Cape Town 130115 Magesuthu Buthelezi buying flowers at the Flowers market on Adderly Street. Pic: Masixole feni , Repoter Xolani .

Johannesburg - IFP Leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi reiterated the importance of religious freedom in his message for Easter on Friday.

“I wonder, at times, if we in South Africa realise the precious treasure we have in freedom of religion,” the Inkatha Freedom Party head said.

Buthelezi said that while the struggle against apartheid, “did not require a long and painful struggle for religious freedom,” it nevertheless was one of the gains of democracy.

“It is now enshrined in our constitution that everyone may freely worship and exercise their faith, according to their own beliefs and conscience.”

The eighty-four-year-old also reflected on the impact of religion in his personal life, saying it had been a solid rock beneath his feet during “storms of political mayhem.

“I faced sustained character assassination and periodic attempts on my life. I stood at endless gravesides and said goodbye more times than I can remember. I grappled with discerning what was right, fair and just, in a complex environment that was often impossible to fully understand.”

He said his faith had prepared him for “a life that has held more challenges, more wonder, more blessing, more hardship, more sorrow and more fulfilment than I could ever have imagined.” - Sapa