We recall how he worked with the provincial government, with national departments, with the private sector and with various development partners on water provision and drought relief, on agriculture and farmer development.
He was a champion of rural development who truly believed in harnessing the potential that rural areas have to offer.
His vision on development was perhaps best articulated by another outstanding son of this province, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, when he made his historic and iconic speech about the regeneration of Africa at Columbia University, when he said: “The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved, her desert plains red with harvest, her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities. Her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce, her crowded cities sending forth the hum of business, and all her sons employed in advancing the victories of peace-greater and more abiding than the spoils of war.”
Today we lay to rest a leader, but also a father, a husband and a grandfather.
The Zulu people are in mourning and we all share in their sorrow.
The passage of time since His Majesty’s passing has seen the national flag being flown at half-mast in tribute to his important role in our society.
This is a profoundly difficult and painful time for the royal family and for the Zulu people. It is a time that should be accorded the necessary occasion and respect.
Colonialism and apartheid sought to pit us against each other, as different tribes and ethnic groups. The past rulers of our country established the bantustan system. This was a system whose origin was all about oppression, exploitation and division.
They told us it was for our own good, but it was just so they could turn vast parts of the country into labour reserves for their own benefit. They conferred privileges on some traditional leaders, but denied them to others. They wanted to manipulate the institution of traditional leadership and turn it into an instrument with which to control the African people.
Through this, they sought to foster tribalism and ethnic chauvinism – and perpetuate the oppression and exploitation of the people of our beautiful country South Africa.
In the face of this relentless onslaught, leaders like King Goodwill Zwelithini stood firm, determined that they should serve their people as their ancestors had done before.
His Majesty has left us, but his legacy lives on. It is a rich and proud legacy, and one for which he will forever be remembered.