Anti-Apartheid Hero, Mangosuthu Buthelezi of KwaZulu, South Africa, Passes On At 95

The late fiery Zulu chief, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and founder of South Africa's Inkatha Freedom Party

Another South Africa’s anti-Apartheid hero, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has died this Saturday morning, 9 September, at the age of 95.

In recent weeks he had been hospitalized for back pain and just celebrated his 95th birthday two weeks ago.

Buthelezi was the feared and revered leader for over 40 years of South Africa’s deadly group Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) which although variously clashed with African National Congress (ANC), fought the South African Apartheid system.

Breaking the news this morning, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi … Traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch and nation, and the founder and president emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party.” 

Prince Buthelezi, who served as democratic South Africa’s first minister of home affairs, passed away in the early hours, just two weeks after celebrating his 95th birthday.”

Mr Ramaphosa added: “Buthelezi has been an outstanding leader in our nation’s political and cultural life, including the ebbs and flows of our liberation struggle, the transition which secured our freedom in 1994 and our democratic dispensation.”

Buthelezi was born into the royal family of South Africa’s largest ethnic group – the Zulus – known historically as a warrior tribe. His mother was Princess Magogo kaDinzulu, the sister of the Zulu king. Chief Buthelezi played the role of his great-grandfather, the Zulu King Cetshwayo, in the 1964 film “Zulu“.

He was later to become prime minister of KwaZulu, the Zulu homeland.

Clashes between his IFP and ANC supporters in the 1980s and 1990s threatened black unity in confronting the Apartheid regime and led to thousands of casualties on both sides before a truce was reached.

Many believed he was a traitor holding forth for the Apartheid government but he consistently denied it insisting he was ideologically opposed to the militant style of ANC’s struggle and their campaign for international sanctions against South Africa which he said hurt the black masses more than it did the white minority. 

He was later to be reabsorbed into the ANC.

Thin, slender, with rectangular glasses on his nose, Buthelezi often covered himself in leopard skins, a Zulu tradition, to lead Inkatha parades in his strongholds in Johannesburg and Durban.

He aged with his gutsy demeanour until his last days, fiercely protecting the Zulu monarchy and the homeland.

The government is yet to roll out a funeral plan.

Do you like this story? Please Like 👍, Comment, Share & Follow us on our social media handles.

Leave a Reply