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Author : Jacob Zuma

Address by President Jacob Zuma during the King Hintsa Bravery Awards conferred by King Zwelonke Sigcawu

11 December 2012

King Zwelonke Sigcawu, Aah!! Zwelonke,
Minister Richard Baloyi and other Ministers present,
Premier Noxolo Kiviet and MECs present,
Premier Zweli Mkhize of KZN,
The amaXhosa King`s Council and the Royal Family ka Sigcawu kaHintsa
Distinguished Guests

Aah Zwelonke!!

Whenever we descend into the Eastern Cape, we are welcomed by the tranquil atmosphere.

One learns to appreciate the great River Cacadu as it opens its mouth to meet the great Indian Ocean after its long and twisted flow through the slopes and valleys of this beautiful province.

You appreciate the age old architecture that defines the Eastern Cape. The colourful rondavels spread out for the viewer to marvel at their unique beauty.

The open grasslands are a constant reminder of the fact that these lands were inhabited over a long period of time, long before the recorded history.

The breeze that blows gently across the hills and hillocks of this province welcomes one to the land of the warrior kings, the forebears in whose tracks we are following.

The warm, friendly and unpretentious reception that characterises the people of this province belies the fact that they are born of great warriors who gave colonisers a hard time during the wars of resistance.

This is the land where epic battles of resistance were fought as our people gallantly continued with the war after the Khoi-khoi were defeated as the first to meet the settlers at the Cape Peninsula of Storms, now Cape Town.

We are reminded of the beauty of this province as we gather to honour those amongst us who have distinguished themselves and have in the process emulated in their deeds, the life of the Great warrior King Hintsa ka Khawuta ka Gcaleka.

These men and women have demonstrated that despite the opaque clouds obscuring one`s view of the future, it is possible to forge ahead, at times with only hope as a compass, until the illuminating rays of success brightens one`s world. This is a constant reminder that for a just cause - victory is certain, no matter how long and arduous it may take.

These are the people who sacrificed their lot, risked their livelihoods and gave up their precious possessions so that others can live on and thrive.

I am humbled by my own award, received today. It is a great honour to receive an award that is named after a brave warrior who loved his people so much that he fought to the bitter end rather than surrender his land and his people.

I sincerely thank His Majesty for this honour, which I shall cherish for as long as I live. Aah Zwelonke!

Esteemed traditional leaders and guests,

Legend has it that King Hintsa fought on and refused to surrender even when faced by the clear possibility of death.

He refused to negotiate peace with the enemy from a prison wall as he was asked to order his kinsmen and kindred to stop the resistance.

He refused to be the guide towards the betrayal of his people and vowed that he`d rather die than hand over his people and their wealth to the colonial powers on a platter.

For that, the cowardly and sadist Harry Smith, later honoured in Britain for his dastardly and heinous crimes against humanity, ordered the cold-blooded murder of King Hintsa by shooting him from the back.

Unarmed and harmless, surrendering and arms in the sky pleading for mercy, they went ahead and decided to murder him despite having the possibility of arresting him without using the lethal force.

The Great King Hintsa is renowned for his ability to unite his people, and to marshal them in the fight against internecine wars and later colonial invasion by the British settlers.

Upon succeeding his father, Khawuta ka Gcaleka, the young and valiant Hintsa had been able to defend and consolidate his turf against other surrounding clans and kingdoms and had established his gens as the dominant and most stable in the area.

It was during this time that the first British landed in 1820 and did not hesitate to start on their campaign to annex all land in the hands of the indigenous people.

The invasion and colonial dominion tempered with the vast and peaceful empire of the AmaXhosa.

The people of the Eastern Cape and in particular the amaXhosa have to this day not stopped fighting against colonialism, apartheid and the legacy of those years of denigration and deprivation.

Sixty seven years after the death of King Hintsa, many kinsmen from this kingdom were part of the formation and the launch of the parliament of the people, the African National Congress in Mangaung in 1912.

The ANC emerged as a very strong organisation of the oppressed people in the Cape Province, and particularly in this area.

To this day the ANC remains a conqueror in the battle of ideas. The ANC continues to register victory after another in the electoral battles that are the new pillar of struggle having replaced the armed rebellion and war as a path to power.

Thus we are encouraged by this temerity and determination by our people in this part of the country who have placed their trust through repeatedly voting for the ANC.

This they do consciously as they want to achieve deeper political emancipation and social progress, which they know is only possible through the ANC.

They know that it is only the ANC that has the capacity to deliver as a vehicle and a tool in their hands for liberation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are meeting today at the same time as the world is hosting COP 18 after having held a successful COP 17 United Nations Climate Change conference in South Africa last year.

The issues of global warming remain high on the world agenda and should similarly remain amongst our apex priorities locally.

The deforestation of our grasslands through overgrazing and cutting of trees for energy and other uses must be stopped.

We need to urgently, in our own small way contribute in the fight against global warming by amongst others planting trees.

Let us replace those trees that were chopped off for building kraals and for firewood because we are today blessed with alternative means.

It is possible to turn the Eastern Cape open grasslands into the forests they once were.

I am certain that the Department of Environmental Affairs, in collaboration with the House of Traditional Leaders of the Eastern Cape can explore a joint campaign such as that.

I am raising this point in front of His Majesty here, because I believe that traditional leaders must be in the forefront in the fight against global warming and the preservation of the environment for generations to come. We humbly invite our esteemed amakhosi to lead us in taking the campaign of promoting a green environment forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are committed as government to restore the role and dignity of traditional leaders.

We have now finalised and fully recognised the kingships in South Africa, like the Hintsa lineage that is today represented by King Zwelonke Sigcawu.

There are of course those who are litigating against the decisions of the Nhlapo Commission.

Government will await the decisions of the courts on those matters and will pronounce upon the judicial findings.

The new commission in the Department of Traditional Affairs is proceeding well in investigating some more disputes and claims. Progress in that regard is satisfactory.

Claimants continue to be informed as soon as their claims are finalized.

As we move on, we need to stabilise the area of traditional rule, minimize conflict and succession feuds and enable traditional councils and their traditional leaders to play a role in the development of their communities, as Hintsa and many others of their time did.

Their time should not be wasted by having to constantly look over their shoulders fearing that some cousin or brother may be after their throne.

The Minister informed me that they are drawing genealogies of all traditional councils to ensure that we no longer rely on oral tradition but can and will always refer to a recorded family tree that can stand the test of time.

This will be the best tribute we can pay to our ancestors Hintsa, Cetshwayo, Sekhukhune, Moshoeshoe and many other warrior kings who fought so bitterly so that we can be what we are today.

Programme Director,

Allow me to talk briefly about the ANC and its forthcoming conference, a matter that is high on the agenda of the country.

There has been a lot of negative media coverage against our movement in the last few months as we are approaching our 53th national conference, in Mangaung.

The prediction of the implosion of the ANC has been professed by many prophets of doom. These prophesies are not new as the death of the ANC was predicted before in 1940`s and later in the 1960`s and the 70`s.

The enemy always confused wishes for horses and it rode home with the illusions of the end of an era for the movement of the people.

Little did they know that the ANC is the parliament of the people and will live on for as long as the people survive. This is so as we believe that organisation is the key to unlocking the possibility for any people and the ANC will remain that tool for unblocking the path to the future.

We need to reiterate that the ANC will emerge stronger than ever after the Mangaung conference and will continue its historical mission of leading society to total freedom.

The conferences in between the five yearly periods are a renewal method for the ANC as it gets reborn.

The elective conferences are an essential survival medicine as the ANC is a democratic organisation that must move in tandem with these times and lead society in that regard.

We do understand that the ANC is the Parliament of the people and that whatever turbulence, real or perceived, within it causes ructions and unwarranted panic and hysteria.

We take this opportunity to assure South Africa that we will go to Mangaung this weekend and very serious and constructive policy discussions will take place, to take our country forward to the second phase of our transition from colonialism of a special type to a National Democratic Society.

Branches will elect leadership and take resolutions to guide us as we move forward.

These will happen just as they did many times in the past. We want to believe that it will be much better this time around as we are going to conference well prepared, after a very successful national policy conference earlier this year.

Delegates are determined to conclude policies that will take us forward towards socio-economic freedom. Our people need that. They need to see faster change in their lives.

Programme Director,

I take this opportunity to congratulate all the awards recipients and sincerely hope that you will continue with your good work amongst our people.

Let me make a few points with regard to this particular award.

To me this award is different from the ones I have received previously over the years. I have received awards from different institutions of different kinds acknowledging contribution at a leadership level as well as at an educational level. All of them in my view cannot be equated to this award, as this award talks directly to our experience as Africans. It talks to the contribution of the African leaders during the wars of resistance.

It talks to the leaders who sacrificed everything for the African people. It talks to their heroism as well as their greatness in thinking and putting their people and their country above everything else. It talks as well to the greatness of African leaders which was displayed as they responded collectively to the challenge of colonialism in 1912.

As you will recall those who came together to respond to the challenges of 1910 of the formation of the South African Union, they came from those who had been fighting fearlessly in defence of our country, but others came from the then educated leaders and those who had become religious.

Here, South Africa saw these sons and daughters coming together to strategise on the response to colonialist onslaught against Africans. The onslaught was reflected on land dispossession and deprivation of political rights.

In reality Africans were deprived of all the rights. These are our leaders who travelled from all corners of SA to Bloemfontein, Mangaung, to discuss the national challenge that faced the African people. This award indeed talks to this experience.

But the award also talks to those who carried out the struggle for the whole century and finally delivered freedom in 1994.

Finally, it talks to the leaders who were given the responsibility to establish a democratic SA using the vision that was outlined in 1955 in the Freedom Charter.

It therefore, in real sense, when compared to many accolades and other awards, talks to our real Africa experience. The award also talks to African values.

As a result I thus feel more humbled to be honoured with the Hintsa award. I feel like a warrior who has survived a long and brutal war after defeating the enemy, who is arriving koMkhulu and is being recognised and appreciated by his King.

I feel like a warrior who is receiving the recognition on behalf of many other warriors who have fallen before him.

I take it as recognition of many of the African leaders who made a contribution to our country. I receive it on behalf of all leaders of our liberation movement and all people of this county.

We should all learn from the Great King Hintsa, and learn to put this country and its people first before everything else.

Aah! Zwelonke!!

I thank you all.