Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a controversial South African political figure, laid to rest

JOHANNESBURG — Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a controversial South African politician and traditional minister of the Zulu nation, was laid to rest Saturday after dying at the age of 95 this week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a speech at Buthelezi’s funeral in Ulundi, located in the KwaZulu-Natal province. He commended Buthelezi for his contributions as a legislator and his dedication to South Africa’s transition to a democratic state.

Mourners including leaders of rival political parties, government officials, the clergy and community members gathered to pay their last respects to a man who continues to divide opinion in South Africa.

Buthelezi founded the Inkatha Freedom Party in 1975, which was responsible for some of the worst political violence seen in the country in the 1980s and early 1990s.

While he was against apartheid, the policy of racial segregation enforced by the white minority government in South Africa prior to the country’s shift to democracy in 1994, Buthelezi faced disagreement from liberation leaders who accused him of betraying their cause.

He headed the administrative region of Zululand, one of the “homelands” the apartheid government created to enforce the segregation policy.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a South African political figure who sparked controversy, has been laid to rest.

Despite previous tensions with Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress party, Buthelezi served as a minister in Mandela’s Cabinet and was one of the longest serving lawmakers in South Africa.

Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, and Jacob Zuma, who were all previous presidents of South Africa, were present at his funeral.

Ramaphosa stated that there were significant disagreements between Mandela and Buthelezi at certain times in our past, but they managed to resolve their differences and prioritize the restoration of our nation.

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