MESSAGE OF SUPPORT BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Hilton, Pietermaritzburg: 7 April 2019
I am honoured to have been invited by Mr Sewraj and Mrs Zohra Girdhurparsadh to celebrate this wonderful occasion with their family and friends. We are pleased to congratulate their son, Mr Sameer Girdhurparsadh, on marrying his lovely wife, Wafiqah. May their marriage be blessed for many years to come.
I must thank my colleague, the Honourable Mr Narend Singh, for offering to bring you a message of support on my behalf. He did this because I and my family are grieving the loss of my beloved wife, who passed away just a fortnight ago. But when I thought about this celebration I realised how much I wanted to be here, because celebrations like this are a balm to the soul.
In a time of sorrow, one needs to remember the beauty of life and to celebrate love, happiness, hope and the future. So I want to thank you for this wonderful distraction from my heartache.
I also wanted to be here because I am, above all, a champion of marriage. I wanted to support you as you begin this journey together, knowing that it carries the promise of tremendous happiness and strength. I am not one of those people who think youth should be told how hard it will be. You are realists. You know there will be ups and downs.
Instead, I want to tell you a great secret. When you weather your downs and stay committed, your marriage will deepen; and when you appreciate the good times, you’ll have a store of strength when the going gets tough.
It is good to see so many people from this community celebrating your marriage. Think of these people as your personal cheerleaders in the years ahead. You are not in this alone. Family and community offer an important safety net, protecting your marriage by honouring it and encouraging you. This is the duty of the people around you, and I hope they will take it to heart.
The truth is that we can face anything if we are united in purpose and respect one another. This is true in marriage, just as it is true for our country. Right now South Africa is going through dark times. The shadows of corruption, state capture and a failing economy loom large over our people. But we can get through this.
We need to stay united in purpose. Where wounds have opened, we must be swift to bring healing. Where divisions are being created, we must restore unity. Our focus must be on that shared purpose of building our country, together, for the benefit of all. That is what the IFP is pursuing.
We believe in social cohesion and inclusive participation. We believe that everyone has a role to play and a contribution to make, and that everyone must have a future in South Africa.
I have had the privilege of working with remarkable men and women from diverse communities, who are building our nation, not for their own enrichment, but for the sake of creating social justice and economic justice for those who are still struggling 25 years into democracy.
And there are many who still struggle. Millions of youth are struggling to find work in our stagnant economy. Businesses are struggling to keep the doors open. Families are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living. There are single mothers living in shacks, vulnerable to criminals, and children living on the streets, easy victims for sexual predators.
These are not the kinds of things we want to think about, especially on such a happy occasion. But the poor are never far from our minds, and they are always on our doorstep. As South Africans, we are born into the culture of ubunto botho, regardless of our skin colour, religion or ethnicity. We are responsible for one another. Our future is shared, and this calls us to compassion, expressed in action.
I therefore encourage the young couple before us to keep their hearts and their hands open. Even as they enjoy this honeymoon period where they only have eyes for each other, I encourage them to look outwards. Talk to each other about what you can do, and what you are willing to do together. You are a team now, and a team can be formidable in taking on challenges.
I was blessed with a wife who was always my team mate. For 67 years she stood by my side and urged me to do whatever I could, not only to serve as a leader, but to help quietly, behind the scenes. She taught me generosity of spirit, and for that I will always be grateful.
As Sameer and Wafiqah embark on their marriage, I wish them every blessing. May they discover the special gifts that each has to offer, and may they celebrate their good fortune again and again.
Let me thank the Girdhurparsadh family again for inviting me to celebrate this union. The union of a man and woman is symbolic of the unity between diverse people; they very unity we hope to achieve in our country. I know that with the support of good people like you, that unity can be achieved.
Thank you for restoring my hope, and giving us reason to celebrate.