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KING Good­will Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s Osuthu Royal Palace in Non­goma, Zu­l­u­land, was abound with colour and fes­tive cheer on Satur­day when he hosted a grand pre-Di­wali cel­e­bra­tion. He told guests, some of whom had trav­elled from Chatsworth, in Durban, that the event was sym­bolic of the val­ues and ideals he stood for and pro­moted, which were re­spect, ac­cep­tance and so­cial co­he­sion. The king de­scribed the Di­wali event as a “pro­foundly mov­ing oc­ca­sion in the his­tory of our coun­try”, adding that it was not a pub­lic re­la­tions ex­er­cise. “It’s not about po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, rather it’s about build­ing a strong foun­da­tion for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.” He said his dream for the prov­ince was to see Zu­lus and In­di­ans move from tol­er­at­ing each other to ac­cept­ing each other. “The stag­ing of this beau­ti­ful event may prove to be an­other step to­wards the end of mis­trust be­tween these two com­mu­ni­ties.” The king ap­pealed to lead­ers and mem­bers of both com­mu­ni­ties to work with him and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to­wards true so­cial co­he­sion. But there would be no ac­cep­tance, he added, with­out true un­der­stand­ing. He added that the time had come “for us to be united”. “In many of our com­mu­ni­ties, spir­i­tual mat­ters seem to have taken a back seat and yet they are the back­bone of life. “Whether you view spir­i­tu­al­ity from the per­spec­tive of the African re­li­gion, In­dian Hindu re­li­gion, Chris­tian re­li­gion, Jewish re­li­gion, and Is­lamic re­li­gion, they all have a fun­da­men­tal base – uni­ver­sally ac­cept­able val­ues that in­form our way of life. This in­cludes lov­ing your neigh­bour, ac­cep­tance and help­ing other peo­ple.” The monarch said that each time he looked at the events, sit­u­a­tions and what had be­come of hu­man be­ings, he of­ten won­dered if we have a sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity. “The spir­i­tual in­sight that we get from the Bi­ble, teaches us that we are spir­i­tual be­ings, hav­ing a soul but liv­ing in this tem­po­rary struc­ture called the phys­i­cal body.” He told guests that Di­wali rep­re­sented the Fes­ti­val of Lights and that the Bi­ble taught a lot about the sub­ject of light. “In one of the Gospels, the book of Matthew 5: 14-16, Je­sus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can­not be hid­den; nor does any­one light a lamp and put it un­der a bas­ket, but on the lamp­stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine be­fore men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glo­rify your Fa­ther, who is in heaven.” He said that like stars in the fir­ma­ment, all hu­man be­ings were called to show off their light and help oth­ers to see the way. “Even as you cel­e­brate this im­por­tant oc­ca­sion (Di­wali), my wish for you my peo­ple, is that your light will shine so bright, it must be a light that sig­ni­fies great things ahead, a light of peace that will spell the new be­gin­nings and the tri­umph of good over evil as well as light over dark­ness. “For Hin­dus, Jains, Sikhs and Bud­dhists, light­ing the lamp – the diya – is a chance to re­mem­ber, even in the midst of dark­ness, that light will ul­ti­mately pre­vail. “Knowl­edge will de­feat ig­no­rance, and com­pas­sion will tri­umph over de­spair. Di­wali is also a re­minder that we must each do our part to achieve that vic­tory, by ded­i­cat­ing our­selves to ser­vice to oth­ers. If we af­firm our com­mit­ments to one an­other and strive to lift each other up, then to­gether, we will con­tinue mov­ing closer to that brighter fu­ture we all seek.” The king added that dur­ing Di­wali ev­ery­one for­gets and for­gives the wrongs done by oth­ers. “There is an air of free­dom, fes­tiv­ity and friend­li­ness ev­ery­where. This fes­ti­val brings about unity. It in­stills char­ity in the hearts of peo­ple. It is a great uni­fy­ing force. “May you have your eyes opened to be part of fight­ing in­equal­ity, injustice, and poverty that still re­mains a chal­lenge for our coun­try; and may the eyes of your spir­i­tual un­der­stand­ing be open through this light to see and up­lift the down-trod­den all around you.” Ish­war Ram­lutch­man Mab­heka, an adopted son of the monarch, also called for re­li­gious and cul­tural tol­er­ance. “Ac­cept each one as a brother, sis­ter or a child of God. To­gether we can stand united and let peace pre­vail on our sa­cred soil of South Africa.” He de­scribed the king as be­ing “a true leader in the fight against poverty among our peo­ple”. “His Majesty has been the most con­sis­tent voice and cam­paigner for peace and unity among his peo­ple. It is largely due to his cease­less com­mit­ment to peace that rel­a­tive sta­bil­ity and peace has come to the prov­ince of KwaZulu-Na­tal.” He con­tin­ued: “I know that noth­ing trou­bles His Majesty more than strife among his peo­ple; I urge all, more espe­cially in the prov­ince of KwaZulu-Na­tal, to give His Majesty the gift he will cher­ish for the rest of his life – the gift of en­dur­ing peace. Let us all make a firm com­mit­ment to­day as we are with our Fa­ther and our king.” LIL\11022312

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