Durban — Thulasizwe Buthelezi might, unlike his late predecessor Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, not be from the Zulu royal family’s bloodline, but is proud to be a descendant of a great warrior who fought the historical battle of Isandlwana, which put the mighty British army to shame.
The Zululand District Municipality mayor was announced by King Misuzulu as Inkosi Buthelezi’s successor during the recent 145th commemoration of the 1879 Battle of iSandlwana at Nquthu, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The king also announced Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, former chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders, as Buthelezi’s deputy.
At the press briefing held in Durban on Monday following the appointments, Buthelezi said his family lineage was linked to the great warriors of the Zulu battles.
“My great, great grandfather Mswazi kaMatotwana fought at the battle of Isandlwana and distinguished himself under the Ingobamakhosi regiment.
“My father, Bishop Lawrence Buthelezi was Spiritual Advisor to King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu during the erstwhile KwaZulu Government and served the King until he passed away,” Buthelezi told journalists.
The late Inkosi Buthelezi was the son of Princess Magogo Constance Zulu who was King Dinuzulu’s daughter and King Solomon’s sister.
In making the appointment, the king went against expectations that he was to choose someone with royal blood to replace Inkosi Buthelezi as his prime minister. Buthelezi said his forebears left their land to escape King Shaka who was all out fighting battles to unite various clans to form the nation.
“My forebears left Mcakwini (present day Babanango) when King Shaka defeated Phungashe in battle,” said Buthelezi.
Buthelezi gave historical details about his family background “to show that my ties to the royal house do not start today”.
“The Buthelezis have had a long and enduring relationship with the royal family dating back to the founder of the Zulu nation King Shaka kaSenzangakhona.
“I am the product and protégé of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi – who served as Prime Minister for 69 years under three Zulu kings,” he said.
Paying tribute to his predecessor, Buthelezi described Buthelezi senior as a traditional leader who had a vision for the Zulu nation anchored on the protection of its heritage, land and culture.
“As Prime Minister to the Monarch and Zulu nation, I am the custodian of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s legacy of African indigenous knowledge and leadership systems.
“My task is to complete the mission to which Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi dedicated his whole life and political career – the recognition of the Zulu Kingdom and the restoration of the powers, roles and functions of traditional leaders in the whole of South Africa – and for these issues to be enshrined in the Constitution,” he said.
He said while King Cetshwayo through the battle of iSandlwana laid the foundation for the struggle against colonialism, which King Dinuzulu sustained, leading to his imprisonment, Inkosi Buthelezi “kept the torch of liberation burning inside the country when other leaders were in exile and on Robben Island.”
“His Majesty has therefore declared that a Special Memorial Service for Amakhosi and Amabutho in honour of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi will take place in May at Nongoma on a date to be endorsed by the family of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. This event will honour the life of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi as the longest-serving Prime Minister in Zulu history and as Commander in Chief of Amabutho,” he said.
Buthelezi said the king has instructed that among his duties would be to manage the communication of the king’s office. He said this was meant to circumvent the abuse and misappropriation of the logo, Royal Crest and even the signature of the King by unscrupulous individuals.
“I am here to serve and to execute the wishes of the king and in this position, which I occupy as the traditional prime minister, my primary aim is to be the senior advisor to his majesty and the principal spokesperson to his majesty.
“Mine is to obey the instructions of the king and to do what I am told to do, to convey the wishes of his majesty,” he said.
He said the appointment would usher in a new era of reconciliation, unity and stability in the royal family and the Zulu nation at large.
Buthelezi rejected claims that he might use his new position to advance the interest of the IFP, his political party