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King hails Catholic Church

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By Starsky Mkhonta - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-18-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III has paid tribute to the Roman Catholic Church for its wide ranging contribution to the country.

Speaking during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Our Lady of Sorrows (OLOS) schools yesterday, the King said the institution was not only providing education or Christian values but it had gone further over the years by producing respected individuals in society. The King said with the OLOS background dating as way back as 1934, by that time the school started with six pupils but today the enrolment had risen to an unbelievable figure.

“This institution today does not only provide education or promotes Christian values but it has also over the years gone on to produce capable leaders and pioneers representing various fields of life within and beyond the Kingdom of Swaziland,” said the King. He said the commemoration was of significance considering how the school was started by the Catholic sisters and members of the congregation of Mantellate Sisters Servants of Mary. “We are told they trekked by ox-cart drawn by mules from St-Joseph’s, which is a distance of about 200km away, with one intention, to set up this school. This was the height of love, strong will, sense of purpose, united intention, collaboration and professionalism that defines the true OLOS spirit,” the King said.

The King said efforts shown by the founders of OLOS had led to the impressive growth of the institution into a complex that includes other initiatives. “OLOS has given birth to initiatives such as the clinic, the pre-school, religious activities, youth groups and Sitanani, which is a woman’s development programme,” the King said. His Majesty noted that the clinic served not only the needs of the school but it had contributed greatly by providing health service to the community.

“The Mantellate Sisters and friends have also gone further to contribute towards securing water projects in the area, which for years has been hard hit by drought,” he said. His Majesty also noted the role played by the church in Swaziland. He said it did not concentrate on the spiritual well-being of the nation only but it contributes to education and other human needs. “That is the reason we thank the Mission Schools for their efforts to achieve a balance in this area. Swaziland needs educated, principled and upright citizens and I am happy that Our Lady of Sorrows has over the years produced such distinguished citizens,” he said. The King said OLOS, being an institution started by women, it was a clear indication how capable women were.

He said that OLOS was founded and developed by women just summed up the role women can play in society. “I am informed that the actual construction was often supervised and directed by the sisters who did not have any problem of participating in some of the work, such as making bricks, mixed cement and sand and also fetched rocks from the hills. They led by example and helped further instill in our children the dignity and the rewards of hard-work,” said the King.

The King said the nation had a good reference in Queen Mother Labotsibeni who laid a good foundation for education in the Kingdom. “She made sure that the leadership of the country received good education when she ensured that Sobhuza went to school and further to Lovedale College. It was, to the significant extent, the influence and encouragement of Mgwami that enabled Sobhuza the skillfulness to lead the country to Independence and in nation building,” said the King.

Present during the occasion included Emakhosikati, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, MPs as well as many other dignitaries. Bishop Ncamiso Ndlovu of the Roman Catholic also attended.

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