MPs. Because she was like a daughter to me, I was proud to see the President appoint her as an Ambassador.

Today I express my deepest condolences to my daughter, and to her children, for this terrible loss.

We are fortunate to have so many pieces of writing by Mr Nzimande which bear testimony to his life’s passion. I think of his book titled “King Mpande’s Children” which so immaculately researched all the descendants of King Mpande, revealing who is a prince or a princess.

He then proceeded to write a book on the genealogy of the Zulu family. Then another book on the Buthelezi family. I know that he was researching the genealogy of other families for more books, but that work was left unfinished with his passing.

I must express my personal gratitude to Mr Themba Nzimande, as I did many times when he was with me, for he wrote a great deal about me and about my legacy. He was a faithful armour bearer in the war of propaganda, ensuring that truth took its place within the library of public information.

He was, as I said, an extraordinarily gifted person. I shall miss his insightful commentary and his studious tone. I shall his presence. But I will eagerly look forward to seeing him again, for I know as all Believers do that this is not the end. It is the beginning of a great new chapter. I therefore pray for us, who are left behind, for we are grieving. But for Mr Themba Nzimande, I can only rejoice. He has been welcomed by our Lord.

As we lay to rest a special scholar, father, author and friend, we know that he will rest in peace.