The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal has paid tribute to “distinguished statesman” and “fountain of wisdom”, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The ANC in KZN has added to the many voices that have since paid tribute to the 95-year-old since news of his passing on Saturday morning.
“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Buthelezi family, the entire Buthelezi Clan and to the Inkatha Freedom Party. The ANC as a caring organisation, shares your pain and anguish during this difficult period.
“While we appreciated the advancement in his age and the condition of his health, we were still hopeful that he was going to recover and continue to fulfil his important roles in society,” said ANC Provincial Secretary, Bheki Mtolo.
The provincial arm of the party described Buthelezi as a distinguished statesman and a fountain of wisdom, “and more importantly – he was a committed Zulu Traditional Prime Minister until his last days”.
“His untimely death is a depletion of matured leadership that shaped KwaZulu-Natal and the country as a whole. We are calling upon leaders of all faiths to join hands and pray for his family.
“Shenge’s resilience throughout his stay in hospital demonstrated his perseverance in the face of adversity - a remarkable trait of his extraordinary life.
“As the ANC we acknowledge the fact that Shenge was deeply loved by ordinary members of society – the young and old. It is for this reason we would understand why millions of people will appear unwilling to let him go,” Mtolo said.
Quoting former president Nelson Mandela, the KZN ANC said, “A man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”
“Indeed Shenge’s flame is shining in KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country. It is this shining flame that will inspire multitudes of people to stand together in salute of a man who strode with grace among the great statesmen,” the ANC KZN said.
The party said it has already been mandated to be closer to the family and the leadership of the IFP, to assist where possible during the next few days of mourning until Shenge is laid to rest.
Officials of the ANC in the province, led by the chairperson, plan to visit the family.
“Also, we are already engaging with Luthuli House to ensure that Buthelezi is given the greatest honour befitting such a towering giant from the heartbeat of the Zulu Nation.
“On behalf of the ANC structures in KwaZulu-Natal, we respectfully bow our heads in honour of Sokwalisa,” the party said.