KwaZulu-Natal’s first Premier Dr. Frank Mdlalose laid to rest

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KwaZulu-Natal’s first Premier Dr. Frank Mdlalose has been described as a sterling leader not only for his community, Madadeni, but for people across the province.

Eighty-nine-year-old Mdlalose has been laid to rest in a special provincial funeral in Madadeni, outside Newcastle, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

His journey into politics started in 1950 at the Fort Hare University. In 1975, he was invited by Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the founding IFP president, to form Inkatha Yenkulukelo Yesizwe that is now known as the IFP.

A moving ceremony to remember the life of the late Dr. Mdlalose at the St Andrews Anglican Church in Madadeni. He died from COVID-19 complications last weekend. The church opted to honour him by leaving the chair he used weekly, empty.

Mdlalose was the first black doctor to open a medical practice in Madadeni township. He then hired former provincial health MEC Doctor Sibongiseni Dhlomo to work with him.

Special Provincial Official Funeral of the late Dr. Frank Themba Mdlalose:

His family has described him as a loving person who had a jovial sense of humour. His daughter, Makhosazana says her father was a family man

“We are trying very hard together, but it’s not easy. He loved family gatherings, very sociable person and decent, very respectful. We were very happy to be his family. We enjoyed it. He was a blessing to all of us. Not only the family; the community, everybody. He always wanted things to be done the right way. Most of the things at home happened around the meal table, dining table.”

IFP Emeritus President, Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, paid tribute to Mdlalose for his role during the country’s constitutional negotiations in the early 1990s. His message was delivered by IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa.

“I am grateful to Dr Mdlalose for representing the IFP during our country’s constitutional negotiations. He became one of the IFP’s main negotiators and was our country’s champion for federalism and the creation of provinces. He remained our national chair and premier until ill-health forced him to relinquish these positions.”

Delivering the eulogy, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala praised Mdlalose for his role in bringing peace and stability to the province.

“We want to commend him for the role he played in building peace in KwaZulu-Natal. In the early ’90s, he worked with leaders of the ANC in particular former President Jacob Zuma to a point where they set up a Peace and Reconstruction Foundation to leave the programs of building peace in this province.”

He was firm and disciplined, blessed with a sharp intellect: Zikalala

He also acknowledged Mdlalose’s role in healthcare.

“He would also have emphasised that we must work together to combat TB, fight COVID-19, as well as HIV and AIDS. We appeal to the youth of Newcastle and to learn and follow in the steps of this brighter leader of the people of our province. We urge the youth of eMadadeni to emulate Dr Mdlalose by taking education seriously as a tool that will go a long way in eradicating the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.”

Mdlalose is survived by his wife Eunice, two daughters, a son and nine grandchildren. He has been laid to rest at the Emoyeni Farm in Dannhauser.