1928 – 2023
The Traditional Leader. The Activist. The Conservationist. The Family Man. The Politician. The Statesman. The Man of Faith. The Humanitarian.
uMntwana waKwaPhindangene was many things to many people. He had the unique ability to excel at everything he put his hand to.
His legacy, his wisdom, and the many lessons we can draw from his exceptional life will never be forgotten.
The loss of Prince Buthelezi has left a gaping vacuum in the IFP, in the Zulu Kingdom, and in the South African political landscape.
There are no words to express how much Shenge will be missed.
His passing means the end of an unforgettable chapter in the life of the IFP. But, in order to honour his legacy and what he has built, we need to go on and preserve his legacy, as we begin a new chapter without him in our lives.
While he left the world a better place, there is still much work we can continue with in his name, in order to honour his life, his sacrifices, and his legacy.
And what a legacy it is.
We will uphold the principles of servant leadership, and self-help and self-reliance, as we work together to build the South Africa of Shenge’s dreams: a just, prosperous, and moral society, whose citizens engage with each other on the basis of ubuntu/botho.
While at primary school, I benefited from the Good Citizenship programme, which taught learners about self-help and self-reliance, and selfless service to one’s community and country. This programme was incorporated into the school curriculum by the KwaZulu
Government, under the leadership of then Chief Minister, the Prince of KwaPhindangene.
As we gather here today and reflect on the life of uMntwana waKwaPhindangene, I believe that we can all draw a measure of comfort in the knowledge that Shenge has run his race, and has now gone to join his heavenly Father and receive his reward.
We are honoured to have the Buthelezi family with us here today. Forgive us for having deprived you of good times with your father and grandfather. Over the years, there was never any doubt that despite his punishing schedule and many Party and political commitments, uMntwana always made time for his family. He was a family man. We saw him. A father figure, a man of faith.
Not only was he the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, a role he diligently and honestly fulfilled with distinction over seven decades, in the service of three Kings, but uMntwana also remained as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan.