Durban — Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s son, Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi, has vowed to defend and preserve his late father’s legacy even if it means making him unpopular.
During his father’s funeral service in Ulundi, north of KwaZulu-Natal, Prince Zuzifa said his father was not a coward, therefore it was important for him and everyone who believed in his convictions to defend his legacy.
“I call on everyone who believed in his conviction to propagate what he stood for, to stand with me in fighting for our father’s legacy, even if this will make us unpopular,” he said.
Buthelezi became unpopular with the ANC after rejecting the armed Struggle and economic sanctions on apartheid South Africa, but stood by his convictions until his death.
Buthelezi died aged 95 in the early hours of September 9 at his KwaPhindangene Royal home in Mahlabathini.
His funeral service took place at the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Stadium in Ulundi on Saturday.
Buthelezi was the founder of the IFP, a Zulu prince who served as the traditional prime minister to the Zulu royal family from 1954 until his death.
His wife, Princess Irene MaMzila Buthelezi, died in 2019. He is survived by three children and grandchildren.
The 15 000-capacity stadium was packed, with some having to view proceedings on TV screens outside the stadium.
Thousands of Zulu Amabutho sang songs and hymns praising their chief “who had kept the Zulu nation together like glue for decades”.
President Cyril Ramaphosa honoured Buthelezi with a special official Category 1 funeral, accorded to persons of extraordinary credentials, which entailed elements of military honours.
Delivering his eulogy, Ramaphosa said Buthelezi loved his country and was passionate about the institution of traditional leadership, both for women and rural communities.
“Shenge fought for the preservation of not only Zulu custom and culture, but all indigenous cultures in South Africa. He respected all kingships and traditional leaders. UMntwana waKwaPhindangene loved music. Through it, he told stories that have been passed on through generations. He was a voice for the marginalised and the vulnerable.”
He said Buthelezi abhorred violence against women and children and used his prominent position to speak out against men who perpetrated heinous crimes against women and children. He said Buthelezi was willing to collaborate across the political divide.
“At a political level, we did not always agree. We often found ourselves on opposing sides of one or another issue. He never shied away from a harsh word, a criticism or from voicing his dissent. I have always admired his commitment to finding common ground among political leaders and parties, particularly between the IFP and the ANC.”
Ramaphosa said Buthelezi was always there, “when we needed to consult with traditional leaders, encouraging people to go and vote in elections and supporting the national effort during the dark days of Covid-19”.
“What Shenge’s life has taught us is that our differences must never stand in the way of our nationality and our nationalism.
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