President Cyril Ramaphosa has rallied the Kingdom of the Bapedi to heed the vision of prosperity of their late Kgoshi Thulare Victor Thulare III.
The President made the clarion call while delivering the eulogy at the King’s funeral on Sunday in Sekhukhune.
The monarch, who succumbed to COVID-19 related complications, was accorded a Special Official Funeral Category 1.
In his address, President Ramaphosa hailed the King as a patriot of economic growth.
Kgoshikgolo Thulare, he said, would have been part of this effort, working in partnership with government, business and unions to bring investment and infrastructure to this area.
“He would have supported the mass employment programmes that are now rolling out in many parts of the country, providing valuable services to our people. Kgoshi Thulare set out to lead his people on a path to economic prosperity. He brought experts together to chart a new economic path for Ga-Sekhukhune, with a strong focus on youth empowerment,” he said.
With minerals and other natural resources abundant in the area, the King wanted to work with the mining companies to grow the local economy and stem the tide of youth leaving for the cities.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have placed many businesses under stress – including mines in the area – resulting in job losses and hurting local businesses. The President urged communities rise on the back of their local resources, on their ingenuity and on their hard work, and so must it be for the Bapedi people.
Through the King Thulare lll Foundation, the King sought to form strong partnerships to develop the skills among the youth, and to restore the land rights, culture, traditions and heritage of his people.
“He wanted people to have clean water and other basic services. He wanted his people to live lives free of crime, gender-based violence and corruption. His desire was to be a firm partner to government and an unwavering champion of the needs of his people,” he said.
The nation, he said, had lost a “measured voice of reason” and a “shining example of traditional leadership”.
When he was officially recognised, Kgoshi Thulare shared his aspiration for the peace and unity of his Kingdom, so that they could collectively chart a new path of reconciliation, development and prosperity for the people.
“In fact even before ascending to the throne, he preached unity, which he said was a fitting gift to the ancestors who bequeathed this generation this vast land,” said the President. “Let his dreams not die with him. Let us not bury the vision that he had with him. Let the unity that he championed live well beyond his brief but promising reign. May all his economic initiatives be sustained.”
President Ramaphosa said even as the dark clouds have descended on the Kingdom, as it bear the pain of the great loss, it should not despair or lose hope.
“As the sun has always risen on the Bapedi, so shall it rise again.”