People gather for the funeral of South Africa’s “Zulu Prince Buthelezi”
People gather for the funeral of South Africa’s “Zulu Prince Buthelezi”: Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s official burial drew thousands of mourners on Saturday in eastern South Africa.
The 95-year-old veteran of South African politics, a Zulu prince, and a contentious figure during the apartheid period passed away last week.
Before the event began, mourners gathered in a stadium in the town of Ulundi, where they danced, chanted, and applauded. Some of the mourners were dressed in traditional Zulu attire made of leopard and other animal skins, and they were holding shields fashioned from cow hides.
Six impalas and two giraffes had reportedly been killed and skinned as part of the ceremonial preparations, according to South African media.
After making amends with his ruling African National Congress (ANC) rival, Buthelezi, the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), served two terms as Minister of Home Affairs in the post-apartheid government. In July, he had back pain treated, but when it did not go away, he was readmitted to the hospital.
When he established the IFP in 1975, it quickly rose to prominence in the province that is now KwaZulu-Natal.
Like the ANC, he disapproved of white minority rule for relegating Black South Africans, including Zulus, to smaller “homelands.”
However, in the 1980s and 1990s, his Zulu nationalist organization was embroiled in violent clashes with the ANC. Leaders of the ANC, which was mostly made up of people from the rival Xhosa nation, believed that Buthelezi’s intermittent readiness to cooperate with the apartheid government represented a betrayal of all Black South Africans.
When Buthelezi chose to run in the 1994 election—the country’s first national vote after the end of white minority rule and the election that saw Nelson Mandela take office—the two parties reconciled.
By then, violence between Buthelezi and the ANC’s followers had claimed the lives of almost 20,000 people, forcing hundreds of thousands more to flee their homes. As a consequence, detractors labeled Buthelezi a warlord. In 2019, he resigned as the head of the IFP.
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