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Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN AND TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION

PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP“Growing up as a young child in Mahashini, at the palace of my uncle King Solomon ka Dinuzulu, I shared the responsibility of all young boys; of herding cattle. 

As we walked through the fields and communal grazing areas, we often saw iNsingizi, the Southern Ground Hornbill. Wherever there were cattle, there were iNsingizi. The booming call of these large birds was familiar to us. It reminded us of the seasonal blessing of rain. In our culture, these birds were never hunted, for fear of unleashing torrential downpours.  But seeing iNsingizi in a grazing area meant that the area was being cleared of snakes and scorpions. So we welcomed their presence. 

Today, however, when I walk among my cattle in Mahlabathini, it is very rare to see a Southern Ground Hornbill. Tragically, in the whole of northern Zululand, there may be fewer than 25 breeding groups left.  They may soon become Critically Endangered. 

I long to see this symbolic bird reinstated in the collective memory. I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to see iNsingizi and to hold them in high regard, as our ancestors did. It would be an unspeakable loss to our cultural and natural heritage to allow these birds to slip into extinction.

I am therefore enormously grateful for the work being done to preserve the species, through research, habitat augmentation, awareness campaigns, the rescuing, hand-rearing and rewilding of chicks, and their reintroduction into our wildlife areas. I must thank the Kemp family and the team at the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project for their invaluable service to conservation.”

As a lifelong conservationist, I know that conservation initiatives must be supported and driven by traditional leaders and traditional communities. As Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan, I have championed an intensive conservation dialogue.

I intend to see that dialogue encompass the protection of the Southern Ground Hornbill, as part of our future conservation plan, and I make myself available to open the way."