Khusela Diko penned a moving tribute to her late husband, Nkosi Thandisizwe Diko, during his funeral at Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday.
Diko (42), was buried at Ncunteni Village KwaBhaca. He died last week at an East London hospital after a short illness.
In an emotional message read by Rethabile Matolweni on her behalf, Khusela said her heart “has been broken into a million pieces since I learnt of your passing”.
She said her husband’s death had robbed her of her life partner and companion. “Without a doubt, this letter to you is the most difficult I have ever had to write in my entire life. The cloud that comes with the news of your passing hangs heavily and it’s dark. All these people are gathered here saying goodbye to you. All of them are here to pay their last respects and to bid you a fond farewell.
“I sit here not knowing what to say to you because never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect this comment to come, especially not so soon. Babe! You promised you would never leave me. Over and over again you made this commitment to me but here I am writing a tribute to you,” Khusela said.
Khusela said her husband lived his life as though it was his last day because he appreciated that one day everyone would pass. She said in the seven short years they were together she felt more loved that she ever was in her entire life.
Mourners included Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Nomakhosazana Meth, Alfred Nzo District Municipality Mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu and AmaMpondo AseNyandeni King Ndlovuyezwe Ndamase.
HE STOOD UP FOR HIS NATION
Diko’s son Thandisizwe said his father taught him the importance of family.
“He used to hold meetings until the early hours of the morning. When our grandmother was not well, we sat in a meeting until 2am. He said the family should stick together and that we needed to talk about how to take care of our grandmother. God knows why he took him. One thing my father used to do was to brag to his friends when you have achieved something … he told me he was proud of me,” Thandisizwe said.
“He taught his children to strive for greatness. Yes, people have been talking badly about him, but his vision as king was never determined by what people say. He stood up for his nation.
“Us, who are left behind, have big shoes to fill. But God never makes a mistake. On behalf of his children, I would like to say he must rest in peace and we will always love him.”
UNCOMPLICATED TRADITIONAL LEADER
Mabuyane said “as the provincial government they passed on their heartfelt condolences to the Diko family and the AmaBhaca nation for the death of Nkosi Thandisizwe Diko”.
“We have lost a true partner for development. We have lost an uncomplicated traditional leader who only wanted to see the implementation of practical development projects for the benefit of the people he led,” the premier said.
“He was relatively young but the big dreams that he had for the development of these areas and his understanding of complex developmental matters defied his age … AmaBhaca and the province at large have lost a community builder in him.”
LOYAL AND DISCIPLINED
Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA, [Contralesa] provincial secretary, said Diko was a loyal and disciplined member who led the Alfred Nzo region as chairperson of Contralesa until his passing on.
“He is known to us as one of the true African leaders who was not ashamed of who he was, a proud Bhaca royal leader from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head, a young cultural leader who was passionate about African culture, promoting and practicing African norms and values,” said Nonkonyana.
Motshekga said she came to know Diko years ago when the Mount Frere became the worst performing district in matric results. He had called her to talk about how he could help to improve matric results in the district.
“Since that time Mount Frere has been performing very well. It was not by accident, it was through work that was put through in the area. It moved from the 40% pass rate and in 2019 they were above 70%.
“They moved from being the lowest performing district to one of the highest performing districts. It was also due to a partnership he had established with the Alfred Nzo District Municipality,” he said.
Motshekga said Diko was able to mobilise resources in his area, such as mobile libraries and laboratories.
King Ndamase said worked closely with the late king. He called on traditional leaders to emulate Diko by valuing education and being drivers of developmental projects in their villages.
“We had planned a visit to the Nyandeni Great Place. He left us before that could happen. He was an example to traditional leaders because he was educated. He was passionate about education,” he said.