What are the facts about Mangosuthu Buthelezi? Prince Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi (27 August 1928 – 9 September 2023) was a South African politician and Zulu prince who was the oldest Member of Parliament in his country at the time of his death in 2023 and who served as the traditional prime minister to the Zulu royal family since 1954 until his death in September 2023. He was appointed to this prime minister post by current King Misuzulu’s grand-father King Bhekuzulu, a son of King Solomon, who was a brother to Buthelezi’s mother Princess Magogo. He was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan during apartheid and founded the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975, leading it until August 2019 and became its President Emeritus soon after that. He also served as Minister of Home Affairs from 1994 to 2004. Buthelezi was one of the most prominent black politicians of the apartheid era and his legacy in that period remains controversial. He was the sole political leader of the KwaZulu government, entering when it was still the native reserve of Zululand in 1970 and remaining in office until it was abolished in 1994. Critics described his administration as a de facto one-party state, intolerant of political opposition and dominated by Inkatha (now the IFP), Buthelezi’s political movement. In parallel to his mainstream political career, Buthelezi held the Inkosi of the Buthelezi clan and was traditional prime minister to three successive Zulu kings, beginning with King Cyprian Bhekuzulu in 1954. He was himself born into the Zulu royal family; his maternal great-grandfather was King Cetshwayo kaMpande, whom he played in the 1964 film Zulu. While leader of KwaZulu, Buthelezi both strengthened and appropriated the public profile of the monarchy, reviving it as a symbol of Zulu nationalism. Bolstered by royal support, state resources, and Buthelezi’s personal popularity, Inkatha became one of the largest political organisations in the country. During the same period, Buthelezi publicly opposed apartheid and often took a patently obstructive stance toward the apartheid government. He lobbied consistently for the release of Nelson Mandela and staunchly refused to accept the nominal independence which the government offered to KwaZulu, correctly judging that it was a superficial independence. However, Buthelezi was derided in some quarters for participating in the bantustan system, a central pillar of apartheid, and for his moderate stance on such issues as free markets, armed struggle, and international sanctions. He became a bête noire of young activists in the Black Consciousness movement and was repudiated by many in the African National Congress (ANC). A former ANC Youth League member, Buthelezi had aligned himself and Inkatha with the ANC in the 1970s, but in the 1980s their relationship became increasingly acrimonious. It emerged in the 1990s that Buthelezi had accepted money and military assistance from the apartheid regime for Inkatha, which stoked the political violence in KwaZulu and Natal in the 1980s and 1990s. Buthelezi also played a complicated role during the negotiations to end apartheid, for which he helped set the framework as early as 1974 with the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith. During the Congress for a Democratic South Africa, the IFP under Buthelezi lobbied for a federal system in South Africa with strong guarantees for regional autonomy and the status of Zulu traditional leaders. This proposal did not take hold and Buthelezi became aggrieved by what he perceived as the growing marginalisation both of the IFP and of himself personally, as negotiations were increasingly dominated by the ANC and the white National Party government. He established the Concerned South Africans Group with other conservatives, withdrew from the negotiations, and launched a boycott of the 1994 general election, South Africa’s first under universal suffrage. However, despite fears that Buthelezi would upend the peaceful transition entirely, Buthelezi and the IFP not only participated in the election but also joined the Government of National Unity formed afterwards by newly elected President Mandela. Buthelezi served as Minister of Home Affairs under Mandela and under his successor, Thabo Mbeki, despite near-continuous tensions between the IFP and and governing ANC. . Buthelezi is from a Royal Background Buthelezi was born from a royal background. His father was Chief of the Zulu known as Mathole Buthelezi. His mother, Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu was from a royal family. She was the sister of King Solomon kaDinuzulu. Her father was King Dinuzulu. . Buthelezi had the Best Education but was Expelled from the University Coming from a royal background meant that Buthelezi was to get the best education. He studied at Impumalanga Primary school from 1933 to 1943. Buthelezi then, later on, joined Adams College from 1944 to 1947. After college, Buthelezi joined the University of Fort Hare where he studied from 1948 to 1950. While at the University of Fort Hare, Buthelezi joined the African National Congress Youth League where he met Robert Mugabe and Robert Sobukwe. However, he never finished this University as he was expelled due to student riots. He, later on, joined the University of Natal where he completed his degree. . Buthelezi was Crucial for Setting up Teacher Training and Nursing Colleges In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Buthelezi was crucial in the spearheading of major educational reforms in South Africa. Teaching training and nursing colleges were few across the country. Buthelezi became crucial in pushing hard and setting up several teacher training and nursing colleges. He also befriended Harry Oppenheimer and requested him to establish Mangosuthu Technikon in Umlazi, South of Durban. . Buthelezi was Crucial in Agreement for Racial Peace in South Africa During the tense periods of the apartheid regime, there were calls for racial peace across South Africa. Buthelezi was crucial in pushing and getting racial peace in South Africa. On the 4th of January 1974, Buthelezi met with Harry Schwarz who was the Transvaal leader of the United Party. The two leaders had an agreement and signed the Mahlabathini Declaration of Faith. The two lenders agreed on a plan for racial peace across South Africa. This plan was to be a blueprint for the South African government to bring racial peace across the country. Buthelezi and Harry managed to agree on involving the people to draw up constitutional proposals for changes. They also managed to bring up the idea of political changes that were non-violent.