Mourners have described the late Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader and Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, as a brave leader who stood up for what he believed in.
This as the funeral service for Buthelezi, who passed away on 9 September 2023, at the age of 95, is currently underway at the Prince Mangosuthu Stadium in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal.
In a moving tribute, daughter of the late Prince, Princess Phumzile Buthelezi said, she never thought that she would one day bury the man she honoured and looked up to.
“I don’t think I will ever come across a kind man as my father. He taught us to love unconditionally.
“He taught us to be humble, and that humility is a sign of greatness. I hope that we as his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, will take away some of these good qualities that he instilled upon us,” she said on Saturday.
Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi said his father was the anchor of the family.
“It is difficult to express the depth of our pain. He was the anchor of our family [and] a giant amongst men. Our father was first and foremost a Christian [and] second, he was a husband father and thirdly, a patriot of this nation and beyond,” Buthelezi said.
He added that his father leaves behind a legacy of service to the Zulu nation and South Africa.
Meanwhile, IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa said there’s tremendous pain following the loss of a “father, master, hero, mentor, our leader, and giant of Africa.”
Hlabisa said Buthelezi was the IFP’s “greatest treasure.”
“His integrity and immovable principles blessed us with a sense of stability. We always knew he would do the right thing and trusted his judgement, and it never failed.
“Buthelezi was able to look into the soul of ordinary people, he treated us as the leaders he believed we could be. [He] walked with us until we became those leaders. He showed us how to empower the vulnerable, he honoured women, and he believed in inclusive participation.”
Buthelezi founded the IFP in 1975.
In his address to mourners the former President of Nigeria, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo described Buthelezi as a hero and conqueror, who worked for the dignity of people.
“We are here to celebrate a life dedicated to making other peoples’ lives better. The death of Buthelezi is a great loss for the whole of Africa,” Obasanjo said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the funeral.
President Ramaphosa has honoured Buthelezi by declaring his funeral a Special Official funeral category 1. The President is also expected to deliver the eulogy at the funeral.
Buthelezi served as South Africa’s first Home Affairs Minister.