PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
eNsingweni: 30 September 2018
Members of the Zulu Royal Family; Inkosi Nzuza, Amakhosi of the Zulu Nation; and members of the Traditional Council; Amabutho and Izinduna; Representatives of Government; distinguished guests.
We gather today in somewhat unusual circumstances. When Prince Gideon Layukona ka Mnyayiza ka Ndabuko and Amakhosi first instituted this second celebration of our nation’s founder, hosted by Amakhosi, it was intended to follow the main celebration in KwaDukuza, for this would enable all those who could not travel to KwaDukuza to still celebrate King Shaka kaSenzangakhona.
Thus for 45 years we have held this second celebration, funding it ourselves, as an expression of our commitment to honouring our heritage. But this year, this second celebration precedes the main celebration, which is something that has never happened before.
With the unexpected passing of His Royal Highness Prince Butholesizwe, it became necessary to postpone the main celebration of King Shaka Day which would have been held on 23 September. Our nation grieved with His Majesty the King as he laid his son to rest on that very day. It was agreed that we would commemorate King Shaka the following Saturday.
Thus the main celebration was intended to take place yesterday. In the meantime, however, train services across KwaZulu Natal were suspended as arson attacks on PRASA offices escalated the tensions that have been mounting between commuters and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. By Thursday this past week, a difficult decision had to be taken, for without train services many people would not be able to travel into Durban for the celebrations.
His Majesty the King therefore instructed that the main celebrations be postponed again. They will now take place next Sunday, on the 7th of October. It was agreed, however, that Amakhosi should go ahead with this celebration, for preparations have been underway for several months. Moreover, because this celebration is financed by Amakhosi, it would have placed an inordinate burden on us to change the date. We therefore look ahead to the celebrations of His Majesty the King to be held in Durban next Sunday, while today we humbly honour the greatest forebear of our King.
For more than 200 years, the legacy of King Shaka has remained. We, the Amakhosi of the Zulu nation, carry that legacy, for we are the repository of the rich traditions, heritage and culture that were birthed through King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. When each of us accepted leadership within our communities, we shouldered the responsibility of protecting, preserving and honouring his legacy. It has therefore been our duty, for 200 years, to fight every threat and harness every opportunity, for the benefit of our people.
One of the most present threats we face relates to land, which is a fundamental part of our nation’s identity and wellbeing. The land of the Zulu Kingdom is held in Trust, under the trusteeship of His Majesty the King. We, as the King’s Amakhosi, administer this land on His Majesty’s behalf, ensuring that all our people have enough land to live on, raise families, produce food and run businesses. Communal land provides one of the most fundamental social safety nets, particularly in these times of deep economic distress.
We therefore thank His Majesty our King for calling an Imbizo on the 4th of July when threats arose against the Ingonyama Trust and the continued administration of our land by Amakhosi. We look forward to the second Imbizo, which will soon be announced, so that we might grapple further with this thorny issue, for it has not yet been fully resolved. At that Imbizo we will unpack what has happened since we first met on this issue, and what these developments mean for our people.
Land has always been central to our identity. King Shaka understood the importance of land and treated it as a valuable resource. He recognised that we needed to live in harmony with the land so that it would produce enough food to support our growing nation. He saw that our natural resources are not infinite and that wildlife needs to be protected to ensure sustainability. For this reason, King Shaka set aside land on which hunting was prohibited.
Indeed, King Shaka was one of our founding conservationists. This is but one part of a legacy that continues into the present. His legacy is rich and diverse, from military innovation to social engineering. The society that King Shaka constructed was built to last, because it was predicated on the ideals of unity, discipline and shared responsibility. It is these ideals that still give strength to our nation.
I have said that, to preserve this strength, we as Amakhosi must fight every threat and harness every opportunity. On this occasion I want to speak about an opportunity that is developing, particularly here in KwaZulu Natal. I am sure you will have heard of the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court which legalises the recreational use of marijuana in private homes. The Court has given Parliament 24 months to amend legislation to give effect to this ruling. This has brought us one step closer to the goal of legalising the production of hemp for commercial purposes.
During the time of King Shaka, the Zulu nation was familiar with hemp as a medicinal plant which was used to treat coughs, cuts, respiratory infections and even Tuberculosis. Today, research has shown that hemp can be used to manufacture some 25 000 commercial products, from clothing and fabric, to sunscreen, bricks and biodiesel. This is a billion dollar industry that has not yet been tapped in South Africa, because commercialised hemp farming is yet to be legalised.
However, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced in Parliament that he is engaging with the Departments of Health, Trade and Industry, Justice and Constitutional Development and Environmental Affairs. They are being assisted by the South African Police Service, the Agricultural Research Council and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, as they consider a new regulatory framework for hemp which would legalise commercial farming.
I am proud to know that this debate was started by my late Advisor, the Hon. Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, when he served as an IFP Member of Parliament. He introduced the Medical Innovation Bill which initially sought not only the legalisation of medical marijuana, but the legalisation of hemp for commercial use. As the Bill progressed through the parliamentary processes, it became necessary to split these two issues and drive them separately.
It is good to see that the issue of commercial hemp is now finding its place in the public spotlight. We as Amakhosi need to keep abreast of this debate, for there is tremendous opportunity for the economic upliftment of our people. The soil and the climate of KwaZulu Natal are perfectly suited for the production of hemp. The land of our Kingdom could support a booming industry, with the benefits going directly to our communities.
This, of course, makes the debate around land even more pressing.
I feel it important that we discuss these things as we celebrate our nation’s founder, for the present issues and how we handle them will determine whether his legacy will remain 200 years from now. We have assumed the responsibility that was carried by our ancestors; a responsibility that we will pass on to the next generation. In doing so, we too will leave a leave. Let it be one that honours our heritage.