Buthelezi: Di­wali calls us to a deeper spir­i­tu­al­ity


TWO decades ago, IFP leader Man­go­suthu Buthelezi at­tended the in­au­gu­ral Durban Di­wali Fes­ti­val, at the Bay of Plenty, and was again present at the of­fi­cial open­ing, at the old Drive-in site, on Satur­day evening.

Call­ing him­self “a life­long friend of the In­dian com­mu­nity”, Buthelezi said he felt a deep con­nec­tion to the event or­gan­is­ers, the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, for walk­ing a long jour­ney in the coun­try.

“In­deed it was founded in the same year that my un­cle, Dr Pix­ley ka Isaka Seme, founded Africa’s old­est or­gan­i­sa­tion for lib­er­a­tion (the ANC). The jour­ney we have walked in South Africa has been walked side-by-side and hand-in-hand,” he told guests and fes­ti­val go­ers.

He said, through his good friend­ships, he had the priv­i­lege of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the heart of the In­dian com­mu­nity.

“I know the value that you place on fam­ily and how deeply con­nected you are to your cul­tural iden­tity. This is some­thing I un­der­stand, for it res­onates with my own value sys­tem. I also know how deeply you care for South Africa, for I have worked with many women and men who have given ev­ery­thing for the sake of ser­vice.

“I know, there­fore, what has been achieved and what can be achieved by the In­dian com­mu­nity.

“You are mak­ing an in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to so­cial jus­tice, to the strength­en­ing of democ­racy, to grow­ing the econ­omy and to build­ing our na­tion.

“South Africa does not be­long to one group. None of us are visi­tors in our own coun­try. We have built this coun­try to­gether, through all our ef­forts. We are one na­tion with one destiny.”

Buthelezi said that un­less we start from this truth, he did not see the coun­try mak­ing any progress.

He said the coun­try was go­ing through a cri­sis, liken­ing it to go­ing through a dark tun­nel as far as so­cial and eco­nomic jus­tice was con­cerned.

“But more and more things done in dark­ness are be­ing ex­posed to the light.”

Buthelezi added that “cor­rupt peo­ple” are be­ing taken out of po­si­tions and that the wrong needed to be ex­posed.

“…There is, un­doubt­edly, still a dif­fi­cult road ahead. But it’s a road we can walk, if we walk it to­gether.”

The dan­ger, he said, came when peo­ple start snip­ing at each other, not only across racial lines, but even within fam­i­lies.

“If we want to se­cure a good fu­ture for our­selves and for the next gen­er­a­tion, we need to start chan­nelling our frus­tra­tions into pos­i­tive ac­tivism… And what­ever we do, it must be un­der­pinned by the truth that we are all equally valu­able, equally wor­thy and have equal rights.”

Be­fore con­vey­ing his well-wishes to mem­bers of the Hindu faith, he said he had ex­pressed deep thoughts for such a fes­tive oc­ca­sion.

“But Di­wali calls us to a deeper spir­i­tu­al­ity.”

In his ad­dress, the pres­i­dent of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, Ash­win Trikam­jee, said the 20th year oc­ca­sion had come so quickly.

“I can re­mem­ber in 1998 when we planned this fes­ti­val. Many said it won’t work. But we took the plunge at the Durban Bay of Plenty and thou­sands turned up.”

Trikam­jee said the fes­ti­val did not only serve the Hindu com­mu­nity alone, but it had be­come an at­trac­tion for all South Africans.

The chair­per­son of the Cul­tural Re­li­gions Lin­guis­tic Rights (CLR) Com­mis­sion, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said she hoped peace, tol­er­ance and friend­ship united the coun­try, adding “let the hate go away”.


PRINCE Man­go­suthu Buthelezi, Ash­win Trikam­jee (pres­i­dent of the South African Hindu Sabha) and Neeran Be­sesar (fes­ti­val co-or­di­na­tor).


THE diya be­ing lit at the start of the pro­gramme with Va­sugie Singh, left, and Mridula Trikam­jee. RIGHT: One of the cul­tural items per­formed at the of­fi­cial open­ing.

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