South Africa: Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi Dies

(FILES) Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, South Africa's fourth largest opposition political party, arrives to address thousands of suporters at the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) elections manifesto launch at The Chatsworth Stadium, outside the city of Durban on March 10, 2019. - Mangosuthu Buthelezi, historic leader of the Inkhata Freedom Party, died on September 9, 2023 at the age of 95, the South African Presidency announced. (Photo by RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)

Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a prominent figure in South African politics and an outspoken Zulu chief, has passed away at the age of 95.

During the era of the racist apartheid regime, he established the Zulu Inkatha party, having become disenchanted with the African National Congress (ANC).

This period saw thousands lose their lives in clashes between supporters of these two parties in the early 1990s.

However, he was eventually reconciled with the ANC, and he served as Minister of Home Affairs during President Nelson Mandela’s administration.

Chief Buthelezi was a savvy yet controversial politician who differed with the ANC’s approach of armed resistance against white-minority rule. Instead, he pursued a moderate path while leading an ethnic-Zulu homeland.

He held opposing views on international sanctions against South Africa, believing that such measures would primarily harm the country’s black majority.

Chief Buthelezi also held the hereditary title of chief among the Zulus, South Africa’s largest ethnic group.

He served as the prime minister of KwaZulu, the Zulu homeland, and in 1975, he founded the Inkatha Freedom Party, which was both a Zulu political and cultural movement.

After leading the party for 44 years, he stepped down as its leader in 2019.