His Majesty King Letsie III and his wife Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso on Friday visited Zulu tribal leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi at his home at KwaPhindangene in Mahlabathini, KwaZulu-Natal.
Buthelezi is the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) which was founded in 1975.His wife Princess Irene Audrey Thandekile Bethelezi died on March this year after a long illness.
His Majesty and Queen ‘Masenate also attended the Vodacom Durban July on Saturday.
The Durban July is a thoroughbred horse race held annually on the first Saturday of July since 1897 at Greyville Racecourse in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal – a coastal South African province, known for its beaches, mountains and savannah populated by big game.
When welcoming the Lesotho Royal couple to KwaPhindangene, Buthelezi said:
“Your Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho –
I am humbled, Your Majesty, by this special visit to KwaPhindangene. I appreciate this expression of the long friendship between us and between our families. It is a pleasure indeed to welcome you into my home so that we can share a moment of conversation and fellowship.
On behalf of my family and on behalf of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, I extend our greetings and good wishes also to Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso.
We remain grateful for Her Majesty’s active involvement in matters that are so close to our own hearts, particularly of course the fight against HIV/Aids. As Your Majesty knows, this fight is personal for my family, having lost Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict and Princess Mandisi Sibukakonke in 2004.
The wonderful marriage and wonderful partnership that Your Majesty enjoys with the Queen tells me that you understand fully the loss I have suffered with the passing of my beloved wife, Princess Irene Thandekile. Thank you for coming personally to express your condolences. It means a great deal to me to know that we have such good and kind friends, who admired Princess Irene as much as we did.
Throughout almost 67 years of marriage, we gathered many friends. We were already blessed with our first daughter Princess Phumzile Nokuphiwa and our firstborn son Prince Ntuthukoyezwe Zuzifa by the time I met Your Majesty’s father, in Durban, in 1956.
I believe Your Majesty was at Gilling Castle in 1974 when I visited Maseru together with Ma Nokukhanya Luthuli to receive the posthumous Merit Award bestowed on Inkosi Albert Luthuli by the then Organisation for African Unity. Your father King Moshoeshoe II handed over the Award, which I accepted on behalf of the Luthuli family.
I know that Your Majesty will remember with fondness the school holidays spent in the fields of your uncle, Prince Masupha Seeiso. Our friendship was kindled when I was in Maseru accompanying the spouse of Inkosi Albert Luthuli, on the occasion I have already mentioned.
Prince Masupha and I shared a love of farming, which Your Majesty has inherited. I think this is one of the greatest blessings a nation can receive: to have a sovereign who not only understands the value of agriculture, and who has not only studied it, but who genuinely enjoys working the land.
Above all these anecdotes about the friendship between the Royal House of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Royal House of the Zulu Nation, is an anecdote which the Rt Honourable Morena Leabua Jonathan, then Prime Minister of Lesotho mentioned that day.
He told us of the wonderful gestures of friendship between His Majesty, King Moshoeshoe I and His Majesty King Shaka. He told us on that occasion that King Moshoeshoe is recorded to have sent gifts of beautiful feathers to King Shaka as an act of friendship.
And I cannot leave out the kindness and the hospitality which His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II demonstrated in giving sanctuary to our political exiles during the struggle for liberation. We can never forget the attacks by the Apartheid Regime’s forces of a home which housed some of our exiles. In fact the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Morena Leabua Johathan invited me, to show me the home that was bombed on the occasion right in Maseru.
When we attended King Moshoeshoe I’s birthday at Mount Thaba Bosiu, I was accompanied to the function by cadres of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto weSizwe and Mr Ndlovu who later became South Africa’s Envoy in the Kingdom of Lesotho. How can we forget the risk that the Kingdom of Lesotho took in allowing our political exiles to find shelter in Lesotho.
I have always praised my nephew His Majesty King Zwelithini for the example he sets in cultivating his fields and keeping livestock. He has championed the fight for food security through subsistence farming, by teaching self-help and self-reliance, and leading by example.
I must commend Your Majesty for leading this cause as well, as Special Ambassador for Nutrition of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation. Your work as African Nutrition Champion, on appointment by the Assembly of African Heads of State, created a legacy.
I am delighted to know that we share this passion.
Of course, we share another passion, Your Majesty, which is classical music. My mother Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu instilled in me a great love of music; choral, traditional and classical. I find it interesting how music connects the different generations. The same piece, from more than a hundred years ago, can stir the heart of a teenager as much as it does a nonagenarian like myself!
I wonder whether Your Majesty finds this to be true with the teenagers in your own home. Please do convey my warmest regards to Her Royal Highness Princess Senate, Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Maseeiso, and His Royal Highness Prince Lerotholi.
Our families will remain connected by friendship, as they have been for so many years. Your Majesty’s visit today is an expression of that friendship, and I am most grateful.” NW
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi (MP) is a Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan and President of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).