Mangosuthu Buthelezi is one of the most popular Zulu leaders in South Africa. He is a political figure and a tribal leader who has served in different influential positions. Among his people, he has earned the title of Shenge, which is a name of praise in his community. He is best known across the world as the founder of Inkatha Freedom Party in South Africa.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi was born on the 27th of August 1928. At birth, he was given the name Gatsha Buthelezi. His place of birth is Mahlabathini, KwaZulu, South Africa. Buthelezi hails from the Zulu tribe and was born into the community's royal family. How old is Gatsha Buthelezi? Presently, Mangosuthu Buthelezi age is 91 years.
At birth, Mangosuthu was given the title of Prince of Kwaphindangene (Umntwana waKwaphindangene shenge). His mother, Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, was King Cetshwayo's granddaughter, and King Dinizulu's daughter. Who is the father of Mangosuthu Buthelezi? His father was Chief Mathole Buthelezi. According to Buthelezi history, Mangosuthu, the first-born son of Chief Mathole Buthelezi, was first in line to the community's chieftainship.
Between 1934 and 1943, he was went to Impumalanga Primary School in Mahashini, Nongoma. He later joined Adams College in Amanzimtoti where he studied from 1944 until 1947. Afterward, he enrolled at the University of Fort Hare. He was in this institution from 1948 until 1950.
During his time at the university, he became an active member of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL). He made friends with other influential people like the late Robert Sobukwe and Robert Mugabe. He was expelled from the University of Fort Hare after the boycotts by the students intensified. He completed his degree programme at the University of Natal.
Becoming the chief
According to Mangosuthu Buthelezi profile, he became the chief of the great Buthelezi tribe in 1953. He inherited the seat from his father, and he has held the position to date. That year, he earned the title of Prince of the Buthelezi tribe (Inkosi yeSizwe sakwaButhelezi). As a chief, he attracted the attention and respect of many people. Between 1963 and 1964, he advised the team that was creating the Battle of Rorke's Drift, which is a Zulu film. He also played the role of his great-grandfather, King Cetshwayo kaMpande, in the movie.
In 1970, the chief was appointed as the head of the KwaZulu Territorial Authority. In 1976, he became the chief minister of Bantustan of KwaZulu. When the Black Consciousness Movement emerged in the 1970s, he was accused of being a collaborator of the apartheid rule. He supported anti-communism. In 1993, the chief gave the longest-speech ever to the Natal parliament.
Inkatha Freedom Party
The chief founded the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975. At the time, he had received the blessing of the African National Congress (ANC). Later, the IFP leader detached from ANC and his relationship with the party quickly deteriorated. To date, he is still the president of the party.
In 1979, IFP which was then known as Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe, was completely detached from ANC. Mangosuthu's party did not agree with the military plans that ANC's Umkhonto we Sizwe had. A meeting to iron out the differences in opinions and preferences was held in London, but the two parties did not come to an agreement.
As a chief, Buthelezi openly opposed the plot to surrender the Ingwavuma region to Swaziland. He argued against the National Party Government and claimed that the leaders failed to consult with the black people as was required in the 1972 Black Constitution Act. The court ruled in his favour.
In his position as the Buthelezi chief, he made notable contributions towards the development of his region. He ensured that nursing and teacher training colleges were built in his homeland in the 1970s and 80s. Upon the chief's request, Harry Oppenheimer established Mangosuthu Technikon, Umalazi, Durban.
Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith
On the 4th of January 1974, the chief held a meeting with Harry Schwarz, who was the leader of the United Party in Transvaal. The two leaders signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith. The agreement was about the promotion and support of racial peace in the country. The treaty urged all leaders and people to develop proposals for a constitution that pushed for a Bill of Rights for every person in South Africa.
The two leaders supported non-violent means of bringing political change in the country. The Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith was recognised by other black and white leaders in the country. These included Hudson Ntsanwisi, Lucas Mangope, and Cedric Phatudi.
Working with the para-military unit
As a leader, the chief was accused of working closely with Magnus Malan. The two allegedly trained youths from Ulundi and other areas in KwaZulu to start a para-military unit. The chief feared that many lives and property were lost in the cataclysmic fights that began in 1984 until 1994.
The chief was accused of grossly violating human rights in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, but he sued the involved people before the report was published. The commission and Buthelezi later agreed on an out-of-court settlement.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mandela
In 1994, the chief planned to boycott the general elections but later agreed to participate in the voting process. On the 8th of April 1994, the late Nelson Mandela and fellow leader De Klerk tried to convince Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, the Zulu king, to stop depending on Chief Mangosuthu. They assured the king that he would get special status in the Zulu monarchy.
Henry Kissinger, the then US Secretary of State, together with Peter Carrington, the then UK Foreign Secretary, assisted the leaders to come to a compromise. After the intervention, the chief quit his boycotting plan. His decision came after he was guaranteed the status of Zulu king after the election.
In May 1994, Chief Mangosuthu was appointed the Minister of Home Affairs in the inaugural post-apartheid government in which Nelson Mandela was president. He held the ministerial position until 1999. In 1997, President Nelson Mandela named Mangosuthu Buthelezi an acting president during his absence from the country. The members of Senate laughed when Mandela made the announcement.
Declining the seat of deputy president
In 1999, IFP was invited by ANC to join the coalition government, but Chief Mangosuthu declined the offer. Instead, his party members sat in the side of the opposition. Before the 2004 general elections, the former president Thambo Mbeki refused to sign into law the push for stricter immigration rules that chief wanted. The chief, who was also a cabinet minister at the time, sued the president.
After the elections, Thambo Mbeki offered Chief Mangosuthu the seat of deputy president, but he declined. He was to take the position on a few conditions. One of them was relinquishing the province of KwaZulu-Natal, which was dominated by IFP.
Marriage and family
How many wives does Mangosuthu Buthelezi have? The chief has one wife, who died on the 25th of March 2019. Irene Audrey Thandekile Mzila was Mangosuthu Buthelezi wife. The couple got married on the 2nd of July 1952. In the union, they were blessed with five daughters and three sons.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi children
The eight children of the chief are:
- Princess Phumzile: She was born in 1953 and is the mother of Princes Nkosinathi Buthelezi and Bongimpumeleo Khumalo. Nkosinathi Buthelezi, who was one of Mangosuthu Buthelezi grandchildren, died in a horrific car accident in 2002.
- Prince Zuzifa: He was born in 1995 and now a father of two. His children are Prince Zakhithi Buthelezi and Princess Nokuthula Buthelezi.
- Princess Mandisi Sibukakonke: She was the mother of Prince Zamokuhle. The princess died of HIV/AIDS in August 2004.
- Princess Mabhuku Snikwakonke: She was born in 1957 and died in 1966.
- Princess Lethuxolo: The princess was born in 1959 and died on the 27th of July 2008. Is Toya Delazy related to Buthelezi? Yes, she is the Chief's granddaughter. Princess Latoya is a singer whose stage name is Toya Delazy.
- Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict: He was born in March 1961 and died in April 2004 of HIV/AIDS. He left behind three sons. The names of the princes are Sibonelo, Mongezi, and Simingaye Buthelezi.
- Prince Phumaphesheya: The prince was born in 1963 and is now a father of three. His children's names are Prince Nkululeko and Princesses Sphesihle Buthelezi and Nqobile.
- Princess Sibuyiselwe Angela: She was born in 1969. Her daughter's name is Princess Ntandoyenkosi Nkeiruka.
As a father, the chief is one who understands the HIV/AIDS scourge very well. He has lost children to the disease. One of the famous Mangosuthu Buthelezi quotes on the condition is;
"AIDS is the biggest challenge, the major disaster facing this country, and we would have wished for something more specific and far-reaching."
Many people assume that Sbu Buthelezi, whose official name is Sibusiso Buthelezi, is one of the chief's grandchildren. However, the famous media personality is not his grandchild.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi net worth
The chief is a wealthy man who was born into a royal family. He has also held a ministerial position and other influential positions in the South African national government. He has therefore, earned himself wealth. His net worth is, however, yet to be disclosed to the public.
The ongoing xenophobic attacks that have been witnessed in South Africa, are saddening. The chief attempted to stop the attacks by addressing people at Belgravia park, but they refused to listen to him. He attempted to restore peace among Johannesburg-based hostel dwellers, but his efforts were futile. Nonetheless, he read his speech in Zulu where he urged his fellow South Africans and Africans to stop fighting.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi is a political figure and the ruling chief of the Buthelezi tribe. The Zulu leader was born into royalty, and he has been one of the top leaders in South Africa since the 1950s. Although Mangosuthu Buthelezi death rumours have been in circulation for a while, the 91-year-old Zulu chief is still alive. Among his tribesmen, he is still their chief.