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Response by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan
Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Monarch and Nation
Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party

Chairperson and Members of the Board;

Director of Programmes, Mr Songezo Mabece;

Pastor Moodley; Rev. Friedman; Pundit Singh; Mr Vedan and Moulana Tariq (thank you for your opening devotions);

The Hon. Mrs Bongi Sithole-Moloi, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development;

Mr Ngodup Dorjee, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama;

His Excellency Ambassador Anthony Ho of the Taipei Liaison Office;

The team from Africa Media Online and Mr Graham McIntosh;

Members of my own family;


Leaders in politics, business and the academia;

Friends in likeminded organisations;

Members of the media;

Distinguished guests.

Life is a series of decisions. Some difficult, complex and even painful. Some sacrificial for the sake of a higher calling. And some simple and easy to make. The decision to serve my country has been all of these combined. It has at various times been the obvious path of my birth and destiny, and the heaviest burden one could imagine. But always, always, it has been worth the effort.

I am humbled by the tremendous work that has gone into the making of this Foundation. I am humbled by the mere fact that a group of individuals saw fit to formally capture the principles of my life’s work and create a vehicle through which those principles and that work can be carried forward.

It is an honour to have a Foundation in one’s name. But the true gift is not being honoured; it is knowing that what you have tried to achieve all your life will continue to be pursued long after your lifetime, so that perhaps, at some point, the mission will finally be accomplished.

The mission of creating social justice and economic freedom is of course one that will never be completed. It will require constant pursuit, and we can only ever get closer to the goal while furiously fighting the rising tide of injustice. It has always bothered me that no matter how many houses are built, or schools opened or clinics erected, there are still those who are homeless, uneducated and ill. There is always too much to do, too many problems to contend with, too much suffering to endure.

This is why I have never stopped and never surrendered, despite reaching the great age of 94. It is why I still answer letters from people whom I have never met, and accept meetings when my body has become frail and disobliging. Because I cannot shake the feeling that the work of service remains undone. It is incomplete, simply because it will always be necessary.

I do not imagine myself the saviour of the world. I am indeed wholly reliant on my own Saviour, Christ Jesus, just to get up in the mornings. But I do feel the weight of need and the burden of my own responsibility, for at what point really do we get to say, “I have done enough. This is not my problem anymore.”?

For those of us who have answered the call to serve, it will always be our problem. Considering this, I am both grateful to and very sorry for the Trustees who have taken on the burden of carrying forward the work I have been doing for so many years. I know what lies ahead for you, and let me give you a hint: sleepless nights, long hours, and the impossible choice between competing causes of equal value.

My great consolation is that this Foundation has been structured in such a way that it is not trying to carry a burden alone. The whole point of the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Foundation is to reach out to like-minded individuals and organisations, and build synergistic relationships. In this way, good projects that might be struggling for traction will be given a boost. Campaigns that lack visibility will be placed in the spotlight. Initiatives that change the lives of a few could grow to make a bigger difference.

I think that alone speaks of the way I have always operated. As much as I have carried this burden to solve my people’s problems, I have never carried it alone. I understand the power of partnership. I understand that efforts combined do not bring double the reward, but instead compound the reward exponentially, so that what we can accomplish by working together becomes far greater than we even anticipated.

I therefore want to use this significant moment of the launch of this Foundation to invite everyone in this room to partner in some way to further the work you are doing individually. In its wisdom, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees invited very specific people to this launch. You represent individuals and organisations who have shared the vision, values and goals that I have pursued all my life. There is definitely space for major collaboration. I hope that you will leave this launch inspired – and with the contact details of a new ally in your pocket.

It would remiss of me not to use this opportunity to thank my children, in particular, for all that they have carried over the years. I know that their contribution to the Board of this Foundation will be valuable, for I have seen in them the courage, tenacity and selflessness that I prayed would grow in my children.

Knowing the character of the people in this room, I want indeed to thank all of you. In your way, through you work, you are serving the needs of our people and the wellbeing of our country. Please, keep going! Never become discouraged by how much remains to be done. As we do this work, those who come after us will see it and will take it up and continue.

I am humbled that that has happened with this Foundation. May it become a powerful force for good as it pursues the objectives it has set for itself. For as long as I am able, I will give my full support to this work. But my great joy in this moment is knowing that the work will continue long after my own contribution.

Thank you to the Trustees, both present and future, who will serve our country through this Foundation. And thank you to the many who will partner with this work, reaping a reward beyond comprehension.

I thank you.

This speech was given at the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Foundation Launch on 1 September 2022 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban and published on on 2 September 2022.