New centre launched

2009-12-17 00:00

RECONCILIATION Day celebrations in Ulundi, where more than 5 000 people had gathered, were made extra special by the launch of a multi-million rand media centre at Emakhosini.

The celebrations were attended by King Goodwil Zwelithini, KZN premier Zweli Mkhize and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Speaking at the launch, Mkhize said the R34 million state-of-the-art centre at King Dingane’s Umngungundlovu residence at the Mkhumbane Valley in Emakhosini, was regarded as the birthplace of the Zulu nation.

Giving the history, he said the site served as a memorial to preserve and restore the history of the Zulu kings, which had been largely neglected in the past.

“The memorial is also symbolic of the conflict of cultures and civilisations as the first group of Voortrekkers clashed with the Zulu nation that had made this area their home and kingdom.

“It is here that the Voortrekker leader Piet Retief and members of his commando lost their lives and triggered a series of events which included the rupture within the Zulu nation itself. Piet Retief lies buried here and as were the remains of the commandos who fell with him in 1838.”

Mkhize said it was these clashes and bloodshed that resulted in December 16 designated as the Day for Reconciliation under new democratic rule, having been renamed from “Dingaansdag” and the Day of the Covenant or “Geloftedag” for the Afrikaner community.

“We have now therefore a platform on which to accept all the sides of our history as our common heritage. The new South African democracy was founded on the principles of forgiveness, reconciliation, mutual respect and acceptance of our diversity. This is what we are here to celebrate,” Mkhize told the gathering.

“… We should create an exemplary society to be a mirror of the society we desire for all South Africa’s children,”he added.

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