Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
St Thomas Anglican Church, eMlalazi
I am humbled to witness this ceremony to celebrate the lives of Reverend DB Zungu and his four children, Mawande, Zamancwane, Vukani and Cabangani. Mrs Zungu, uMaZulu; you and your family have done well to gather like this, to bless the tombstones and to bless your family home in eMlalazi.
I feel a connection with this family that goes beyond the relationship between our Clans, and beyond the sharing of political ideals through the Inkatha Freedom Party. My affinity for this family is born of a mutual acquaintance with grief. We have lost, just as you have lost. We have buried children and wept at gravesides, and our family has been brought to our knees just as yours has.
But just as I know the sorrow of losing so many from one family over the course of a lifetime, I also know the joy of remembering their lives. It is a healing balm to the soul to speak about those who have gone before us, and to share their remembrance with others. Somehow it uplifts the downtrodden heart to know that others remember them, miss them and know their character.
I know the character of the late Reverend DB Zungu. He was a man of principle and commitment. He was a man of faith and deeply held convictions. He believed in the moral framework within which we all live, but which so few of us live up to. When he became a priest, he made a public declaration of his faith in Christ. It wasn’t a once off commitment. He knew that when people heard he was “Reverend” Zungu, they would know where he stood with his Creator and Lord.
He was a believer, first and foremost. It defined his life.
Over the years, his faith shaped his character, so that Reverend Zungu came to encapsulate the values we all hold high in the IFP: integrity, commitment, self-sacrifice, service, discipline and diligence. uMaZulu, the Lord blessed you with a wonderful husband. I can only think that he was a beloved father as well.
Today, we thank God for the influence of Reverend Zungu’s life on the lives of his children. We thank the Lord for the time he had with little Cabangani, and with Vukani, both of whom he grieved far too soon. I am reminded of the loss of my own little Mabhuku Snikwakonke who was just 9 when she passed. In the year that you lost Vukani, we too lost a son, closely followed by a daughter, who was named by one of my aunts, oKa Gongoni of the Zungu Clan. My maternal great grandfather’s mother Queen Ngqumbazi was also a member of the Zungu family.
The tragic passing of Reverend Zungu the following year was painful, not only for me but for the whole of the IFP. Our Party grieved with your family, for we knew what had been lost. Reverend Zungu was a dedicated servant of the people and a staunch leader in the IFP. While he was in leadership, eMlalazi was a stronghold of the IFP.
It breaks my heart that, since then, the many rifts in our party caused us to lose the leadership of eMlalazi. I know that what is happening here now would have worried Reverend Zungu and he would have worked hard to set things right.
In his memory, and for the sake of all those who dedicated their lives to strengthening the IFP over the past forty years, I hope we will be reminded of the kind of leadership we had in eMlalazi, and that we will do what needs to be done to resuscitate our organisation so that it may once again be what it was when Reverend Zungu was in leadership.
Zamancwane and Mawande buried their father, but it was not long before they joined him in eternity. Now we remember their lives; theirs and their brothers’ and their father’s, and we celebrate the individuals they were within this family.
As we bless their tombstones and celebrate their lives, I would like to read the Lord’s promise to Israel in the book of Amos, chapter 9, verses 13 to 15. This promise reminds us of the Lord’s restoration. When He restores a people, or a family, He makes them productive, fruitful and secure once again. I believe He will do this for the Zungu family. May His blessing be upon the family home.
The Lord’s promise reads thus –
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills.
I will bring back my exiled people…
they will rebuild the ruined cities
and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant them in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them…'”
Thus says the Lord our God. May His grace restore this family.