Following the death of 95-year-old Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, mourners gathered to pay their respects at his family’s household while his church left two seats vacant for the IFP founder and his late wife.
The Sunday service at the Anglican Church Mission at eNkonjeni was dedicated to one of the church’s most fervent worshippers, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who died in the early hours of Saturday, 9 August. He was 95 years old.
Buthelezi was one of South Africa’s political icons, the longest-serving member of the National Assembly, the founder and emeritus president of the IFP and the prime minister of the Zulu nation.
For the first time since the church’s inception, two seats were vacant at Sunday’s service.
These are the seats where the late Prince Buthelezi and his wife of 67 years, Irene Thandekile Buthelezi (née Mzila), sat every Sunday. When Irene died in March 2019, Prince Buthelezi continued to occupy his half of the two seats and continued to perform some ceremonies, including providing for the cow to be slaughtered and feasted upon every New Year’s Day.
Congregant Mary Shandu (81) said she knew Buthelezi in the 1950s when they still worshipped in the old church building, which is surrounded by graves of church members.
“I remember that even in the old church, his and his wife’s seats were placed in such a way to face the other congregants because they came…