KZN Premier Ntuli puts best foot forward at yoga

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli. | Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli. | Supplied

Published Jul 2, 2024



Durban — KwaZulu-Natal’s newly-elected Premier Thami Ntuli put his best foot forward at a colourful celebration of the International Day of Yoga in Durban at the weekend.

In his first public appearance since his meteoric political rise to the premiership in a dramatic post-election government of provincial unity with the ANC and DA, Ntuli stood out among the more than 3 000 enthusiasts of India’s ancient art of yoga – declared by the UN as an annual global theme day on June 21 every year.

Making his debut in the growing support from the government to recognise and celebrate yoga, the premier has now literally taken the baton from the IFP’s founding president, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who accomplished his ninth yoga participation at the Durban Amphitheatre last year before he passed away aged 95 a few months later.

The former IFP strongman’s son, Inkosi Zuzifa Buthelezi, spoke before the premier’s keynote address recently, saying inkosi Buthelezi always looked forward to the Sivananda World Peace Foundation’s annual yoga day festivities.

“My father is somewhere looking down at us celebrating the International Day of Yoga,” said Buthelezi.

The foundation’s president, Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu, and the premier – both based in Richards Bay and Empangeni – participating together in the 10th International Day of Yoga augurs well for the provincial government’s future support for the age-old practice that promotes mental and physical fitness, peace and harmonious co-habiting.

Left to right are: Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo; MEC for Arts & Culture Mtomuhle Khawula; Queen Michelle Mohale; KZN Premier Thami Ntuli; Swami Karunananda ji; Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi; Swami Vadananda ji; Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman; Mabheka Zulu; and, Swami Isvaramayanda during Yoga Day at Amphitheatre. l KHAYA NGWENYA/ Independent Newspapers

In his address, Ntuli said this year marked the 10th International Day of Yoga with the theme “Yoga for Self and Society.” The premier said Yoga, a transformative practice, represents the harmony of mind and body, the balance between thought and action, and the unity of restraint and fulfilment.

He said this was the 10th successive year that the International Day of Yoga had been hosted since it was declared by the UN General Assembly as a global celebration, adding that it was therefore being commemorated all over the world on this date.

“On behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, it gives me immense pleasure and pride to participate in this annual commemoration of the practice of yoga. It is our fervent hope that this milestone event will become a tourism attraction on the KZN events calendar, attracting enthusiasts from all religions and cultures,” said Ntuli.

The premier highlighted the role of the local organising committee, saying the Sivananda World Peace Foundation had been promoting yoga for humanity over the past decade.

“The province has partnered with the foundation to inculcate knowledge of yoga to thousands of learners in participating schools. A well-respected philanthropist, Prince Ishwar Ramlutchman Mabheka Zulu, has consistently raised the bar on this iconic event over the past decade.”

The health benefits of yoga cannot be over-emphasised, as it provides both mental and physical benefits and is practised across the globe.

“Yoga promotes spiritual discipline to bring harmony between mind and body. It is a science and an art of healthy and sound living. The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, signifying ‘to join’ or ‘to combine’ or ‘to unite’.”

Delivering his closing remarks, Rumlutchman, who was the host, said this was an exciting time in the democracy and indeed heartening to see community leaders from all spheres, including political, government, academic, social and cultural sectors, all come together to engage in the practice of yoga.

“The International Day of Yoga is set to become a city-wide, provincial and national showpiece in South Africa and later across Africa,” said Rumlutchman.

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