Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a towering figure in South African politics and a vocal Zulu chief, has passed away at the age of 95.
KAMPALA, UGANDA | NOW THEN DIGITAL — Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a towering figure in South African politics and a prominent Zulu chief, has passed away at the age of 95.
Founding the Zulu Inkatha Party During Apartheid
During the era of apartheid, Buthelezi founded the Zulu Inkatha party, driven by his disillusionment with the African National Congress (ANC).
Clashes and Controversy in the Early ’90s
The early 1990s witnessed deadly clashes between supporters of the Inkatha party and the ANC, resulting in a significant loss of life.
A Return to the Political Fold
Despite the past conflicts, Buthelezi was later welcomed back into the political sphere, serving as President Nelson Mandela’s minister of home affairs.
A Shrewd and Controversial Politician
Buthelezi, known for his shrewd and controversial political stance, disagreed with the ANC’s armed action strategy against white-minority rule. He adopted a moderate approach while leading an ethnic-Zulu homeland.
Opposition to International Sanctions
He staunchly opposed international sanctions on South Africa, contending that they would harm the country’s black majority.
Accusations of Collaboration
During the turbulent ’90s, the ANC accused Buthelezi of collaborating with the white-minority government, raising concerns about the potential for civil war and disruption of the transition to democracy when Nelson Mandela became president in 1994.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Tribute
President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Chief Buthelezi, hailing him as a “formidable leader” who played a pivotal role in the nation’s history for seven decades.
”I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Prince of KwaPhindangene, Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and the Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party.”, Ramaphosa said.
”Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been an outstanding leader in the political and cultural life of our nation, including the ebss and flows of our liberation struggle, the transition which secured our freedom in 1994 and our democratic dispensation.
Prince Buthelezi, who served as the democratic South Africa’s first Minister of Home Affairs, passed away in the early hours of today, Saturday, 9 September 2023, just two weeks after the celebration of his 95th birthday.
My thoughts and prayers and those of government and our nation go out to the Royal Household who have been blessed to share uMntwana waKwaPhindangene’s extended lifetime with him, as well as to the Zulu Nation and the leadership and membership of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Announcements will be made in due course, based on consultations between government and the family, on the arrangements to mourn and honour the Inkosi of the Buthelezi clan as a formidable leader who has played a significant role in our country’s history for seven decades.
We shall, in due course, reflect more extensively on his extraordinary life and diverse contributions to the development of our nation. At this point in time, we embrace the Buthelezi clan in their mourning and pray that the soul of the Prince rests in peace.” he added.
I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Prince of KwaPhindangene, Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and the Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been an… pic.twitter.com/pqa2iJpysz
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) September 9, 2023
Legacy and Heritage
Chief Buthelezi, as the hereditary chief of the Zulus, South Africa’s largest ethnic group, was born into the Zulu royal family.
He even portrayed his own great-grandfather, Zulu King Cetshwayo, in the 1964 film “Zulu.”
Inkatha Freedom Party and Stepping Down
He served as prime minister of KwaZulu, the Zulu homeland, and in 1975, he founded the Inkatha Freedom Party, a significant Zulu political and cultural movement. After leading the party for 44 years, he stepped down as its leader in 2019, marking the end of an era in South African politics.
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