Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP Founder And President Emeritus Inkatha Freedom Party

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP was born into the Zulu Royal family as the son of Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, King Solomon’s sister, and Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi, the King’s Prime Minister.

He joined the ANC Youth League at the University of Fort Hare and completed his studies at the University of Natal. On the advice of Inkosi Albert Luthuli, he responded to the call of the Buthelezi Clan and returned to Mahlabathini in 1953 to take up his hereditary position as Inkosi.

He remained deeply involved in liberation politics and was in constant contact with leaders like Mr Walter Sisulu, Mr Oliver Tambo and Mr Nelson Mandela. In 1970, he was elected by the KwaZulu Assembly as Chief Executive Officer of the Zulu Territorial Authority. In 1972, he became Chief Executive Councillor to the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly and from 1976 to 1994 served as Chief Minister of KwaZulu.

In order to reignite the struggle for liberation within South Africa following the banning of the ANC and other parties, Prince Buthelezi founded Inkatha yeNkulukelo yeSizwe in 1975. Inkatha quickly grew into a formidable liberation organisation, home to the oppressed masses within South Africa.

Through Inkatha, Prince Buthelezi campaigned endlessly for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and for an end to apartheid through negotiations. Through his rejection of nominal “independence” for KwaZulu, he derailed the grand scheme of apartheid to balkanise South Africa.

But despite the undeniable role he played in securing South Africa’s political freedom, Prince Buthelezi found himself vilified by the ANC’s mission-in-exile when Inkatha refused to embrace an armed struggle, and the call for international sanctions and disinvestment.

Inkatha found itself the target of the ANC’s People’s War, in which some 20 000 lives were lost in a black-on-black conflict meant to secure the ANC’s political hegemony after liberation. Throughout this time, Prince Buthelezi never abandoned his call for peaceful resistance, non-violence and negotiations.

Ultimately, when former President FW de Klerk announced his decision to release Mandela, he named only Prince Buthelezi as having helped him reach that decision.

Inkatha came to the negotiating table as the IFP, the Inkatha Freedom Party, and secured democratic gains for the future South Africa.

Following the first democratic elections in April 1994, Prince Buthelezi became the national Minister of Home Affairs. He served in this capacity under President Nelson Mandela and President Thabo Mbeki, before being offered the Deputy Presidency. Regrettably, this was scuppered by leaders of the ANC.

During the first ten years of democracy, he was appointed Acting President of the Republic 22 times.

Prince Buthelezi continues to serve as a Member of Parliament, as the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and as the President Emeritus of the IFP. But first and foremost, he considers himself a servant of the people.

He has travelled extensively throughout the world, and has received numerous awards, both internationally and in South Africa.

Prince Buthelezi is a believer in Christ and a champion of freedom for all people. Together with his late wife, Princess Irene Thandekile Buthelezi, he had eight children, five of whom are sadly deceased.

Positions Held

  • Member of Parliament, National Assembly (1994 – present)
  • Minister of Home Affairs, Government of South Africa (1994 – 2004)
  • Acting President of the Republic of South Africa (on 22 occasions between 1994 and 2004)
  • Founder and President of the Inkatha Freedom Party (1975 – 2019)
  • President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (2019 – present)
  • Chancellor, University of Zululand (1979 – 2001)
  • Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan (1957 – present)
  • Founder of the South African Black Alliance (1977)
  • Initiator of the Buthelezi Commission of Enquiry into Social, Economic and Political Justice (1980)
  • Initiator of the KwaZulu/Natal Indaba (1986)
  • Chief Executive Officer, Zulu Territorial Authority (1970 – 1972)
  • Chief Executive Councillor, KwaZulu Legislative Assembly (1972 – 1976)
  • Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly (1976 – 1994)
  • Chancellor, Institute for Industrial Education (1971 – 1977)
  • Patron, Magqubu Ntombela Foundation
  • Patron, Rhino and Elephant Foundation 
  • Patron, Wildlands Conservation Trust
  • Patron of the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project (2017 – present)
  • Patron of the Growing Up Without a Father Foundation (2019 – present)
  • Honorary Patron, Sivananda World Peace and Community Development Foundation
  • Chairperson, Buthelezi Traditional Council (1975 – present)
  • Chairperson, Mashonangashoni Regional Authority (1968 – present)


  • Man of the Year, Institute of Management Consultants, 1972
  • Newsmaker of the Year, South African Society of Journalists 1973
  • Knight Commander of the Star of Africa for Outstanding Leadership, President Tolbert, Liberia, 1975
  • Doctor of Law, honorary degree, University of Zululand, 1976
  • Citation for Leadership, District of Columbia Council (US) 1976
  • Doctor of Law, honorary degree, University of Cape Town, 1978
  • French National Order of Merit, 1981
  • George Meany Human Rights Award, The Council of Industrial Organisation of the American Federation of Labour (AFL-CIO), 1982
  • Apostle of Peace (Rastriya Pita), Pandit Satyapal Sharma of India 1983
  • Doctor of Law, honorary degree, Tampa University, Florida, USA 1985
  • Nadaraja Award, Indian Academy of South Africa, 1985
  • Man of the Year, Financial Mail, 1985
  • Newsmaker of the Year, Pretoria Press Club, 1985
  • Honorary Freedom of the City of Pinetown, Natal, 1986
  • Man of the Year Award, Institute of Management Consultants of South Africa, 1986
  • Doctor of Law, honorary degree, University of Boston, Mass, USA, 1986
  • Freedom of Ngwelezane, 1988
  • Unity, Justice and Peace Award, Inkatha Youth Brigade, 1988
  • Magna Award for Outstanding Leadership, Hong Kong 1988
  • King’s Cross Award by H.M. King Zwelithini Goodwill ka Bhekuzulu, Ulundi, 1989
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, City University of Los Angeles, 1989
  • Key to the City of Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 1989
  • Conservation Award Class 1, Bruno H. Schubert Foundation, 1999
  • King Shaka Gold Medal by H.M. King Zwelithini Goodwill ka Bhekuzulu, KwaDukuza, 2001
  • The Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award, American Conservative Union, 2001
  • Order of St Markhus, by the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Greek Orthodox Church, Egypt, 2009
  • Order of St Michael and All Angels, by Bishop Dino Gabriel on behalf of the Diocese of Zululand, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, 2010
  • Peace Maker Award, African Enterprise, 2010
  • Simon of Cyrene, by the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, 2010
  • Everlasting Gospel Leadership Award, Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, 2011
  • NatureLife-International Environment Award 2015, NatureLife-International, Germany, 2016
  • Honour of Merit Award, Imperial Youth of Brazil, 2021


  • KwaZulu Development Black Community Programmes, 1972
  • Inkatha Book Reality 1975 bi-weekly column syndicated to SA morning newspapers Author, 1974
  • Prof ZK Mathews: His Death, The South African Outlook Book Lovedale Press, 1975
  • Viewpoint: Transkei Independence Book Author Black Community Programmes, 1976
  • Power is Ours Book, 1979
  • South Africa: My Vision of the Future, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1980
  • The Constitution an article in Leadership in SA, 1983
  • South Africa: Anatomy of Black-White Power-Sharing: Collected speeches in Europe. Emmcon, 1986.
  • Usuthu! Cry Peace! Co-author Wessel de Kock. 1986
  • Role of a Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa’s Foreign Trade Policy Publication 1999
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