Meeting with King Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulu Nation

On 23 January 1996, King Goodwill Kabhekuzulu Zwelithini attended Sri Chinmoy's Peace Concert in City Hall, Durban, South Africa. He gave the following welcome address.

King Zwelithini: When the world turns against itself, as it does, human life becomes trivial and cheap. The death statistics of the USSR, Burundi, Algeria, Israel and Palestine, India, Sri Lanka and KwaZulu-Natal back home, highlight the lack of peace and unity within the human population. There is hardly a single day that passes without TV and press media showing human destruction by humans. Here in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal is a classic example of anarchy, disunity, lack of understanding, lack of political tolerance, faction fighting, rampant violence and political killings.

In other words, the world should unite in pursuit of peace. I take relief from the fact that there are men and women like Sri Chinmoy and his peace group who have dedicated their lives to promoting peace. I have carefully studied the qualifications of this man, who is an international peace philosopher, an author, a poet, an artist, an athlete, a spiritual leader, because it is rare to find a man of this age who is a combination of all these noble qualities. His life supports the observation that a man who is at peace with himself can effectively promote peace amongst other people.

He is propelled by the spiritual desire to see peace reigning among people. He is also an inspiration to us here in KwaZulu/Natal and South Africa in general. We have to shed hatred, we have to shed destructive competition, we have to shed jealousy, we have to shed ethnic and racial biases, we have to shed feelings of self-centredness, we have to replace narrow self-interest with broad, common interest.

The visit of Sri Chinmoy and his peace group is a fountain of inspiration to us. We hope the message will get across that human life is more important than political power. We hope to internalise the message that we ultimately return to our Source, God. We have to revive our noble Ubuntu practices.

With these few words I want to welcome Sri Chinmoy and his peace group in KwaZulu/Natal. Your visit and this Peace Concert are a blessing to me and my people. Incidentally, I am also a lover of peace. I will gladly sacrifice my sleep if and when there is an opportunity to meet for the promotion of peace. May your visit and Peace Concert spread a new wave of love, peace and unity in this troubled province of ours. Thank you.

Sri Chinmoy: Your Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini, I wish to offer you gratitude from the inmost recesses of my heart for the signal and momentous blessings that you have bestowed upon my heart of aspiration and my life of dedication. This morning I was inspired from deep within to compose a song about you, your Majesty. This prayerful song I now wish my students to sing for you. Most humbly I am offering this song to your Majesty.

[Sri Chinmoy read out the words to the song:]

O King Goodwill, O King Goodwill, Goodwill!
You are your heart's world-oneness-peace-dream-thrill.
You tell the world: "No stark ignorance-fight.
Dive deep within to swim in the sea of Light."
O Pilot-Zenith of your fond Zulu tribe,
In your heart's rainbow-sky, peace-promise shall thrive.

The choir performed the song before the entire Peace Concert audience of about one thousand people. The King and Queen thanked the singers graciously, shaking hands with each one individually.

Remarks were then offered by the Acting Mayor, Councillor Panday, and the Chairperson of the Metropolitan Executive Council, Mr. Obed Mlaba.

Mr. Obed Mlaba, Chairperson of the Executive Council, Durban Metropolitan Area: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome again, to all of you. On behalf of the Executive Council of the Durban Metropolitan Area, I am extremely honoured to welcome Sri Chinmoy here tonight. For all of us in Durban, nothing is more important than to establish a lasting and true peace. So it is extremely significant and important to us that you, Sri Chinmoy, have chosen to come to our land at this turning point in our lives, in Durban and KwaZulu/Natal and in our country. For us, you represent the power of the heart and of the spirit of God within each human being as we strive to bring goodness and peace into our lives.

I am extremely pleased and happy to announce that our Executive Council has today voted to become part of the Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms programme which links together nearly 1000 natural wonders and important locations worldwide for the cause of peace. On behalf of all Durbanites, may I say that we feel truly honoured to be a part of this global initiative to foster peace. We need your innovative and heart to heart, person to person peace programmes very badly, and we assure you that we shall work closely with your organisation to play our role in our common quest for a world of peace.

I would now like to read the text of the plaque which is here on stage, and to present you, Sri Chinmoy, with this signed declaration. The plaque will be installed soon at a very prominent place here in City Hall so that all of our citizens may receive the inspiration to lead more peaceful and fulfilling lives.

King Zwelithini then unveiled the plaque declaring Durban a "Sri Chinmoy Peace Metropolitan Area."

Later, at a reception held in the City Hall, the King remarked to Sri Chinmoy "Brother, brother, you cannot imagine what you have done for me and for our country! We need only a few — not many — men of peace like you to bring peace to our country."