Makgoba was addressing hundreds of dignitaries at the thanks-giving event in Durban which celebrated Buthelezi’s 90th birthday on Sunday.
Makgoba said the Angican Church had acknowledged the tension between Buthelezi and Tutu.
Addressing Buthelezi, Makgoba said: “And that at times you had become lonely as a Christian.”
He said Buthelezi had remained calm and tolerant to hostile treatment from Tutu.
“Even at the most difficult times in history, you have always been willing to welcome Archbishop Tutu to Ulundi, recognising him as your archbishop, sharing a meal with him and even sending a plane to bring him from Durban.
“When Archbishop Tutu asked you to meet president Mandela to talk peace you agreed without hesitation,” said Makgoba.
Makgoba also apologised to Buthelezi for the “shameful and negative role” that early missionaries played in trying to damage the “innocuous cultural practices” of the Zulu nation. The country should celebrate Buthelezi’s “great life” while the church should thank him for being a “faithful Anglican”, Makgoba said.
The event, at the Durban Exhibition Centre, was the culmination of two similar events - one, to be held in Ulundi on August 27 and open to the public, and another at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on August 31.
Buthelezi is expected to step down as the IFP leader when the party holds its elective conference later this year.
However, King Goodwill Zwelithini said despite his age, Buthelezi, who is the prime minister of the Zulu nation, would be given leadership responsibility within the nation for as long as he was still breathing.
“God kept you alive until this age because he wanted us to still draw wisdom and knowledge from you.
"You are one person who is blessed with life in years. Like an old wine, you have matured and have become a fountain of wisdom where everyone drinks. You have been like a baobab tree to the royal family, to the nation and to me as your king,” said the king.
Buthelezi’s son, Prince Ntuthukoyezwe Zuzika Buthelezi, said among important guests at the ICC event would be Britain’s Prince Charles.