The founder of Inkatha Freedom party in south Africa, prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has passed away at the age of 95.
uMntwana waKwaPhindangene died in hospital after being admitted almost two months ago following complications following a back-pain management procedure.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement issued early Saturday: “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,” the president said in a statement.
“Prince Buthelezi has been an outstanding leader in the political and cultural life of our nation, including the ebbs and flows of our liberation struggle, the transition which secured our freedom in 1994 and our democratic dispensation.” He continued.
“My thoughts and prayers and those of government and our nation go out to the Royal Household who have been blessed to share uMntwana waKwa Phindangene’s extended lifetime with him, as well as to the Zulu Nation and the leadership and membership of the Inkatha Freedom Party,” H.E Ramaphosa said.
Buthelezi was an influential figure in South African politics and in his later life, acted as a voice of reason in parliament during chaotic sessions involving EFF MPs.
Born at the Ceza Swedish Missionary Hospital in the Mahlabathini District on August 27 1928, he was the son of Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, the daughter of King Dinuzulu and granddaughter of King Cetshwayo.
He was raised in KwaDlamahlahla Palace.
In his formative years, he attended Impumalanga Primary School in Mahashini in Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, and later went to Adams College in Amanzimtoti, where he matriculated.
He furthered his education at the University of Fort Hare, where he studied Bantu administration and Roman-Dutch and criminal law. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1949 while at the university.
On July 2 1952 he married his late wife Irene Mzila, a nurse at St Faith’s in Durban. The couple had three sons and four daughters. The following year, as the first son, he became inkosi of the Buthelezi clan.
He became the traditional prime minister of the Zulu monarch and nation in 1968, serving King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe kaSolomon and late king Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu for more than 50 years. He was instrumental in the ascension to the throne of King Zwelithini’s heir, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.
In 1972 Buthelezi became the chief executive councillor of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly and in March 1975 established Inkatha Yenkululeko yeSizwe (the IFP).
During negotiations for democracy, Buthelezi represented the IFP, but in the run-up to the 1994 elections he withdrew therefrom as political violence erupted between IFP and ANC supporters.
Just before the elections, however, he made a last-minute dash to include his party on the ballot papers.
In 1994 his party entered the government of National Unity and he served as minister of home affairs until 2004 in late former president Nelson Mandela’s cabinet.
In 2019, after 44 years at the helm, the IFP announced that prince Buthelezi would step down from active politics and hand over the baton to Velenkosini Hlabisa.
Sources have it that Prince Buthelezi recently publicly clashed with King kaZwelithini over the running of the Ingonyama Trust. The traditional prime minister disagreed with the king’s decision to appoint inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela as the chairperson of its board. Buthelezi held several meetings with izinduna and members of the royal family to express his unhappiness with the king.
Prince Buthelezi has been an ally and member of Aido Royal Community. AIDO Network is saddened by the passing of a remarkable leader such as himself!