South Africans praise Zulu Chief Buthelezi as he is laid to rest

South Africans praise Zulu Chief Buthelezi as he is laid to rest

Thousands of mourners converged in the town of Ulundi in South Africa for the burial ceremony of the veteran politician and Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

This was after the government accorded Buthelezi a state funeral in honour of his position as a Zulu leader as well as his participation in the fight against white-minority rule.

Mourners who turned up in large numbers for his send-off noted that he deserved the state funeral and other accolades being showered on him.

Thousands of citizens were seen singing praises for the Zulu leader along the streets leading to the Kwa-Phindangene Palace in Ulundi on Saturday.

Some of the mourners were singing Zulu regiments clad in traditional attire, portraying the late Buthelezi as a man of peace.

Prof Kealeboga Maphunye, head of African politics at the University of South Africa, acknowledges Buthelezi was a respected traditional leader.

Maphunye explained that Buthelezi made a contribution in ensuring that the dignity of black people, particularly Zulus, was respected during the apartheid regime.

“We cannot forget that Buthelezi’s supporters were involved in acts that undermined his legacy,” Prof Maphunye told the BBC.

At the same time, Buthelezi’s son Prince Zuzifa dismissed critics of his father, insisting that he was not involved in planning any violence in the country.

“The IFP shares our pain in seeing long-discredited propaganda revived by a few individuals who have no sense of humanity but we will not be drawn into their spiral of hatred,” said Prince Zuzifa.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder and traditional Zulu prime minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, died on September 9 at the age of 95 years.

His death was officially announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa who eulogized the late Buthelezi as an outstanding leader in politics and culture.

He was born in the Zulu royal family and he remained their traditional prime minister until his death.

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