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Official Opening Of The Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Museum And Documentation Centre

28 AUGUST, 2015 


Ulundi: 28 August 2015

His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelethini ka Bhekuzulu, the King of the Zulu Nation;
Her Excellency the Minister of Science and Technology, Minister Pandor;
The Anglican Bishop of Zululand, Bishop Dino Gabriel, and members of the Clergy;
Mrs Orcillia Oppenheimer;
Mr Arnold Zulman;
Chairperson of the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Museum and Documentation Centre, Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi, and Trustees of the Centre;
Members of the Royal Family;
Leaders of the Inkatha Freedom Party, and representatives of other political parties;
Professor Herbert Vilakazi and friends of the IFP;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps, and members of the media;
Programme Directors, Mr Duma Ndlovu and Mr MZ Khumalo;
Esteemed guests, and friends.

In Jeremiah Chapter 9 verses 23 and 24, the Lord declares: “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things.”

How can one not be overwhelmed by the expansive praises expressed today? I have been blessed by the words of admiration and respect. Simply knowing that it is goodwill towards my life’s work that has brought you here, nudges me towards humility. I will not stand and boast on what destiny called me to do, or boast about the sacrifices I have made, or about the principles I have stood by.

My boast will be in the Lord.

Beyond sparing my life time and again, even to an advanced age; and beyond strengthening me for the battle He placed me in, the Lord has granted me the blessing of champions, armour bearers, comrades and friends. To these I owe a debt of gratitude, for without your prayers and enduring support I could not have walked the long road the lies behind me.

Among my greatest champions are individuals from my own family; my wife, Princess Irene Thandekile Buthelezi; my son, Prince Zuzifa, who has done such a sterling job of giving substance to this vision; and my daughters, Princess Phumzile and Princess Angela. I am blessed indeed to have them with me as I celebrate not only longevity, but the opening of a centre that will tell a story of our country’s history.

This Centre goes well beyond the legacy of one man. It is a record of a most significant time, in a most significant place, in which freedom won a victory that will forever stand as a monument to courage, and resilience.

When the IFP celebrated its 40th anniversary gala dinner, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Honourable Ms Baleka Mbete, asked a poignant question. When, she asked, will the real history of our struggle be written in the textbooks of our school children? When will this generation be told the full story? The sooner we begin to tell our own story, she said, the better.

I cannot agree more. The opening of this Centre is the beginning of that journey; a journey into the truth of what was, what happened, and how it shaped our country. I am therefore profoundly grateful to everyone who has been part of bringing this project to life, including Mr Christopher Till and his team, the Trustees of the Centre, and dear friends who gave a financial contribution that speaks of both their patriotism and love.

Looking back on 87 years, and on my life’s work in the service of my nation, I am reminded of another scripture in Jeremiah. Jeremiah chapter 10 verse 23, which says, “Oh Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” I am blessed to have lived the life I have, in the time I did, in the country I love.

Today I give all honour to my source of life. I thank you for sharing this celebration with me and my family. I thank, in particular, His Majesty the King for presiding over the official opening of this Centre. May it be a place in which history comes to life for curious children and erudite academics. May it be a place that speaks my truest epitaph: “He loved his country”.

I thank you.