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30th April 2004HE Prince Managosultu Buthelezi MP
By Martin Everett
I saw a small news item in my paper on Wednesday which stated that the Prince had not been offered a post in the new National Cabinet - he was previously Minister for Home Affairs - effectively No. 3 after the President and Deputy President. Can anyone add to this story? It was memorable for me to met him in January at Isandlwana. And, of course he had a starring role in 'Zulu'.
1st May 2004Peter Ewart

There was an article in yesterday's N/Witness on just that story. His position was always sensitive and slightly anomalous and, arguably, even almost "honorary", given that it was in the gift of the President, his political opponent.

His position is now even more anomalous in some ways, as two of his juniors in the IFP are his seniors in Mbeki's cabinet! He will now sit on the opposition benches instead of being, technically, part of the "coalition." This is all as a result of the IFP's poorer election showing in KZN this time & because of the openly deteriorating relations between him and the ANC, rather than vis-a-vis the IFP and the ANC, which are presumably unchanged! (That's my approximate understanding but perhaps anyone in RSA can put me right).

Funny you should mention the film, as the picture of Prince Buthelezi in yesterday's Witness did, I thought, still remind one of his film role of over 40 years ago & led me to wonder how old he was then and therefore is now.

Presumably he was no more than 30-ish or so in 1963? Considerably younger than the real king in 1879.

1st May 2004Peter Quantrill
Prince Mangosutho Buthelezi is 76 years old.
Yesterday he paid a moving tribute to his son, 53 year old Prince Nelisuzula Buthelezi, who died ay King George V hospital in Durban on Wednesday. Thousands attented the funeral on the Mahlabathini plain near Ulundi. Prince Mangosutho displayed great couragee, indicating in his speech that his son had died of AIDS. Quote, " I am crying for the death of my son. I come here moved by the pain of a father who lost his beloved son. I feel the pain of any father and mother across our land at this tragic hour of our history. I feel the pain for the many children of Africa who are dying an untimely and terrible death.We are a nation which ought to be in mourning.We are a country in mourning.So many people have died or will need to follow them. As I feel the pain of the death of my own son, I hear the cries and laments of South Africa across the breath and length of our land ------- It is much easier to fight battles when the hope exists for success. It is more difficult to have the same courage and determination in fighting a battle which one knows to be hopeless ---- May God forgive him his sins and bless him with eternal life."
It has been my privilege to have met Prince Mangosutho on several occasions.The above quote says it all. A man of great compassion and understanding, always polite, never abrasive. A man of infinite charm. A man of great integrity. A man who propagates with pride, Zulu history. A man amongst men.
One hesitates to respond on political matters.However the recent election results are in many ways tragic for the Province of Kwa Zulu Natal. The views expressed are purely personal. The Inkatha Freedom Party under the leadership of the Prince lobbied to move the capital from Pietermaritzburg to Ulundi. The existing infrastructure and distances involved at the latter place would make such a move difficult. I believe it was a major influence in the outcome of the election.The IFP is now a minority party in KZN. Prince Mangosutho has not been offered a place in the new cabinet and the two IFP members who were offered posts in the new cabinet have withdrawn. There is speculation that the Prince could become Chaiman of the House of Traditional Leaders. He was quoted in the local press as saying " I was born to serve my people. It was not the parliament that made my career." There seems little doubt that relations between President Mbeki and Prince Mangosutho have changed to passive hostility. Yet the support for the IFP in rural areas, especially Northern Natal is overwhelming.The ANC seems to control urban areas. Will the inevitable financial controls exerted by the newly established ANC position in KZN effect the funding of AMAFA and everything that implies in the looking after of our heritage including the battlefields? Time will tell, but I fear KZN is in for a rocky ride.
1st May 2004Peter Ewart

Your notes are helpful and very interesting.

I found the funeral report in this morning's Mercury but the Witness appears not to have covered it. Although, without saying so, the Prince makes it obvious that his son died from AIDS, the report itself says that the cause of death was not revealed - a euphemism, perhaps, with which you are familiar in SA?

I have read a number of the Prince's speeches in the past and have admired his inspirational tone more than once. Do you think it is possible that some of the remarks in yesterday's speech were intended as a veiled criticism of Mbeki's stalling for several years on the business of anti-retroviral drugs & his denial of the HIV link, or is the Prince not likely to have introduced political criticism on such an occasion?

Hadn't realised the two IFP members had withdrawn but I see that reported now. Your pessimism re the prospects of northern KZN doesn't seem misplaced, unfortunately - and isn't even the constitutional (& complicated) position of the Traditional Leaders also in the melting pot these days?

Thanks for explaining the PMB/Eshowe proposition, which I was hoping someone would fill me in on, and also for giving us the age of the Prince, which makes him about 35 during the filming.