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Mangosuthu Buthelezi

Mangosuthu Buthelezi
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
Assumed office
Inkosi (Chieftain) of the Buthelezi Tribe
Assumed office
Preceded by Chief Mathole Buthelezi
South African Minister of Home Affairs
In office
Preceded by Danie Schutte
Succeeded by Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Chief Minister of KwaZulu
In office
Leader of the KwaZulu territorial Authority
In office
Personal details
Born (1928-08-27) 27 August 1928 [1]
Mahlabathini, Natal,
South Africa
Political party Inkatha Freedom Party
Religion Anglican

Mangosuthu Buthelezi (born 27 August 1928) is a South African politician and Zulu tribal leader who founded the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975 and was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan until 1994. He was Minister of Home Affairs of South Africa from 1994 to 2004. His praise name is Shenge.

Throughout much of the apartheid area, Buthelezi was considered one of the foremost black leaders. He played a key role in creating a framework for a negotiated solution to South Africa's racial conflict, signing the landmark Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith in 1974 with Harry Schwarz. During the CODESA negotiations of the early 1990s, he represented the IFP. Following the introduction of the universal franchise in the 1994 general election, Buthelezi led the IFP to join the government of national unity, led by Nelson Mandela. Buthelezi served as Minister of Home Affairs until 2004. He continues to serve as both leader of the IFP and an MP, retaining his seat in the 2014 general election.

In 1964 he played King Cetshwayo kaMpande (his own maternal great-grandfather) in the film Zulu.


  • Early life 1
  • Chieftainship 2
  • Inkatha Freedom Party 3
  • Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith 4
  • Para-military accusations 5
  • Meeting with Mandela and the elections 6
  • Demise of Government of National Unity 7
  • Titles from birth 8
  • Positions 9
  • Awards 10
  • Marriage 11
  • Bibliography 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14

Early life

Mangosuthu (born Gatsha) was born on 27 August 1928, in Mahlabathini, KwaZulu, to Chief Mathole Buthelezi and Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, the sister of King Solomon kaDinuzulu. He was educated at Impumalanga Primary School, Mahashini, Nongoma from 1933 to 1943, then at Adams College, Amanzimtoti from 1944 to 1947.[2]

Mangosuthu studied at the University of Fort Hare from 1948 to 1950, where he joined the African National Congress Youth League and came into contact with Robert Mugabe and Robert Sobukwe. He was expelled from the university after student boycotts. He later completed his degree at the University of Natal.


Buthelezi inherited the chieftainship of the large Buthelezi tribe in 1953: a position he still holds today.

In 1970, Buthelezi was appointed leader of the KwaZulu territorial Authority and in 1976 became chief minister of the quasi-independent Bantustan of KwaZulu. The emerging Black Consciousness Movement of the 1970s branded him an Apartheid regime collaborator, because of his strong anti-Communist belief. However, he consistently declined homeland independence and political deals until Nelson Mandela was released from prison and the African National Congress was made legal.

Inkatha Freedom Party

In 1975 Buthelezi started the IFP with the blessing of the African National Congress, but broke away from the ANC in 1979 and his relationship with the ANC sharply deteriorated. He was encouraged by Oliver Tambo, the President of the ANC mission in exile, to revive the cultural movement. In the mid 1970s it was clear that many in the Black Consciousness Movement were at odds with Buthelezi's politics. For instance, during the funeral of Robert Sobukwe he was barred from attending the service since they argued that he was a notable collaborator of the Nationalist Government. In 1979 Inkosi Buthelezi and the Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe, as it was then known, severed ties with the main ANC since the ANC favoured military strategies by employing the use of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Spear of the Nation. The meeting that was held in London between the two organisations did not succeed in ironing out differences.

In 1982 Buthelezi opposed the apartheid government's plan to cede the Ingwavuma region in northern Natal to the Swaziland government. The courts decided in his favour on the grounds that the government had not followed its own black constitution act of 1972, which required consultation with the people of the region. He was also instrumental in setting up the teacher training and nursing colleges throughout the late 1970s and the early 1980s. He requested Harry Oppenheimer, his great friend and ally, to establish Mangosuthu Technikon in Umlazi, south of Durban. In 1993 he broke the record for the world's longest-ever speech[3] in an address he gave to the Natal legislature.

Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith

On 4 January 1974, Transvaal leader of the United Party Harry Schwarz met with Mangosuthu Buthelezi and signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith. They agreed on a five-point plan for racial peace in South Africa. The declaration's purpose was to provide a blueprint for government of South Africa for racial peace in South Africa. It called for negotiations involving all peoples, to draw up constitutional proposals stressing opportunity for all with a Bill of Rights to safeguard these rights. It suggested that the federal concept was the appropriate framework for such changes to take place. It also first affirmed that political change must take place though non-violent means.[4]

The declaration was the first of such agreements by acknowledged black and white leaders in South Africa that affirmed to these principles. The commitment to the peaceful pursuit of political change was declared at a time when neither the National Party nor African National Congress were looking for peaceful solutions or dialogue. The declaration was heralded by the English speaking press as a breakthrough in race relations in South Africa. The declaration was endorsed by several chief ministers of the black homelands, including Cedric Phatudi (Lebowa), Lucas Mangope (Bophuthatswana) and Hudson Nisanwisi (Gazankulu).[5] The declaration also received praise from liberal figures such as Alan Paton.

Para-military accusations

Buthelezi was said to have been working with General Magnus Malan in training the youth of Ulundi and other parts of the erstwhile KwaZulu Homeland in setting up a para-military unit ostensibly because he feared that a lot of property and life were lost during the cataclysmic conflicts of 1984 to 1994. He was even implicated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report as a person who was responsible for the gross violations of Human Rights but before the report was published he took them to court and before the court's ruling Buthelezi and the Truth Commission agreed to settle out of court.

Meeting with Mandela and the elections

Buthelezi at first refused to participate in the first democratic South African elections in April 1994 but chose to enter at the very last minute, after a meeting held on 8 April, when Mandela and de Klerk tried to sway the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu from his dependence on Buthelezi by offering him a guarantee of special status of the Zulu monarchy after the elections. The offer was not immediately successful, but Buthelezi seemed sympathetic to the idea. The foreign mediation team led by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington were pivotal in reaching a compromise, and convinced the IFP leader to give up the boycott of the elections. Buthelezi therefore signed an agreement with deKlerk and Mandela that guaranteed the ceremonial status of the Zulu king and was promised that foreign mediators would examine Inkatha's claims to more autonomy in the Zulu area. It was probably too late though, because Buthelezi was losing support fast, and as a consequence, his party only narrowly won the elections in KwaZulu-Natal. In May 1994, Buthelezi was appointed Minister of Home Affairs in the first post-Apartheid government, a position he continued to hold following the 1999 elections. He was appointed acting president a number of times during this period.

Though his appointment in the government of national unity was a kind of catharsis, the Zulu King openly lambasted Buthelezi and told many members of the ruling party that he was like Mandela because for 24 years of KwaZulu government he could not operate freely. Buthelezi countered that by saying that His Majesty should not interfere in political matters, rather the Zulu monarchy should be modelled along the same lines as the British one. Looking at the ballot paper for the 1994 elections, one would notice that the name of the IFP is bolded, the line between the NP and IFP is bolded but the line between other parties is not bolded to show that all the parties' was printed at one time, but IFP was added to the ballot paper at later stage.

Demise of Government of National Unity

Prior to the 2004 elections President Thabo Mbeki refused to sign into law Buthelezi's attempt to overhaul the Immigration laws. For the first time in South African history a Cabinet Minister took the President to court in an attempt to secure stricter immigration regulations.

After the 2004 elections President Thabo Mbeki offered Buthelezi the Deputy Presidency, which he refused, as in exchange the IFP would have to relinquish the Premiership of the IFP-dominated province of KwaZulu-Natal. Since 1994, South Africa had been governed by a multi-party Government of National Unity, including the ANC, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. By the time of the 1999 elections this transitional condition fell away, but the majority ANC government again invited the IFP to join it in government. After the 2004 elections, with Buthelezi declining the Deputy Presidency, the IFP left the coalition government and sat in the opposition benches.

Buthelezi remained a member of parliament after the April 2009 general election.[6]

Titles from birth

  • Umntwana waKwaphindangene (Prince of Kwaphindangene) 1928–
  • Inkosi yeSizwe sakwaButhelezi (Chief of the Buthelezi tribe) 1953–
  • UNdunankulu weSizwe samaZulu (Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Nation) [7]


  • Chief Executive Councillor to the erstwhile KwaZulu Government Legislative Assembly 1972
  • Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government 1976 – April 1994
  • Member of National Parliament 1994–
  • President of Inkatha Freedom Party 1975–
  • Chairman of SA Black Alliance that consisted of the Labour Party led by Mr Sonny Leon, the Reform Party Led by Mr Yellan Chinsamy, the Dikwakwetla Party of the Free State and Inyandza led by Mr Enos Mabuza.
  • Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Zululand
  • Member of University of KwaZulu Natal Foundation and Alumni
  • Erstwhile Minister of Home Affairs 1994–2004
  • Acted as President of South Africa 22 times
  • Chairman of Traditional Leaders in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature


  • King's Cross Award awarded by HM King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu 1989
  • Key to the City of Birmingham awarded by Alabama 1989
  • Freedom of Ngwelezana awarded by Ngwelezana 1988
  • Unity, Justice and Peace Award by Inkatha Youth Brigade 1988
  • Magna Award for Outstanding Leadership awarded by Hong Kong1988
  • Honorary Freedom of the City of Pinetown awarded by City of Pinetown Kwazulu Natal 1986
  • Hon LLD Boston University 1986
  • Nadaraja Award by Indian Academy of SA 1985
  • Man of the Year by Financial Mail 1985
  • Newsmaker of the Year by Pretoria Press Club 1985
  • Hon LLD Tampa University Florida 1985
  • Apostle of Peace (Rastriya Pita)by Pandit Satyapal Sharma of India 1983
  • George Meany Human Rights Award by The Council of Industrial Organisation of the American Federation of Labour (AFL-CIO) 1982
  • French National Order of Merit 1981
  • Hon LLD University of Cape Town 1978
  • Citation for Leadership by District of Columbia Council United States of America 1976
  • Hon LLD by Unizul 1976
  • Knight Commander of the Star of Africa for Outstanding Leadership by President Tolbert Liberia 1975
  • Newsmaker of the Year by SA Society of Journalists 1973
  • Man of the Year by Institute of Management Consultants of SA 1973


He was married 2 July 1952 to Irene Audrey Thandekile Mzila, and they had three sons and five daughters:[8]

  • Princess Phumzile Buthelezi, born 1953. Mother of Prince Nkosinathi Buthelezi (died in 2002 in a car crash) and Prince Bongimpumeleo Khumalo
  • Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi, born 1955. Father of two to Princess Nokuthula Buthelezi and Prince Zakhithi Buthelezis
  • Princess Mandisi Sibukakonke Buthelezi, died of HIV/AIDS on 5 August 2004, leaving one son, Prince Zamokuhle.[9]
  • Princess Mabhuku Snikwakonke Buthelezi, born 1957, died 1966.
  • Princess Lethuxolo Buthelezi, born 1959, died 27 July 2008 in a car crash.[10] She is survived by daughter Princess Latoya Buthelezi, a singer who uses the stage name Toya Delazy.[11]
  • Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict Buthelezi, born 21 March 1961, died of HIV/AIDS on 29 April 2004. He is survived by the Princes Mongezi, Sibonelo and Simingaye Buthelezi
  • Prince Phumaphesheya Buthelezi. born 1963. Father to Prince Nkululeko, Princess Nqobile and Princess Sphesihle Buthelezi
  • Princess Sibuyiselwe Angela Buthelezi, born 1969, mother of Princess Ntandoyenkosi Nkeiruka Buthelezi


  • Ben Temkin, Buthelezi: A Biography, London/Portland, Or: Frank Cass, 2003.
  • Role of a Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa's Foreign Trade Policy Publication 1999.
  • Jack Shepherd Smith, Buthelezi: The Biography. 1988.
  • South Africa: Anatomy of Black-White Power-Sharing: Collected speeches in Europe. Emmcon, 1986.
  • Usuthu! Cry Peace! Co-author Wessel de Kock. 1986
  • The Constitution an article in Leadership in SA. 1983
  • Der Auftrag des Gatsha Buthelezi Friedliche Befreiung in Südafrika? Biography Contributor, 1981.
  • South Africa: My Vision of the Future, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1980.
  • Power is Ours Book 1979
  • Gatsha Buthelezi: Zulu Statesman Biography Contributor Ben Temkin, 1976
  • Viewpoint: Transkei Independence Book Author Black Community Programmes, 1976
  • Prof ZK Mathews: His Death, The South African Outlook Book Lovedale Press, 1975
  • Inkatha Book Reality 1975 bi-weekly column syndicated to SA morning newspapers Author, 1974
  • KwaZulu Development Black Community Programmes, 1972


  1. ^ "Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma". The Presidency. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  2. ^ Adams College, Historic Schools Restoration Project, accessed 3 August 2013
  3. ^ HOW WE MET - JANI ALLAN AND CHIEF BUTHELEZI The Independent. 6 April 1997
  4. ^ Mitchell, Thomas (2002). Indispensable traitors: liberal parties in settler conflicts. Praeger.  
  5. ^ Muriel Horrell, Dudley Horner, Jane Hudson, "A Survey of Race Relations in South Africa", South African Institute of Race Relations.
  6. ^ "Final decision on names of MPs", The Mercury (IOL), 28 April 2009, page 2.
  7. ^  
  8. ^ BUTHELEZI (Tribe)
  9. ^ Funeral of Princess Mandisi Sibukakonke Buthelezi IFP Speeches
  10. ^ Sipho Khumalo and Kamini Padayachee, Buthelezi's daughter dies in crash IOL, 28 July 2008.
  11. ^ Biography, Toya Delazy.

External links

  • A biography of Buthelezi
  • News item that discusses Buthelezi's firing as Minister of Home Affairs
  • Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi
  • Genealogy of Buthelezi Tribe
  • Inkosi Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI
  • Speech by Mangosuthu Buthelezi to The Heritage Foundation, 19 June 1991.
  • Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the Internet Movie Database
Political offices
New title Chief Executive Councillor of KwaZulu
Succeeded by
as Chief Minister
Preceded by
as chief executive Councillor
Chief Minister of KwaZulu
Succeeded by
Frank Mdlalose
as Premier of KwaZulu-Natal
Preceded by
Danie Schutte
Minister of Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Party political offices
New political party President of the Inkatha Freedom Party
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