South Africa Holds State Funeral For Controversial Zulu Prince

0
603

Thousands of mourners gathered in South Africa’s eastern town of Ulundi on Saturday for the state funeral of veteran politician and Zulu prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Buthelezi, a controversial figure during the apartheid liberation struggle because of his bitter rivalry with the African National Congress (ANC), died last week aged 95.

The founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) served two terms as Minister of Home Affairs in the post-apartheid government after reconciling with his governing ANC rival, Nelson Mandela.

By the time Buthelezi decided to bury the hatchet, 20,000 people had been killed and hundreds of thousands fled their homes in fighting between his supporters and those of the ANC, as a result of which critics dubbed the Zulu prince a warlord.

In a sign of residual hostility, a group IFP supporters tried to drown out President Cyril Ramaphosa’s eulogy, by singing struggle-era songs and chanting: “He is not our president”.

“Today is not a day to point fingers and cast blame,” Ramaphosa said, before Buthelezi’s coffin was brought out, draped in the national flag, for a 21-gun salute. “Let us look forward to the future with a … focus on what unites us.”