Tribute To Chief Msogwaba
14 January 2001
The Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature received the news of the death of Chief Msogwaba with deep sadness and shock. It is lamentable that in a short space of time, our province has once more has been robbed of one of its outstanding leaders.
Chief Nkosi leaves us at a critical time in the political history of our country. An important debate is going on the role of traditional leaders in a democracy. The seriousness and intensity of the debate almost threatened our very democracy, as we approached the local government elections in December 2000.
We should, however, take advantage of the opportunity presented by the Presidency's commitment to dialogue on the role of traditional leaders in a democratic environment. We should acknowledge that the tensions that exist between traditional leaders and democratically elected leaders are inevitable. What is critical, however is how we manage these tensions without compromising our people's wellbeing.
Over the past five years, development in areas under the control of traditional leaders has been moving at a slow pace, mainly due to these tensions. This is unacceptable. The freedom that we fought for and won in 1994 and for which so many of our people paid with their lives cannot be denied to people who live in areas controlled by chiefs. There is therefore an urgent need to address the matter of relationships between the traditional leaders and democratically elected leaders in particular their role with speed.
I have no doubt that Chief Nkosi would have played a very critical role during these discussions. His ability to relate with all people will sorely be missed from these discussions. We believe, however, that the best way to honour him, is to emulate his rare humble but pragmatic character when dealing with sensitive matters. This is a challenge facing those he is leaving behind.
His leadership has touched many people's lives and he will always be alive in the thoughts of the people he has led. All those who have lived and worked with him will miss his humbleness and yet pragmatic approach to issues that affected his community. His departure will, undoubtedly leave a vacuum that will be difficult to fill in his family and the people who cherished him.
To the Nkosi family, I wish to say that we know how difficult it is to lose a father, a husband, a relative and a loved one. However, you should know that he may be gone today, but he will always be in our thoughts and that the Lord has decided it is time to recall him.
We know that no words are enough to take away the grief that you are going through, but we wish to state that our thoughts and prayers will always be with you during these trying times. Akwehlanga Lungehlanga.
SPEAKER OF THE MPUMALANGA PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE