Gala Dinner Hosted By The Ingonyama Trust Board

Introduction Of His Majesty The King
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi Of The Buthelezi Clan
Traditional Prime Minister To The Zulu Nation And Monarch

Durban International Convention Centre

His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu; Chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, and Members of the Board; Members of the Zulu Royal Family; Members of the Royal Council; Amakhosi present, Dignitaries from National and Provincial Government; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; distinguished guests ladies and gentleman.

I feel a surge of emotions when I stand up to present His Majesty before he speaks on such an auspicious occasion, on his birthday.

Knowing the role that my Ancestor Nqengelele Buthelezi played in the Royal Court when he and Mudli ka Ndaba approached Inkosi Dingiswayo Mthethwa to receive the Queen Mother, who was related to him, Queen Nandi and her little son, the then Prince Shaka, after the Queen Mother was treated rather shabbily in the Royal Court. And when King Shaka’s nephew King Cetshwayo ka Mpande’s Regiments inflicted a humiliating defeat on her Majesty Queen Victoria’s army all the King Cetshwayo’s forces were under the command of Mnyamana Buthelezi, the King’s Prime Minister, who was my great grandfather. Although Mnyamana was leading other Regiments at Khambule at the time two of his sons Mntumengana and Mkhandumba my grandfather fought on that day. Mntumengana died but Mkhandumba survived. The Zulu Regiments used the fighting strategies which were introduced by His Majesty King Shaka, the founder of the Zulu Nation such as the horns of the army which is even today recognised as extremy even in many military academies in the world. In 1976 when I was invited to Nigeria by the then Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo to speak at the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs, I was deeply touched when they told me that the previous guest speaker before me at the Institute was a Professor whose topic was: ‘King Shaka the Military Strategist’. To do what I have been asked to do when our Monarch is celebrating his birthday is therefore a great honour for many reasons.

That nation, founded by King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, still thrives. We still live on the land of our grandfathers and great grandfathers, and we still have a king on the throne. For that, we give thanks tonight. Indeed, there is a profound sense of history in tonight’s celebration, for we remember not only the birth of our nation but also the birth of His Majesty our King.

His Majesty King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu sits on the throne of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe ka Solomon, and of his grandfather, King Solomon Maphumzana ka Dinuzulu. He traces his lineage back to King Dinuzulu, King Cetshwayo, King Mpande and his brother King Dingane, to King Shaka, King Senzangakhona and King Jama. He carries on his shoulders the weight of many generations of warriors, Amakhosi and kings. He symbolizes the strength of our nation.

We therefore give thanks for the long life and good health of our King, as we celebrate His Majesty’s birthday. We honour him for all he has done to restore to our nation the beneficial values and practices of the past. We thank him for leading us with wisdom, and for leading by example. We appreciate his strong leadership as we face the challenges of the present, particularly the fight against HIV/Aids and the struggle against poverty. His Majesty our King has been fearless in opening debates that need to be opened, and in saying the things that need to be said.

In the present debate on restitution of land and land reform, His Majesty has placed the Zulu Nation at the centre of a positive perspective. Earlier this month, His Majesty spoke at the opening of the KwaZulu Natal Provincial House of Traditional Leaders and announced that title deeds will be granted to individuals residing on land held by the Ingonyama Trust.

Thus the vision behind the Ingonyama Trust Act is coming to fruition. Having piloted this legislation through the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly in October 1993, I am proud to see the next step begin for the benefit of our people.

Looking back now, I am humbled by the role that history has allowed me to play in the service of my nation. The creation of the Ingonyama Trust was intended to protect our heritage, and it has been effective. I am grateful that the Trust is administered by such a distinguished Board.

It is fitting that this evening’s celebration is hosted by the Ingonyama Trust Board. Two hundred years of history precede this moment, but that history would not be remembered if we had allowed our heritage to be diluted or lost.

Through our amakhosi, the repository of all our traditions, values and culture, the identity of the Zulu Nation has been kept alive. Thus, as we celebrate two hundred years, we must honour these custodians and thank them.

Amakhosi have endured a long and ongoing struggle to maintain the integrity of traditional social structures which secure the good governance of communities. There are still questions around the role, powers and functions of Amakhosi within a democratic dispensation, for these are yet to be fully captured in legislation. Yet while this struggle continues, Amakhosi lead, guide, administer, judge, assist and facilitate, doing what we are called to do by tradition, culture and love of country.

Amakhosi look to His Majesty our King for direction and courage. We are proud to carry the legacy of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. We will continue, for the sake of our nation and under the leadership of our King. Let us therefore welcome His Majesty tonight as he speaks to us, the Amakhosi aseNdlunkulu.

I am honoured to present His Majesty our King.