Saturday 29 October 2022

Celebrating the Coronation of His Majesty King MisuZulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini


Homily at the Celebration of the Coronation of His Majesty

King MisuZulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini

as King of the Zulu Nation

Moses Mabhida Stadium: Durban

The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop of Cape Town

29th October 2022 @10h00

Reading: Psalm 84

May I speak in the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of our lives. Amen

Your Majesty, King MisuZulu;

Your Excellency President Ramaphosa;

Your Majesty the King of Eswatini;

Honourable Prince Buthelezi;

Your Majesties and Royal Highnesses, members of other Royal families;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Programme Directors;

Government Ministers and Officials;

The many Religious Leaders here present;

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

I am honoured to join you to share in this historic event. Thank you for inviting me today. I am also privileged to be joined here by Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe of this Diocese of Natal, Bishop Vikinduku Mnculwane of Zululand and the Royal Chaplain, Archdeacon Bongani Mhlongo. A warm welcome to all and, most importantly, thank you to the organising committee and also to those who gave of their time and were involved in the preparation for today.

I thank God for the unsung heroes and heroines who have kept the Gospel light burning here and throughout their lives, their zeal, their prayers and their service and witness. I especially thank God for his faithfulness to all who have made it possible for this celebration of Your Majesty's coronation to take place today. Our gratitude to God for his sustaining care for you, particularly during the turbulent times of the past, and for affording you this time of great hope and opportunity, even though of course it comes with challenges.

In our reading today, the Psalmist gives us a picture of a pilgrim newly-arrived at the Temple in Jerusalem. After a long journey of eager anticipation, the pilgrim is now admiring the beauty of the Lord's house. The Psalmist is impressed first by the loveliness of the Temple, then – seeing even the tiny birds making themselves at home – he appreciates the safety offered by that house. So he associates the Temple with how the Lord provides for us places of sacrifice for sin, reconciliation and communion with God. As one translation says, “My heart and my body cry out for joy, to the living God.”

So sisters and brothers, today we too can cry out for joy in celebration of this important milestone in the history of the Zulu Kingdom. Your Majesty, we are grateful for the close relations between the Anglican Church and amaZulu going back into the 19th century, recognising with shame instances where sound cultural traditions were undermined but also proud of the role those such as the Colenso family played in defending their Majesties Kings Cetshwayo and Dinizulu. We recall too the Anglican antecedents of King Dinizulu and of King Solomon, and of how your grandfather, a good Anglican himself, built houses for worship, for which we remain deeply grateful.

Your father, His Majesty King Zwelithini, was also a great and faithful member of our church who not only attended worship but also held up his faith in the Lord as a moral compass for many until his last breath. It was a great privilege for me to be invited to play a role in his burial. Prince Buthelezi, we also recognise your long service as a faithful Christian who has been blessed with a long life and remains actively involved as a support system to the Royal Family. Prince Buthelezi, as you approach the time when you will be called home, we appeal for that to happen in a spirit of reconciliation and healing.

Your Majesty, you too can build and leave a powerful legacy of your own. Your grandmother was a person who stood tall in society; it does not matter that you are called to this high office, with its onerous responsibilities, when you are young. You too can grow and become tall in the eyes of the Zulu nation, the South African nation and the world. We are saddened by the recent dissension within the Royal Family, for it does not build but detracts from the legacy that King Zwelithini left behind. It is my humble prayer that in the near future you may be able to find each other and reconcile.

Reconciliation is very critical. Our church recognises that for reconciliation, which God wants to see happen, there needs to be both justice and accountability. Thus in the Church we have called for the historic legacy of colonialism to be deconstructed and any remaining complicity of our member churches in British and American empires to be ended.

But God's call for reconciliation is a challenge not only to the Royal Family and the Church: it is a challenge to us all. And for reconciliation to be achieved in our divided society in South Africa today, there needs to be both justice and accountability, the achievement of which is the responsibility of all, including both traditional and elected leaders.

Mr President, we are grateful for your steadfast focus on rooting out state capture from the public and private sectors, and the faith community pledges its strong support for your latest initiatives. But, Mr President, no one will be more aware than yourself of how public trust in government has been corroded by leaders who have elevated the pursuit of private profit above ethical public service in the past decade.

In this Province and nationally, can we say that justice and accountability are served when mafias in the taxi and construction industries hold legitimate business people to ransom, closing down their operations and even killing their staff if they refuse to pay protection money?

Can we say, Mr President, that justice and accountability are served when the State fails to bring to justice all those responsible for the killing of Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Both nationally and in this Province, Mr President, can we say that justice and accountability are served when migrants from elsewhere in Africa are scapegoated for just being here?

In the private sector, can we say that justice and accountability are served when the intergenerational inequality of the apartheid era continues, when the sons and daughters of the wealthy flourish, while the sons and daughters of the poor are caught in a self-perpetuating spiral of inadequate education, denied opportunities and poverty?

Your Majesty and Mr President, as I end, the basic consensus which has underpinned our nation since 1994 is crumbling. Levels of distrust are higher than ever before. Confidence in leaders, whether in the public or private sector, is at a record low. Is it not time for all of us – traditional leaders, political leaders, civil society, religious leaders, leaders in the economy representing both capital and labour – for all of us to come together to convene consultations – culminating in a National Indaba – as a way of growing up as a nation and beginning to heal a society characterised by fear and a damaged psyche?

Your Majesty, as you embark upon your reign as King of a nation that is recognised internationally as one of the greatest in Africa, I believe you are being called upon to step up and emulate the highest traditions of your ancestors. I pray that you will summon the resources of our faith and allow God to help you fulfill this honourable calling.

May God bless you richly, Your Majesty. God bless you, Mr President, and your Cabinet and all the leaders of our nation. God bless the Royal Family. God bless South Africa, her leaders and all her people.


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