'He preached unity' - Ramaphosa delivers eulogy at Bapedi King Kgoshikgolo Thulare Thulare III funeral

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Bapedi King Thulare Victor Thulare III.
Bapedi King Thulare Victor Thulare III.
Picture: Rosetta Msimango/ City Press
  • Thulare III died on Wednesday, 6 January, hardly a year after being inaugurated as King. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed Thulare for his role in uplifting his people and for advocating unity. 
  • The president pleaded for the king's dreams not to be buried with him. 

King Victor Thulare of the BaPedi Kingdom was one for unity and a shining example of traditional leadership, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said. 

Ramaphosa delivered a eulogy at the King's funeral on Sunday, saying the country had lost a measured voice of reason. 

Kgoshikgolo Thulare Thulare III died on Wednesday, 6 January, barely a year after he was inaugurated as the Bapedi King. 

Speaking at the funeral, Ramaphosa hailed the kingdom's role in fighting against colonialism, the theft of their land and unjust taxation of their people. 

Ramaphosa said Thulare III hailed from an illustrious legion of ancestors, such as Dikgoshi Thulare I, Sekwati I and Sekhukhune I, who fought successive battles in defence of their people in the 19th century.

He said any rendition of his majesty would not be complete without appreciating the special place of his kingdom in the history of the struggle in the country, adding he that he carried the blood of resistance in his veins. 

"When he was officially recognised, Kgoshi Thulare shared his aspiration for the peace and unity of his kingdom, so that they could collectively chart a new path of reconciliation, development and prosperity for the people.

"In fact even before ascending to the throne, he preached unity, which he said was a fitting gift to the ancestors who bequeathed this generation this vast land," Ramaphosa said.

The president pleaded for the king's dreams and vision not to be buried with him, adding that all his economic initiatives be sustained and become his legacy that will build a just and prosperous Bapedi nation which he wanted.

Ramaphosa said:

Even as the dark clouds have descended on this kingdom, even as we bear the pain of this great loss, we should not despair and we should not lose hope. As the sun has always risen on the Bapedi, so shall it rise again.

Ramaphosa said Thulare's death came at a time when the country and the globe was fighting the scourge of the coronavirus, making the wishes to bid him farewell in a befitting manner difficult. 

He said the virus had also prevented him from visiting the king and the royal household earlier this month as part of the ANC's 8 January 1912 celebrations. 

We have no choice to wait until this storm has passed before we can observe all the protocols and practices that are due to a life so deserving. The time will come when we will be able to pay proper tribute to our loved ones. For now, let us be safe and save lives.

Ramaphosa said Thulare set out to lead his people on a path to economic prosperity, adding that he brought experts together to chart new economic paths for Ga-Sekhukhune, with a strong focus on youth empowerment.

"He would say, 'I am still youthful, I still have the agility.' With minerals and other natural resources abundant in his area, he wanted to work with the mining companies to grow the local economy and stem the tide of youth leaving for the cities."

The president said through the King Thulare lll Foundation, his majesty sought to form strong partnerships to develop the skills among the youth, and to restore the land rights, culture, traditions and heritage of his people.

Ramaphosa said Thulare wanted his people to have clean water and other basic services - and for them to live in crime-free societies which had no gender-based violence and corruption.

"His desire was to be a firm partner to government and an unwavering champion of the needs of his people."

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