The distinguished Oppenheimer family is set to join other notable attendees in Ulundi this Saturday to commemorate the life and legacy of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Prince Ntuthukoyezwe, the son of the late prince, said at Thursday’s memorial service at the Mangosuthu University of Technology, “The Oppenheimer family, instrumental in the foundation of this university, will be present in Ulundi to bid my father farewell.”
The Oppenheimers and Buthelezi share a longstanding bond, rooted in the 1970s by billionaire Harry Oppenheimer.
In a generous gesture in 1978, Oppenheimer contributed R5 million to aid Buthelezi in the establishment of the Mangosuthu University of Technology.
This offer was given during a University of Cape Town graduation dinner where Buthelezi was handed an honorary doctorate.
Fast forward to 2019, the Oppenheimer family initiated a Trust celebrating both Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Harry Oppenheimer.
Speaking at the launch, Buthelezi acknowledged the pivotal role played by the Chairman’s Fund of Anglo American and De Beers through a R5 million grant.
This led to the inception of the Mangosuthu Technikon, a moniker proposed by Dr Oscar Dhlomo, then Education Minister of the KwaZulu Government.
Under the leadership of the late Professor Mseshi Ndlovu, the institution evolved from a technikon to the present-day University of Technology.
From a modest start with 15 students, the university now boasts over 40,000 proud graduates.
The government has designated Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s final rites as a State Funeral Category 1, reserved for luminaries of unparalleled stature.
The ceremonial proceedings will integrate military honours, supervised by Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, who have already liaised with the Buthelezi family regarding funeral preparations.