South Africa witnessed its past and present ANC presidents, with the exception of Nelson Mandela, gather in uLundi to pay their last respects to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
This unity, rare since the funeral of Nelson Mandela, is a symbol of Buthelezi’s influence in South African politics.
As remarked in a 1991 New York Times article about Buthelezi, “He has been written off so many times that he ought to be a black hole… Whether you like the guy or not, he’s got the ability to survive in an incredibly tough marketplace.”
uLundi, historically marred by political violence, transformed into a place of harmony, accommodating heavyweight politicians and billionaires.
Former Presidents Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki, known enemies since the ANC elective conference in 2007, were seen embracing and sharing a moment.
Similarly, EFF President Julius Malema and President Cyril Ramaphosa shared a light-hearted moment, much to the surprise of many.
However, not all interactions were amicable. Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and COPE leader Mosioua Lekota noticeably avoided interactions with Jacob Zuma.
The funeral also saw the gathering of leaders known to have distinct differences. Elita De Klerk, wife of the late President FW De Klerk, was present alongside EFF leaders, who had opposed her late husband.
President Cyril Ramaphosa praised Buthelezi, emphasising the late leader’s willingness to work across the political spectrum. “We did not always agree…He never shied away from a harsh word, a criticism or from voicing his dissent,” remarked Ramaphosa.
The ceremony witnessed attendance from prominent families like the Mandelas, Motsepes, Oppenheimers, and Luthulis.
Buthelezi’s final resting place is at his home in kwaPhindangene, Nkonjeni, marking the end of an era.
Pictured above: A historic reunion of South Africa’s past and present Presidents at Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Funeral
Image source: Presidency