Zuma made a grand entrance with his bodyguards and as he walked in, members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) sitting in the stadium stands erupted in joy.
Zuma arrived just before 10am and was followed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is set to deliver the eulogy for the late Zulu nation’s traditional prime minister who passed away on September 9.
UPDATE: The stadium erupts again as the programme director Thulasizwe Buthelezi introduces former President Jacob Zuma at the funeral of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Ulundi. Zuma's applause was similar to the one accorded to IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 16, 2023
When Zuma walked in, he waved and smiled, sending the stands into a wild frenzy.
The jubilant welcome for Zuma was similar to that of IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa who was ushered into the packed stadium that is under heavy security.
NEWS: Prince Philemon of KwaFihlinqindi has explained how Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi became the prime minister of the Zulu monarch. He told mourners attending the funeral of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Ulundi that the royal family wanted a Buthelezi because of their wit.— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 16, 2023
Upon his arrival, Zuma took his seat as Ramaphosa made his rounds greeting dignitaries. He also later greeted Zuma and they hugged.
#MangosuthuButhelezi - Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi's son, Prince Zuzifa, says they would honour his late father by defending his rich legacy, even if it means they become unpopular. He said they would do so because their father was not a coward and they have to emulate him. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 16, 2023
Ramaphosa also went on to greet the delegation of leaders from the Economic Freedom Fighters which was led by Leader Julius Malema.
Meanwhile, the official funeral was delayed a bit as hostels dwellers and other IFP supporters made their entrance, doing Zulu traditional dances and chanting traditional war songs.
By 11am, the stadium was already full and more people were still trying to push their way into the stadium.
Inside the stadium, the programme director, Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi, tried to get people to take their seats so that the programme would start.
WATCH: The SANDF giving Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi the national gun salute before his coffin is lowered. Buthelezi is has been buried in his family's cemetery at KwaPhindangene in Ulundi. Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics pic.twitter.com/vzjxCnOII0— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 16, 2023
His calls fell on deaf ears as jubilant singing continued.
According to the official programme, Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at around 1pm, however this could be much later on if the delays persist.
#MangosuthuButhelezi - IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa says the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was always concerned about the loss of life during the years of political violence and the scars that were left behind, hence he wanted the IFP and the ANC to reconcile. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 16, 2023
*This is a developing story and more details on the funeral will be published.