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Mandela, Kaunda honour king

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STALWARTS: Nelson Mandela, his wife Graça Machel and Kenneth Kaunda yesterday paid tribute to former King Sabata Dalindyebo. Picture: LULAMILE FENI

By LUBABALO NGCUKANA

Mthatha Bureau

NELSON Mandela and former Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda yesterday paid tribute to former AbaThembu king Sabata Dalindyebo.

They saluted the king, laying wreaths at his gravesite at Bumbane Great Place in Mthatha.

The ceremony is meant to honour Sabata and his son, Buyelekhaya, now king of the AbaThembu nation.

The touching gesture – which lasted about an hour – was attended by provincial government officials, local business people and councillors from the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) municipality.

Traditional leaders of the AbaThembu baka Dalindyebo nation were also at the ceremony, hosted by King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

Among those who laid the wreaths were Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel, MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Toko Xasa, OR Tambo District Municipality mayor Zoleka Capa, KSD mayor Sipho Ngcobo and officials who accompanied Kaunda from Zambia.

“I felt honoured that his majesty, the king could have invited me to this important centre where the king lies in peace for all of us, I am here feeling very much honoured,” said Kaunda.

He was due to deliver a memorial lecture on OR Tambo last night.

During the ceremony the delegation paid respects to the AbaThembu king, who died in Lusaka, Zambia in 1986.

“I want to thank the King (Buyelekhaya) for having us here, it is important that we came here to honour you,” Mandela said.

“This is a great occasion. For us to come and respect the king is something important and we feel happy that we have done so.”

He then saluted King Buyelekhaya, using his praise name, Ah! Zwelibanzi.

“I wish the king to live a long time,” Mandela said.

King Buyelekhaya yesterday said of the occasion and the presence of the two struggle icons: “I am excited, more than happy. I am thrilled, this is a historical occasion to me, one that I would never forget.”


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