American civil rights lawyer and international activist Reverend Al Sharpton has praised the late Bapedi King Thulare Victor Thulare III as an economic freedom fighter for land and justice.

Kgoshikgolo Thulare III passed away from a COVID-19-related illness at the age of 40.

The King, after a protracted battle for his kingship, was recognised as the rightful leader of the Bapedi nation in May 2020 and was due to be inaugurated later in 2021.

King Thulare Victor Thulare III’s funeral service:

Sharpton’s recorded message was played at the King’s funeral service at Mohlaletsi village in the Sekhukhune district of Limpopo.

Sharpton met King Thulare III in 2019 and was planning to attend his coronation ceremony at the Mohlaletsi this year.

The Reverend says he saw the kind of leadership that has significant change in people’s lives in King Thulare III.

“I quickly saw in his majesty King Victor Thulare the kind of vigilant leadership that has a significant change in people’s lives through the African continent; particularly South Africa. We share a common understanding that the total liberation of black people around the globe cannot come without economic freedom. His majesty, King Victor Thulare, helped me understand that for South Africans, the land is essential; it’s an essential elements to achieve that goal.”

American civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton pays tribute to King Victor Thulare III:

A life cut short

President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to King Thulare III, saying while his life was short, he was a visionary leader.

Ramaphosa says the young king had developed a masterplan to build a modern city to improve the lives of his subjects.

“Kgoshi Thulare set out to lead his people on a path of economic prosperity. He brought experts together to chart a new economic path for Ga-Sekhukhune with a strong focus on youth empowerment. He used to say ‘I am still young, I still have agility’ with minerals and other natural resources abundant in his area. He wanted to work with mining companies to grow the local economy and stem the tide of young people leaving this area and going to the cities.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa hails the late King Victor Thulare III as a youthful and visionary leader:

Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu echoed the President’s sentiments on the impactful leadership of Kgosikolo Thulare, saying his perspective went far beyond just his specific kingdom.

“Kgoshikolo Thulare III played a significant role when we were establishing a business entity that belongs to traditional leaders in the name of United Royalship Holdings – an entity where he sent his advisor Ubaba Reul Ntshabeng to be the one who work with us. He wanted this entity to lead in making sure that resources in the areas of traditional leadership and their communities benefit those communities and those communities become owners of those mining companies that are in their areas.”

Unity for the Bapedi Kingdom

President Ramaphosa has urged the Bapedi people to affirm King Thulare III’s dream of unity for their nation. The kingdom underwent internal strife following the death of Thulare’s father, King Sekhukhune III, in 2007, as to who was the rightful heir.

The Nhlapo Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and the Constitutional Court finally confirmed Thulare’s claim over that of his uncle Kenneth Kgaudi Sekhukune III in May 2020.

“When he was officially recognised, Kgosi Thulare shared his aspirations for the peace and the unity of his kingdom so that they could collectively chart a new path of reconciliation after the many years of strife. He wanted to see development and prosperity for the people in this area. 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 let his dreams not die with him.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the eulogy of King Victor Thulare III of the BaPedi Kingdom: