South Africa gathered today to bid a final farewell to one of its most respected leaders, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a heartfelt eulogy at the funeral service, paying tribute to the legacy of Prince Buthelezi, the Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Nation and Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
In his address, President Ramaphosa began by acknowledging the significance of this momentous occasion, referring to the passing of Prince Buthelezi as the fall of a mighty tree. He emphasized that the mourning extended far beyond the Buthelezi family and the Inkatha Freedom Party, resonating with many who admired and respected the late leader.
Prince Buthelezi’s life spanned much of South Africa’s modern history, and President Ramaphosa praised his enduring commitment to a shared, common future. The President quoted Prince Buthelezi’s words, “We have our own history, our own language, our own culture. But our destiny is also tied up with the destinies of other people. History has made us all South Africans,” underscoring his dedication to unity in diversity.
President Ramaphosa conveyed the heartfelt condolences of the government and the people of South Africa to the Royal Household, the Buthelezi family, and the nation as a whole. He also acknowledged Prince Buthelezi’s leadership and pride in founding and guiding the Inkatha Freedom Party until 2019.
The President highlighted Prince Buthelezi’s multifaceted contributions to South African culture, including his involvement in the production of the television series “Shaka iLembe,” which depicted the history of King Shaka and the Zulu Kingdom. He also mentioned Prince Buthelezi’s love for music, emphasizing its role in passing down stories through generations.
President Ramaphosa commended Prince Buthelezi’s unwavering advocacy for the marginalized and vulnerable, particularly his courageous stance on International Aids Day in 2004 when he disclosed the impact of HIV/Aids within his own family. This act helped break the stigma surrounding the disease and showcased his belief in the resilience of the human spirit.
Despite occasional political differences, President Ramaphosa praised Prince Buthelezi’s willingness to collaborate across political divides. He recalled their shared moments during the turbulent transition period to democracy and the importance of working together for the common good.
Reflecting on Prince Buthelezi’s role in averting catastrophe on the eve of South Africa’s first all-race elections, President Ramaphosa noted that his decision for the Inkatha Freedom Party to participate was pivotal to preventing turmoil and ensuring a peaceful transition to democracy.
The President emphasized Prince Buthelezi’s commitment to reconciliation, peace, and progress for South Africa, resonating with the vision of Nelson Mandela. He urged political parties to put aside differences for the sake of national unity and progress.
President Ramaphosa acknowledged Prince Buthelezi’s service as a member of parliament in the democratic dispensation and his dedication to upholding democratic values and constitutional principles. He paid tribute to Prince Buthelezi’s eloquence and the respect he commanded in parliament.
The President concluded by stressing that South Africa’s future rests on unity, shared prosperity, justice, and a better life for all. He urged political parties to follow the example of great leaders who prioritized the common good over political rivalries.
As the nation bids farewell to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, his enduring legacy of reconciliation, peace, and unity remains a beacon of hope for a better South Africa.
Media inquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President, 082 835 6315
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA