Picture: Samkelo Mtshali

Durban - In a moving tribute to his mother, Queen of KwaPhindangene Indlunkulu Irene Thandekile MaMzila Buthelezi, Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi said it was painful to hear his parents pray that his life and that of his two sisters be spared so that they could bury them. 

Princess Irene, 89, died on Monday following a long illness and is being buried on Friday afternoon in Ulundi, north of KwaZulu-Natal.

Flanked by his sisters, Princess Phumzile Nokuphiwa and Princess Sibuyiselwe Angela, the prince delivered an emotional eulogy in which he said that for the better part of her life their mother spent more sleepless nights than peaceful ones because of threats to her husband and the Buthelezi family.

"Pain aside, our parents were true lovebirds. Our father was a hopeless romantic and would buy her flowers every single day for 67 years without fail.

"As her life ebbed away she didn't recognise anyone, but she could recognise Shenge. She was his rock. The pillar has fallen," Prince Buthelezi said.

Duduzile Mzila, a niece of the late princess, said that even in the twilight of her life she still melted when talking about her husband Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The funeral was attended by dignitaries such as President Cyril Ramaphosa, Patrice Motsepe, Jeff Radebe, Zweli Mkhize, Nathi Mthethwa, Naledi Pandor, Zwelivelile Mandela, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and Brigalia Bam.

Deputy leader of the Buthelezi traditional council and clan‚ Phumempini Mtshali, says that Princess Irene played a huge role in Prince Buthelezi's work.

"Buthelezi restored the dignity of the Zulu nation and formed the IFP, a force of a party that irked the ire of western governments with Indlunkulu by his side," Mtshali said.

Video: Samkelo Mtshali

Political Bureau