Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of commemorating the Battle of Isandlwana during the state visit his excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, Isandlwana, Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal
22 Jan 2011
His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,
His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, Hlanga Lomhlabathi!
Honourable Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi,
MECs, members of provincial legislatures (MPLs), mayors and councillors,
Allow me to welcome you, Mr President and your delegation, to the 131st anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana fought between the Zulu Kingdom and the British Empire on 22 January 1879.
You would recall, Your Excellency, just like Uganda, South Africa was once a British colony which became a Union on 31 March 1910 with four separate colonies consisting of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
From 1838-1906, the Zulu Kingdom was engrossed in various battles over land. Of these battles, the Battle of Isandlwana proved to be one of the greatest victorious battles fought by the Zulu Kingdom.
King Cetshwayo who led this battle was a man who believed in the art of negotiations rather than war and may thus have been underestimated by the British who believed that because they had the latest technology on their side, the amaZulu warriors would be no match. The amaZulu warriors however had a plan and fortitude, they employed their traditional buffalo horn formation with the “chest” attacking an infantry and the “horns” attacking the right and left flanks resulting in the amaZulu warriors annihilating the British third column.
Africa has been blessed with great leaders such as King Cetshwayo who have inspired us to go beyond our perceived limitations. We are truly honoured to have his descendent, His Majesty King Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu in our midst today, who has taken time off his busy schedule to spend the day with our honoured Guest. History has taught us that the principles necessary to triumph in every battle are similar. Therefore, we must take lessons from the Battle of Isandlwana which stands as a symbol of triumph over colonialism if we are to prevail in current battle against poverty.
The Battle of Isandlwana resulted in the death of 1,300 British troops and left 1,000 Zulu warriors wounded. South Africa has very good relations at all levels with the United Kingdom currently. This battle is one of the footprints that binds the two countries in history. At the time, the battle proved that although Africa may not have been as developed as the rest of the world, it was our determination and the spirit to fight for a better life, which is and will remain the main ingredient to success.
As we mark the bravery of our troops at Isandlwana, we hold the agreements we have concluded on this visit by His Excellency President Museveni as a validation that their death was not in vain.
By these agreements we shall have closer cooperation and enduring solidarity. Let these be examples of our respective dedication to fighting the battle against poverty and ensuring food security. Let such historical monuments in Africa prove to us that anything is possible in Africa’s quest to claim her rightful place in the world.
As we fight poverty, climate change and its devastating effects on African livelihoods and also as we continue the quest for peace and stability on the continent, we must be spurred on by the sacrifices of the warriors who fought so that Africa could be free and prosperous. Another great period in the history of South Africa and the world will take place on the 8th of January next year when the oldest liberation movement on the continent, the African National Congress, turns 100 years old.
Like this Battle of Isandlwana commemoration, that centenary will be a celebration of triumph against colonialism, apartheid and all forms of racist oppression. It will prove that the fighting spirit and resilience of the African people all over the continent will enable us to build a united, peaceful and truly prosperous Africa.
Your Excellency, thank you for honouring us with your presence in this historic commemoration as part of the state visit.
I thank you.
Source: The Presidency
Issued by: The Presidency
22 Jan 2011
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