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Minister Dlamini Zuma pays tribute to King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 16, 2021


Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

The Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, paid a heartfelt tribute to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, following his passing in the early hours of Friday, March 12, after an extended illness.

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The untimely passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka Bhekuzulu, Isilo Samabandla, has left us poorer as a nation and people, looking at the important role he played in beholding a new democratic South Africa.

His Majesty King Zwelithini was the longest-serving monarch of the Zulu kingdom, with a reign spanning more than five decades, following his crowning in 1971 after the passing of his father in 1968.

During his reign, he was an example of diligence and persistence. He placed the development of his people first. His rare generosity, thoughtfulness and embracing of diversity have shaped many lives. He was a giant upon which many stood tall. His name will be engraved forever in the hearts of those whose lives he touched in many ways.

King Zwelithini was a true leader whose good deeds and untiring endeavours unified the Zulu nation which he led through difficult times, including apartheid.

As a true custodian of the Zulu culture, he took pride in his identity and heritage. In return, the people he led and South Africans in general were proud of him and his exemplary leadership, as he was not only concerned about the welfare of his people, but all South Africans.

King Zwelithini was not the one to shy from challenges. He took a stand to protect lives, calling for an end to political killings and thus contributing towards bringing peace among communities.

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To ensure a peaceful South Africa, he travelled the country and engaged with all people, irrespective of their race, colour, creed or political belief. During the height of political violence in the country, he became a mediator, peacemaker and a voice of reason.

The king played a critical role in bringing about the democratic dispensation we enjoy today. He wanted nothing but to see a South Africa at peace and with a thriving democracy. His majesty appreciated and understood how the institution of traditional leadership and democracy should co-exist, as envisaged by our Constitution. He profiled the developmental role that the institution of traditional leadership has to play to ensure development of their areas of jurisdiction and, ultimately, the country.

He became a voice of the voiceless, especially the poorest of the poor, and also spoke about the role of the institution of traditional leadership in a democratic South Africa.

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The king flew a flag of royal traditional leadership in South Africa and Africa. This was evident in the African royal leadership who often visited him for advice on leadership.

He also never forgot his counterparts in the traditional leadership whom he often sent the Zulu royal envoys to, to support during happy times such as coronations and birthday celebrations and difficult times such as death.

In an effort to consolidate unity and nation-building, his majesty pioneered a gathering of African kingships in Durban to discuss the global perspective on indigenous leadership, seeking to facilitate cohesion and make a call for a united front to fight social ills and the negative effects of conflict on our continent.

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The king made himself available to support government initiatives on projects related to the promotion and preservation of customs and traditions in South African communities. On two occasions, his majesty supported the government initiative to develop protocol guidelines for the institution of traditional leadership aimed at keeping with a need to create harmonised relations between the institution of traditional leadership and all its stakeholders, and to ensure effective and efficient governance and social cohesion in the country, as well as contributing to the transformation of the institution, placing it in a position where it can effectively partner and work with other stakeholders.

Before the launch of the District Development Model (DDM) in eThekwini, his majesty supported the efforts of the government to ensure service delivery in municipalities that would ensure communities are developed. Through the DDM, the aim was to improve coherence and government service delivery with a focus on 44 districts and eight metros as development spaces that are used as centres of service delivery and economic development, including job creation.

As a torchbearer of hope, the king led from the front in the fight against HIV/Aids and TB. He encouraged responsible behaviour, mobilising people to stop the spread of HIV/Aids. He took a courageous stance on HIV/Aids prevention, challenging the international community to avail more funding against the pandemic and the South African government to provide medication to the people.

Although the initiation of young men is not part of the Zulu culture, having been stopped by King Shaka, he encouraged young Zulu men to go for circumcision as one of the HIV/Aids initiatives.

In some instances, he spoke against the prevailing socio-economic challenges that continued to besiege all communities. Since the DDM was launched, Isilo wanted to know how his people were going to benefit from the government Initiative. He wanted to know the role that was to be played by the traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal. He often called Minister Dlamini Zuma to brief him on the developments of this Programme. In the last meeting, he held with the minister, indicated his availability to support the department whenever there are challenges in implementing the programme.

As part of demonstrating patriotism, in December last year, His Majesty signed a pledge to fight the scourge of gender-based violence, child abuse and human trafficking as the country observed the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.

For his sterling work and in recognition of the social impact of his work in changing the lives of the people, the University of Zululand conferred him with an honorary doctorate.

Our hearts are with his family, his children, the Zulu nation and South Africa as a whole.

Phumula ngokuthula Mdlokombane kaNdaba! Hlanga Lomhlabathi! Ngangezwe lakhe! Silo samaBandla onke! Bhejane phum’esiqiwini kade bekuvalele! Bayede! Indeed, the shield of the Zulu Nation is smashed (Isihlangu sikaZulu siphukile).

* Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, MP Minister of Cogta

Pretoria News