Pretoria – The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) says despite having “mixed feelings” over British Queen Elizabeth II, it sends out heartfelt condolences to the people of England and the entire United Kingdom following her demise.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognisable to billions of people around the world, died on Thursday. She was 96.
Speaking to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, general secretary of Contralesa Zolani Mkiva said one could not help but think of the many contradictions.
“You will understand that we have come through a very brutal system of colonisation of which the queen presided over the administration of the British soul. When something like this happens, it goes without saying it gives us a sense of mixed feelings,” said Mkiva.
“But as Africans, and true to our values and ethos of Ubuntu, when someone passes one, we have to pay respect, be humane and extend a hand of compassion and kindness during the difficult time that they are going through. (That is done) without brushing over the realities of our lived experiences that colonisation was brutal against us and the British led the salvo in so far as that is concerned.”
Mkiva said African people are still suffering the consequences of colonialism.
“The majority of our people still live in squalor because most of our resources were exploited in order to enrich Britain, and our people were killed in numbers in the quest of the British empire to gain control over us. We still remain a people who are landless. We still remain people who are very poor as a result of this,” he said.
“We do acknowledge that these contradictions are very clear in the sense that she has a special place, in that she always expressed sentiment about South Africa, and we hear through history that in 1947, for instance, she was here to celebrate her 21st birthday, amongst other things. Whenever we elected a president, the president would be invited to England to go and interface with the queen. She continued to treat South Africa like her colony, and indeed in terms of its outlook, our economy is still very much linked to the British system.
“We are still a member of a colonial instrument called the Commonwealth of nations. That is the kind of history and relationship that we have with Britain to date,” said Mkiva.
The Zulu monarch has joined scores of people across the world to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Her eldest son, Charles, aged 73, immediately succeeded as king, according to centuries of protocol, beginning a new, less certain chapter for the royal family after the queen’s record-breaking 70-year reign.
The new monarch is officially known as King Charles III.