Visit to the King Cetshwayo District Municipality On the Occasion of The Renaming of a Municipal Building and Unveiling of a Statue

Apr 3, 2023 | Press Releases

Address by
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation
Great-grandson of His Majesty King Cetshwayo

King Cetshwayo District Municipality – 31 March 2023


His Worship Councillor AT Ntuli, Mayor of the King Cetshwayo District Municipality;
Deputy Mayor, Speaker and Members of the Executive Council;
The Executive leadership of uMfolozi Local Municipality, City of uMhlathuze Local Municipality, uMlalazi Local Municipality, Mthonjaneni Local Municipality and Nkandla Local Municipality;
HRH Prince Ntuthukoyezwe Zuzifa Buthelezi, the Hon. Princess Phumzile Buthelezi MPL, the Hon. Princess Sibuyiselwe Buthelezi MP, members of my family;
Members of Parliament and Members of the Provincial Legislature;
All Councillors, Amakhosi and Izinduna;
Representatives from the University of Zululand and from the Mangosuthu University of Technology, as well as Principals from the various High Schools of uMhlathuze;
Representatives of Government, business and religious leaders;
The executive members of cooperatives throughout the District;
Members of this community, and friends who have travelled to join us for this special occasion.

I cannot begin to tell you how special this moment is; a moment in which the rich heritage of our past converges with the greatest aspirations of our future. Today we honour the Kings and Amakhosi who fought for and sustained the Zulu Kingdom against the onslaught of invasion, conquest and oppression. At the same time, we lay a foundation on which the next generation can build.

I want to thank the Mayor of King Cetshwayo District Municipality and the Executive Council for the decisions they took which led us to this moment. It is right and fitting that we honour our heritage, for out of that heritage came the principles of Ubuntu that underpin such actions as building houses for destitute families, and empowering communities towards self-reliance through thriving cooperatives.

This Municipality has shown time and again the great respect it has for our heritage. The District itself is named after my great-grandfather, King Cetshwayo, whose warriors fought in the Anglo-Zulu War and who won that historic victory at the Battle of Isandlwana.

King Cetshwayo achieved that victory at Isandlwana through the action of his warriors, under the command of his Prime Minister, Mnyamana Buthelezi, my great- grandfather. Two of Mnyamana’s sons fought at Isandlwana. My grandfather, Mkhandumba, fought and was injured, but survived, while his brother Mtumengana laid down his life for our Kingdom. Mkhandumba’s son, Mathole, was my father. He was later appointed by His Majesty King Solomon ka Dinuzulu (his brother-in-law) as his Prime Minister. A position he held even after the death of King Solomon ka Dinuzulu during the interregnum, when his younger brother His Royal Highness, Mshiyeni ka Dinuzulu was Regent after the death of the King in 1933.

Ideally, the statue we unveil today would be a statue of the Commander-in-Chief of all King Cetshwayo’s Regiments, Mnyamana Buthelezi, placed next to that of the King. However, the Municipality has recognised that I am Mnyamana’s successor and the current Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, having served two Kings before our present King, His Majesty King Cyprian Bhekuzulu ka Solomon and His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu.

Such recognition of past and present service cannot diminish the status of the King and the Royal Family. Indeed, it honours our King to remember the lineage of the past, even by naming a structure within the Municipality.

I am grateful that today, within the King Cetshwayo District, the name of the Municipal building is being reinstated. For years this building was called “Mangosuthu Buthelezi House”, in honour of the relationship between the monarch and his traditional Prime Minister. It was only recently that attempts were made to obliterate that relationship by removing the name of the King’s Prime Minister. Today, a significant part of our past is being restored.

This is an act of the highest regard by the Municipality for the Zulu King and Kingdom. There is long precedence for the King’s Prime Minister to hold a unique place within the King’s court.

Indeed, more than 200 years ago, my paternal great great grandfather, Nqengelele Buthelezi, lived within the Nobamba Royal Court of King Senzangakhona ka Jama. Nqengelele tutored the royal children, among whom was Prince Sgidi, born to Queen Nandi (Indlovukazi) ka Bhele, who would ascend to the throne as King Shaka ka Senzangakhona.

Nqengelele’s successors all had dwellings right in the Royal Court itself. This has been the case under various Kings. Prince Dinuzulu as a young Prince was brought up at Prime Minister Mnyamana’s Residence of Ekushumayeleni. On the day the young Prince Dinuzulu reached puberty he was living at one of Mnyamana’s homesteads of Ophisweni.

Just before the British burned down King Cetshwayo’s Ondini, King Cetshwayo stayed at the homestead of his Prime Minister of Ekushumayeleni. And while the King was abroad, his queens and daughters stayed at Prime Minister Mnyamana’s Ekushumayeleni Homestead.

It is a fact that Nqengelele’s son, Mnyamana, had his dwelling at Nodwengu Royal Court (King Mpande’s Residence) and that later he had a dwelling within the Royal Court of Ondini.

At the cultural capital of Enyokeni up till today, apart from being the King’s Residence, only two people have dwellings, specially constructed for them; that is the late Queen Mother Princess Mantfombi, the King’s mother, and the other person with such a dwelling withing the Royal Court of Enyokeni is myself – and no one else.

There is therefore historical precedence for the King’s Prime Minister to have a special place within the King’s own court, and it is in line with such protocol that the name of the Municipal building is reinstated as it was originally within the King Cetshwayo District.

It is very sad that this honouring of our heritage has been belittled by the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal, and that such acrimonious statements have been made by the Provincial Secretary of the ANC, Mr Bheki Mtolo, regarding the reinstating of my name on an office building.

A false narrative has been created of a serious violation of royal protocol in the Municipality reinstating the name of their offices to “Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi House”, as though this somehow shows disrespect for King Cetshwayo and the Zulu Royal family. Am I an outsider to the Royal Family?

Does it insult King Cetshwayo to remember that his Prime Minister, Mnyamana Buthelezi, was Commander-in-Chief of all the King’s Regiments during the Anglo-Zulu War? Does it insult King Shaka to remember that he was tutored by Nqengelele Buthelezi? Does it insult King Dinuzulu to remember that he was raised at the homestead of Mnyamana Buthelezi?

Does it insult the Zulu Royal Family to remember that even King Cetshwayo’s family lived at Mnyamana’s residence of Ekushumayeleni, and that just before Ondini was burned to the ground, King Cetshwayo himself lived at Ekushumayeleni before he was transferred to the homestead of Shodo Mbuyisa in the Ngome forest?

Does it insult the Zulu Royal Family to remember that from birth I was brought up by my uncle, King Solomon ka Dinuzulu, at KwaDlamahlahla Palace, until I reached adult life?

My family, the Buthelezi family, has rendered faithful service to the Kings and the Zulu Nation for several generations. How then does it insult King Cetshwayo to remember that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi served as traditional Prime Minister to King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe ka Solomon, to King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, and to King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, who sits even now on the throne of the Zulu Nation?

No, if one needs an example of an insult, in order to understand royal protocol, let me give an example. In 2010, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal announced that the World Cup Soccer Stadium in this Province would be named after King Shaka’s father, King Senzangakhona. But then they named it the Moses Mabhida Stadium, after one of the ANC political leaders. Is he more important in their book than King Senzangakhona?

After seven decades of service to three successive Kings and to the Zulu Nation, why must my name be obliterated from our history? When I was prepared to forfeit my role in the democracy for which we struggled for so many years, with such great sacrifice, simply to ensure that the Zulu Monarch would have a place in our new dispensation – why must my name now disappear from the record? Is it because I served my people? Or because my father served before me, and my great grandfather before him, and my great great grandfather before that, all the way down to the founding of the Zulu Nation?

Or is it because I faithfully followed the instruction of my ANC leaders, Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Mr Oliver Tambo, and accepted the burden of administering KwaZulu under the harshest conditions of apartheid? Must my name be removed from the annals of history because I heeded the advice of the Frontline States in 1974, with the approval of the ANC’s leadership-in-exile, and reignited the liberation struggle on South African soil?

Why must I be destroyed even now, while I still serve my King and my country at the great age of 94? Am I such a threat? Madiba admitted more than twenty years ago that the ANC had (and I quote) “used every ammunition to destroy (Buthelezi)” but had failed. Let me tell you why. When you target me, you target everything I stand for. If you try to obliterate my legacy, you are obliterating a life of service.

That is why the King Cetshwayo Municipality speaks of my legacy when it launches the District Goat Farming Project, because this project has been birthed out of my calls for self-help and self-reliance. If that it something to be destroyed, then we might as well kiss food security goodbye.

It is also why the Municipality speaks of my legacy when it hands over houses to destitute, women-headed households; because I have championed the protection and empowerment of women all my life. It is unconscionable to stand against that, for the sake of destroying one old man.

I am humbled to know that my life’s service has led to the building of homes for the Mhlongo family of Mandlazini, the Mbuyazi family of Esikhaleni, and the Mthembu family of Gobandlovu. I am particularly heartened by the assistance provided to the Mthembu family, who experienced such tragedy with the loss of their eldest son in 2021. Over the years, my late wife and I have lost five of our own children. It is a pain that nothing can alleviate.

In the midst of such suffering, it is wonderful to see those with the ability to assist reaching out and providing help. That is the heart of Ubuntu. It is our very identity as members of the Zulu Nation. It is a principle for which I have lived all my life.

It is my hope that when future generations see the statue of the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation standing here at the King Cetshwayo District Municipality offices, they will be reminded of this principle of servant leadership.

Statues do more than honour the people whom they represent. Statues capture an idea and preserve it, so that it will be remembered and spoken about and acted upon. Just as a statue of King Shaka reminds us of our nation’s unity and strength, so a statue of King Cetshwayo reminds us of our fortitude under fire and our ability to survive.

I am humbled by the Municipality’s decision to erect a statue of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation – not because this statue honours me, but because it honours the principles by which I have lived. I believe that these principles are necessary to the continued survival not only of the Zulu Nation, but of South Africa.

We are a country under fire. We face the onslaught of economic distress and deepening inequality. Some may say that we do not need statues at a time like this. If this were simply a tribute to me, I would certainly reject it. But statues remain through storms, and remain standing after storms have passed, as a reminder of our overcoming. There is value in monuments that stir in us the courage to keep fighting, because the principles we fight for are worthy and good.

Why remember our past at all, if it has no bearing on the future? The truth is that we can only build on foundations laid yesterday. If we reject those foundations, the scaffolding of our future will collapse at the slightest tremor. Let us rather build wisely, acknowledging what has been done so far, and taking it further by our own grand efforts.

If there is one regret I have at having lived in the time I did, it is that I will not get to see the great heights South Africa achieves as her children keep building. My prayer is that you will keep building. Do not be disheartened or discouraged by anything said against our heritage. The future will surely vindicate us for honouring the truth.

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