MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCES
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY AND
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
Pholela Lutheran Mission, Nkandla: 8 June 2019
I read from the book of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15 –
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye… the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed… Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’. ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’”
As we gather to say our final farewell to Mrs Sindisiwe Flora Zondi, we cling to the knowledge of eternal life in Christ. How could we bear the pain of sorrow, unless we knew the hope of glory?
I am humbled to say a few words in tribute to Mrs Zondi, and to express my deepest condolences to her beloved son, the Reverend Keith Musa Zondi, and to his family. I have known the Reverend Musa Zondi since he was a teenager, and I have had the privilege of serving our people alongside him. I knew his father, who worked for the Lutheran Church in KwaZulu Natal for years, and I knew his mother, whom we lay to rest today.
Like Reverend Zondi, I lost my mother when I was a grown man, when I had already married and raised my children, when I had already served as a leader and answered my calling. My mother was there for it all. She advised me, prayed for me, talked me through difficult times, and shared the moments of celebration. I know what it is to lose a mother who has been such a constant presence.
So my heart aches for Reverend Zondi, for I know his pain.
I also know that we must thank the Lord for allowing Mrs Sindisiwe Zondi to witness so much of her family’s journey, and to be a part of their lives for so many years. I admired Mrs Zondi and her husband, for they never stopped their son from following his heart. He was very young when he joined Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe. They could easily have influenced him not to get involved. But they never interfered.
That is as much a testimony to Mrs Zondi’s character as it is to her faith. She watched her son endure very real danger, death threats and political storms. But she never insisted that he withdraw. It was not easy for her as a mother to allow her 19 year old son to travel to London with a delegation of Inkatha, in 1979, to meet with a delegation of the ANC-in-exile, led by Mr Oliver Tambo.
He was the youngest member of our delegation, and the youngest member of the Inkatha Central Committee. He came into leadership just as the ANC’s mission-in-exile began its campaign of propaganda against me and against Inkatha. When the sluice gates were opened and all sorts of lies were told about me, Mrs Zondi could so easily have told her young son to abandon me. But she didn’t.
When he became Chairperson of the Inkatha Youth Brigade at the age of 24, he found himself in the thick of a low-intensity internecine civil war. Through Inkatha, the KwaZulu Government was trying to equip youth with skills and education, while all around us they were being killed. It was an intensely difficult time. But for the prayers of a mother, our youth leader could not have survived.
But for Mrs Zondi’s prayers and support, Musa Zondi would have found his path difficult as a Deputy Minister, a Member of Parliament and as Secretary General of the IFP.
How then could I begrudge him his desire to step away from politics after 32 years of faithful service, when he told me that he wanted to devote his attention to his family and to the church. His family and his faith had been the pillars of his strength. It was because of them that he was able to give to the IFP what he so willingly gave.
In the past seven years, Mrs Zondi watched her son embrace his calling to ministry. Like his father, he chose the Lutheran Church. When I look at Mrs Zondi’s son, I see a peacemaker, and I know that she raised him to value peace. She was a woman of faith, of courage, of fortitude. She refused to let go of hope, believing always that the Lord’s will would prevail over the will of man.
I have said that Mrs Zondi could have influenced her son away from politics. In truth, she did influence him, in many ways. But instead of telling him what to do and what not to do, she used her influence to cement a set of values in his heart. It was these values that guided him in every decision. That is the mark of an excellent mother and a wonderful woman of God.
Knowing her character and how much she meant to those who loved her, I can only express my deepest condolences. This is a difficult loss indeed. May the Lord grant you His peace that passes all understanding, as you continue to grieve.
I urge you to take hold of the words in Corinthians and to live in hope that at that last trumpet sound a new dawn will break and we will rise together in Christ.
Until that glorious moment, may Mrs Sindisiwe Flora Zondi rest in peace.