Veteran South African politician, Zulu leader Prince Buthelezi dead at 95

Veteran South African politician, Zulu leader Prince Buthelezi dead at 95

Main opposition Democratic Alliance describes Buthelezi as great leader, giant on South Africa’s political landscape

By Hassan Isilow

Prominent South African politician and traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has died, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Saturday. He was 95.

“Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been an outstanding leader in the political and cultural life of our nation, including the ebbs and flows of our liberation struggle, the transition which secured our freedom in 1994 and our democratic dispensation,” he said in a statement.

Ramaphosa said he was deeply saddened to announce the death of Buthelezi, a formidable leader who has played a significant role in South Africa’s history for seven decades.

Buthelezi was also a prince, Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation and founder and president emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

He founded the IFP in 1975 during apartheid rule in South Africa after becoming disillusioned with the current ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

Buthelezi’s party became popular in the coastal Kwazulu-Natal region and was involved in bloody conflicts with the ANC in the 1980s and 1990s.

The outspoken politician was appointed the first minister of Home Affairs of democratic South Africa in 1994 under President Nelson Mandela. He served two terms in the Cabinet after making peace with the ANC.

He died early Saturday, two weeks after he celebrated his birthday.

-A giant on South Africa’s political landscape

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), described Buthelezi as a great leader and a founding father of the nation.

“Prince Buthelezi was a giant on South Africa’s political landscape. He will live forever in our hearts and minds as a true servant leader who dedicated his life to improving the lives of others and fighting for freedom,” it said in a statement.

The DA said as South Africans mourn Buthelezi’s loss, they must celebrate a life well lived in service of his Zulu Nation and the country.

“Let us honour this great man in the very best way we can, and in the way he would have wanted us to, by uniting to build the peaceful, prosperous country he dreamed of,” it said.

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