‘Focus on developing continent’

2011-01-24 00:00

UGANDAN President Yoweri Museveni has encouraged African countries to concentrate on developing Africa “as a way of ensuring the future for many generations to come”.

Museveni made this call during his keynote address at the 132nd anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana held under the Isandlwana Mountain in the Nquthu area near Dundee on Saturday.

This year’s celebration, which attracted thousands of spectators, was also addressed by President Jacob Zuma, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

Museveni, who is on a two-day state visit, cited Africa’s approach to politics, lack of organisation and the continent’s lack of technological expertise as the three pivotal elements that led to Africa’s colonisation, despite its warriors’ proven bravery in battle.

He called on Africa to invest in developing the continent to ensure a bright future for generations to come.

President Zuma said Africa has been blessed with great leaders such as King Cetshwayo “who have inspired us to go beyond our perceived limitations”.

“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 the current battle against poverty.

“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,” Zuma said.

Zwelithini said Museveni’s visit enhances the importance of the commemoration and of the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

He urged Museveni and businesspeople in Uganda to invest in South Africa and in KwaZulu-Natal in particular.

After his speech the king inducted Museveni as a traditional Zulu warrior by presenting him with a leopard skin, headgear and the traditional Zulu shield, a spear and a knobkierie.

The leopard skin is only reserved for royalty, according to Zulu tradition.

Zuma was also given the same attire while Queen Mantfombi dressed Museveni’s wife, Janet, in traditional attire — from head to foot — as the wife of royalty.

Before the start of the programme actors costumed as Zulu warriors and British soldiers re-enacted the climax of the battle at Isandlwana.

After the formal part of the programme, which was compered by KZN premier Zweli Mkhize, the audience was treated to live music performances by among others, Ihashi eliMhlophe and Hlengiwe Mhlaba.

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