The Sunday News
SOUTH Africa’s Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founding president Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi (pictured) was laid to rest at a regional stadium named after him in uLundi, KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.
Buthelezi (95), died after a sudden illness a week ago. More than 20 000 people gathered at the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi regional stadium where leaders shared glowing tributes about the deceased.
The stadium was filled with men, women and children in IFP colours – white, red and yellow and a touch of green. All the speakers, including the family, touched on Buthelezi’s unwavering faith
President Ramaphosa hailed Buthelezi for his impact on South Africa’s modern history and championing the preservation “of all indigenous cultures”. President Ramaphosa mentioned the hit television series based on the Zulu nation’s history, Shaka iLembe, and said its producers had sought advice from Buthelezi about the show.
He also heaped praise on the Zulu traditional prime minister’s stance on HIV/Aids, having been one of the first leaders to announce that it had affected his children. He referenced Buthelezi’s love for Amabutho (Zulu regiments) and music. Earlier, Amabutho leaders prodded one another into singing chants and trotted up and down up in front of the main stage.
The coffin – draped in the South African flag – was mounted on the carriage as Amabutho chanted solemnly. Clergy leaders and Amabutho ushered the coffin under a marquee placed to the right of the stage.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who penned a long tribute and sent it to the family, said soon after the IFP’s creation Buthelezi was invited to Nigeria so Obesanjo could have a direct account of why the party was formed.
“What he said on that occasion still continues to ring in our minds. Today we have laying in front of us a victor… a hero and a conqueror in the fight against inhumanity against humans.”
Buthelezi’s son, Ntuthuko, said there was a “strange absence” in the homestead after his father’s passing. He described his father as a humorous man.
“I felt so emotional, I was almost reduced to tears seeing so many people [come to pay tribute],” Parliament Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said she paid her respects to the Buthelezi family. Hlabisa is filling big shoes. A giant tree has fallen and, therefore, this tree leaves a void and a crater where this great tree was firmly rooted,” Mapisa-Nqakula said. (source: www.news24.com/Sunday News Reporter)