The National House of Traditional Leaders in South Africa on Tuesday passed condolences to Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) following the death of his wife of 67 years, Princess Irene Buthelezi.
Princess Irene passed away peacefully on Monday morning at KwaPhindangene after a long illness.
“Indeed condolences are due to Chief Buthelezi. He is all alone now after losing his wife and five children, but in essence he won’t be alone as God will always be with him,” the deputy chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosikazi Mhlauli.
Mhlauli said this at the official opening of the Free State House of Traditional Leaders in Thaba Nchu during the week.
She said it is prudent that chiefs and tribal leaders get in the forefront of efforts aimed at maintaining the relevance of indigenous languages in the country.
She added some guests who were part of her entourage from KwaZulu Natal could not figure out what she was saying since her speech was delivered in southern Sotho.
Mhlauli noted the official opening of the house of traditional leadership in the Free State happens at a time when the country is celebrating Human Rights Month.
She added women first took the bull by the horns by marching to the Union Building in Tshwane back in 1956, four years prior to the fateful Sharpeville massacre of 69 people who were also demanding an end to pass laws.
History draws the attention of the public each year to the important role played by women in advancing independence and freedom from white domination.
Today, Mhlauli said, women from South Africa continue to hold the national flag high with their achievements, citing the recent honouring of Free State princess Gabo Motshabi Moroka by the United Nations for her efforts at curbing child mortality in the country.
“Motshabi Moroka comes from the Free State; she is one of our own and has represented the country well on an international stage. If you can lose her as a province then it will be taboo. She has also been active in agrarian revolution in light of the imminent return of land, food production and the creation of much needed jobs,” the deputy chairperson noted.
She added attention should now be paid to dealing with the high number of neglected children that South Africa has, pointing out buying children cellphones and paying for their maintenance does not necessarily mean parents are looking after their children.
Some parents talked of street kids while they are themselves were street-mums and street-dads for failing to keep their families intact.
“We are weak parents and we have to play our roles meaningfully. Indeed you are a street father and mother if you meet each other at the door as one enters and the other leaves the house,” Mhlauli said to cheers of approval from the assembled royalty.
She added the ever rising petrol price and the generally slow economic growth could be addressed through the allocation of land to the poor so that they earn a living and escape the trappings of acute poverty from their doorsteps.
“Giving people land and ensuring they make a living out of it will surely help in easing abject poverty. You hear people talk of corruption while in essence they are the ones committing it, something like man don’t eat lion meat while the person warning against this has a lion’s tail showing on their mouths,” she also said.
In her closing remark, the national deputy called on all those eligible to vote to exercise their democratic rights and cast their ballot on May 8, adding that as a traditional leader it is not her place to endorse one political party over the other.
The deputy chair of the Free State house of traditional leaders, Dirahadibonwe Sekonyela, thanked the provincial government for donating tools of trade to the traditional leaders in an effort to ensure they are in a position to do their work.
Magolokowe, Barolong bo Seleka, Batlokwa and Bakwena ba Mopedi tribes were all represented at the function where six vehicles were donated to the top six executive committee members of the structure of traditional leadership in the province.
Meanwhile, presiding officers of Parliament also extended their condolences to Buthelezi and family on the passing away of his wife of 67 years, Princess Irene Audrey Thandekile Buthelezi.
“Princess Buthelezi was one of the strongest and courageous women in our country, a leader in her own right, an activist and a passionate campaigner for the rights of women. For many years, she served as a pillar of strength for her lifelong partner and friend, Prince Buthelezi, and to the entire Buthelezi family,” the officers noted in a statement.