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Distinguished Zulu Leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Passes Away at 95

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

South Africa remembers one of its influential figures, Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who died recently at the age of 95. His leadership and legacy carries immense significance in the nation’s political landscape, particularly during the apartheid era.

Buthelezi, deeply disappointed with the African National Congress (ANC), established the Zulu Inkatha party during the racially tormented apartheid era. The early 1990s witnessed fatal clashes between the ANC and Inkatha party’s supporters, culminating in thousands of casualties.

Despite earlier friction, Buthelezi reconciled with the ANC and served as Minister of Home Affairs under the Nelson Mandela administration. Buthelezi was a crafty political figure with a controversial disposition, particularly for his stance against the ANC's armed resistance towards white-minority rule. He preferred a more moderate path while presiding over the Zulu homeland.

His politics also displayed opposition to international sanctions targetting South Africa, believing they would predominantly harm the country's black majority. Apart from his political ambition, Buthelezi was designated as the hereditary chief of Zulus, South Africa's largest ethnic group.

Notably, as the Prime Minister of KwaZulu, the Zulu homeland, he founded the Inkatha Freedom Party in 1975, serving dual functions as a political and cultural Zulu movement. After leading this party for an impressive 44 years, he handed over the reins in 2019.

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