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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor


Buthelezi celebrates his 94th birthday

The elderly statesman has served as traditional prime minister and Zulu Royal family advisor for seven decades.


IFP leader and founder Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi is celebrating his 94th birthday.

Buthelezi is the longest-serving traditional prime minister of the Zulu monarch and kingdom.

Both the ANC and his own party have wished the elder statesman well as he enters his 94th year.

“Prince Buthelezi has dedicated his life to servant, moral and ethical leadership, and has given South Africa more than seven decades of public service,” the IFP said in a statement.

“We also wish to applaud him for the work he continues to do in service of the Zulu nation, as Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Nation and Monarch.”

Traditional Prime Minister and royal advisor

Most notably, Buthelezi has played the role of advisor and mentor to His Majesty, King Misuzulu, since the passing of the late amaZulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini.

The traditional prime minister has served as the face of all communications from the royal palace, most notably during the violent unrest that took place in KZN in July last year.

Buthelezi’s well-practised hand steered the then-young prince and ordered those involved in the violence to stop.

At a time when KZN most needed leadership, it was the then 93-year-old who stepped up and called for unity amid racial tensions.

Buthelezi, the leader who stepped up during KZN’s recent darkest moments

In those televised moments, South Africa witnessed how Buthelezi steered a young, seemingly shy king-in-waiting on how to lead a nation gone awry.

That moment is of particular significance when we consider that the man whose arrest (Jacob Zuma) sparked the racially-charged violence and looting orgy was silent in face of anarchy.

“Prince Buthelezi has dedicated his life to servant, moral and ethical leadership, and has given South Africa more than seven decades of public service.”

We are grateful for the invaluable role he continues to play as an elder statesman and voice of reason in South Africa’s body politic, which is fraught with many deep and debilitating challenges,” said the IFP.

The ANC has also wished the 94-year-old well.

“On this important day, our message as the new leadership of the ANC is that may he continue to plough the spirit of hope and love in our hearts,” said the party in a statement.

“We thank God for keeping him this far so that we can continue to harvest from this great leader of our people across political affiliations.”

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube also wished him well.

“On this special day in his life, we wish the Prince of KwaPhindangene, good health and long life.”

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