An Abridged Timeline of the Life of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is born

27 August. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is born.

Prince Buthelezi is born into the Zulu Royal family at Ceza Swedish Missionary Hospital in the Mahlabathini District.

He is the son of Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu, King Solomon’s sister, and Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi, the King’s Prime Minister. Shortly after his birth, he is taken to KwaDlamahlahla Palace where he is raised under the care of King Solomon kaDinuzulu


Prince Buthelezi is born.


Schooling begins for the young prince.

Schooling begins

1933: On the 4th of March 1933, Buthelezi’s uncle, King Solomon ka Dinuzulu, passes away. 

1935: Buthelezi enters Impumalanga Primary School at Mahashini in Nongoma.

The young Buthelezi loses his father

Buthelezi’s father, Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi, passes away in December 1942 when his son is just 14. The young boy is fetched from KwaDlamahlahla Palace by the Buthelezi Family to eMadaka, one of his father’s homesteads, to stab the ground with a spear indicating where his father’s grave should be, and indicating that he is his heir and successor.


Prince Buthelezi loses his father.


Political Education begins.

A political education begins

On the way to Adams College in Amanzimtoti, where Buthelezi will complete his matric, his uncle the Regent takes him to Ohlange to present him to Dr John Langalibalele Dube.

1946: In his final year at Adams, Buthelezi is called upon by another uncle, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, the Founder of the ANC. Dr Seme has had an eye operation and enlists Buthelezi to assist him with his correspondence.

Studying at Fort Hare

Buthelezi enters the University of Fort Hare the very year that Apartheid begins. For the next three years, he studies Bantu Administration, Roman-Dutch Law and Criminal Law. While at Fort Hare, Buthelezi joins the ANC Youth League.


Studies at Fort Hare begin.


A rocky path to graduation.

The rocky path to graduation

Having participated in a boycott of the visit by Governor General G. Brand van Zyl, Buthelezi finds himself expelled from Fort Hare. 

He is admitted to the non-European Section of the University of Natal where he completes his studies. He is allowed to graduate at Fort Hare.

Starting work in Durban

Buthelezi takes up work in Durban as a Clerk and begins attending political rallies at Nichols Square. 

He spends much of his time with his mentor, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, at Lakhani Chambers in Grey Street, where they discuss faith, the pursuit of freedom and servant leadership. He becomes close to leaders like Tambo, Sisulu and Mandela.


Starting work.

1952 – 1953

Prince Buthelezi marries and is appointed Chief Executive Councillor.

Prince Buthelezi marries. (1952)

His Excellency becomes Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan (1953)

Buthelezi weds Irene Audrey Thandekile Mzila on 2 July 1952 at St Faith’s in Durban.

1953: While preparing to do his legal articles under Mr Rowley Arenstein, lawyer to the ANC, Buthelezi is called upon to return to Mahlabathini to take up his hereditary position as Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan. 

On the advice of Inkosi Luthuli, he accepts. However the regime refuses to fully recognise him, as he is a known member of the ANC, and he is compelled into an acting position before being installed in 1957. 

The first-born child of a happy union

Princess Irene gives birth to their first child, Princess Phumzile Nokuphiwa.


10 July, Princess Phumzile Nokuphiwa is born.


16 January, Prince Ntuthukoyeziwe Zuzifa is born.

A son is born

Buthelezi and Princess Irene welcome their first-born son, Prince Ntuthukoyeziwe Zuzifa.

Buthelezi takes on Verwoerd

The architect of apartheid, Dr HF Verwoerd, addresses an Imbizo convened by King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe. Amakhosi task the young Buthelezi with responding to Verwoerd. His direct approach earns him the praise name “UBHEJANE OVIMBELA’MABHUNU EBLINJINI EMONA” – the Rhino that blocked Boers at the Mona bridge.


6 October.


A tragedy in the family.

A life ended too soon

Princess Mabhuku Sinikwakonke Buthelezi is born. Tragically, the young Princess is killed in a car accident just 9 years later. It is a devastating loss for the Buthelezi family.

Precious New Life

1958 – Princess Mandisi Sibukakonke Buthelezi is born
1959 – Princess Lethuxolo Bengitheni Buthelezi is born
1961 – Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict Buthelezi is born


New additions to the royal family.


Buthelezi visits Norway as a guest of the Lutheran Church.

Confiscated passport

Buthelezi visits Norway as a guest of the Lutheran Church, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom. 

En route to the Anglican Congress in Canada, he visits Mr Oliver Tambo in London. Tambo expresses concern that Buthelezi is being watched by the Security Police and indeed, upon his return to South Africa, Buthelezi’s passport is confiscated for the next 8 years.

Another son is born

Prince Phumaphesheya Gregory Buthelezi is born in 1963. He sadly passes away on 20 June 2012 in Durban.


A son is born.


Portrays his grandfather.

Buthelezi portrays his great grandfather

The film “Zulu” is released, in which Buthelezi plays the role of his maternal great grandfather, King Cetshwayo kaMpande. This is the film debut of Sir Michael Caine and stars Sir Stanley Baker and Jack Hawkins.

Princess Sibuyiselwe Angela Buthelezi, is born


Prince Buthelezi’s youngest child is born.


Tambo and Luthuli believe that Buthelezi will be able to undermine the system from within.

Go and undermine the system from within

While the ANC has rejected the homelands system being imposed by the apartheid regime, Luthuli and Tambo believe that Buthelezi will be able to undermine the system from within.

Accordingly, they send a message through Mr Cleopas Nsibande to Buthelezi’s sister in Daveyton, urging him not to refuse the leadership of the Zulu Territorial Authority if he is elected to lead. Amakhosi elect Buthelezi as the Chief Executive Officer of the Zulu Territorial Authority, and Buthelezi accepts.

Visiting Tambo abroad

With his passport returned to him for the first time in 8 years, Buthelezi immediately begins travelling to meet with ANC leaders in exile.

He is invited by President Hastings Banda to Mangochi on Lake Malawi, where he meets with Tambo. Over the next few years, they meet variously in London, Nairobi, Lagos and Stockholm.

Tambo publicly applauds Buthelezi. Buthelezi has an audience with His Holiness Pope Paul VI at the Vatican, and travels to the United States to seek investment in KwaZulu, in order to secure development and upliftment of the oppressed. Accordingly, in his New Year’s Address from the ANC’s External Mission, Tambo proudly says, “The enemy’s own creation… the Zulu Bantustan… have become battlegrounds of freedom, where the true representatives of the people are fighting the racists and rejecting their regime.”


21 March.


An honourable achievement.

Chief Executive Councillor of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly

Buthelezi becomes Chief Executive Councillor of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly.

Fighting on behalf of workers

Buthelezi engages Prime Minister Vorster on the need for black trade unions.

“Newsmaker of the Year”  The South African Society of Journalists names Buthelezi “Newsmaker of the Year”.


Fighting for the workers.


Prince Buthelezi visits President Kenneth Kaunda.

Kaunda’s advice

While visiting President Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka, Zambia, Buthelezi receives the President’s advice to form a membership-based organisation to reignite political mobilisation on South African soil.

The liberation struggle is in hiatus following the banning of the ANC, PAC and other political organisations. The leaders of the Frontline States, in consultation with Tambo, believe that only Buthelezi can fulfil this role.  

10 December
Buthelezi honours his mentor. The Organisation for African Unity bestows a posthumous award on Inkosi Albert Luthuli, through King Moshoeshoe II. At the request of Mrs Nokhukanya Luthuli, Buthelezi accompanies her to Lesotho where he delivers the acceptance speech on behalf of the entire liberation movement. He is received by Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan.   

Inkatha is born

On 21 March 1975, Buthelezi founds the National Cultural Liberation Movement – Inkatha Yenkululeko yeSizwe in Isizulu and Kgare ya Tokoloho ya Sechaba in Sesotho.


Liberia honours Buthelezi. President William Tolbert of Liberia awards Buthelezi the Knight Commander of the Star of Africa, for outstanding leadership. 


Inkatha is born.


Prince Buthelezi goes to work.

The Chief Minister goes to work

 Buthelezi becomes the Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Government.

In this capacity he is able to create the KwaZulu Finance and Investment Corporation which opens Ithala Bank, providing seed capital to those who are barred from accessing loans. KwaZulu’s economic base begins to develop in earnest.

Honorary degree. 
The University of Zululand confers on Buthelezi an honorary Doctor of Law degree. 

Obasanjo’s friendship. 
Transkei becomes the first homeland to accept independence. Knowing that Buthelezi is obstructing the grand scheme of apartheid to balkanise South Africa, President Olusegun Obasanjo extends an invitation for him to be in Nigeria on the day of the independence ceremony, to deliver a lecture at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. 

The call for sanctions and disinvestment. 
In October 1976, Tambo addresses the United Nations General Assembly and calls for disinvestment and international sanctions against South Africa. Buthelezi disagrees, knowing that the poorest of the poor will be worst affected. He argues the need to protect an economy that the majority will ultimately inherit.

Buthelezi is summoned to Pretoria

On 19 September 1977, Minister of Justice, Police and Prisons, Jimmy Kruger, summons Buthelezi to Pretoria where he demands that Buthelezi restrict membership of Inkatha to Zulu-speaking South Africans.

 The regime is concerned, as Inkatha is rapidly gaining popular support among the oppressed masses. But Buthelezi refuses, and Inkatha remains home to all oppressed South Africans.


21 March.


Pursuing racial unity.

Pursuing racial unity

Buthelezi forms the South African Black Alliance, comprising Indian, Coloured and Black political organisations.

March Honouring Sobukwe.
On the death of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Buthelezi is asked by the leadership of the PAC to attend the funeral. The Sobukwe family requests that he deliver the oration.

Quoting Mandela.
Later that year, addressing 40 000 people in Soweto, Buthelezi quotes repeatedly from Mandela’s speeches, despite it being illegal to do so. Police present can take no action for fear of starting a riot in support of Buthelezi.

Honorary degree.
The University of Cape Town confers on Buthelezi an honorary Doctor of Law degree.

An ideological split from the ANC

29 October, on Tambo’s invitation, a delegation of Inkatha led by Buthelezi meets with a delegation of the ANC’s mission-in-exile in London.

For two and a half days the ANC tries to persuade Buthelezi to support their armed struggle and to allow weapons and guerrilla soldiers to be channelled into South Africa through Inkatha’s structures. Buthelezi refuses. He cannot abandon the liberation movement’s founding principle of non-violence. He also refuses their pressure to support sanctions and disinvestment, knowing the damage it will cause to the economy that his people are fighting to inherit. The two organisations cannot agree. The ANC commits to meet again in December, but that meeting never happens. 

Deny, deny deny.
When the ANC’s Mr Cap Zungu leaks details of the meeting to the Sunday Times of London, Tambo immediately issues a statement denying that the meeting has even taken place. Tambo wrongfully blames Buthelezi for leaking the story, opening the door to the greater wave of propaganda that will soon be launched. 

Building the future for South Africa’s youth.
In order to provide young black South Africans with vocational skills, Buthelezi founds the Mangosuthu Technikon, which is later named the Mangosuthu University Technology. He is appointed Chancellor of the University of Zululand, a position he holds for 21 years.

Visiting US President Carter
More: Buthelezi travels to the United States to meet with President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office. They discuss the Sullivan Principles and the need to maintain investment in South Africa for sake of protecting jobs for the oppressed.


Ideological split from the ANC.


Prince Buthelezi’s vision of the future.

“South Africa: My Vision of the Future”

Buthelezi’s book “South Africa: My Vision of the Future” is published in by Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

Seeking to break the apartheid mould. 
In May 1980, the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly launches the Buthelezi Commission of Enquiry into Social, Economic and Political Justice. Consisting of 46 scholars, politicians, lawyers, educationalists, religious leaders and businessmen, the Commission investigates the possibility of reconstituting KwaZulu and Natal as a single self-governing unit, to break out of the apartheid mould. A market economy system is given preference over socialist or communist alternatives. 

2 June
The sluice gates are opened. Speaking at the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, the ANC’s General Secretary Mr Alfred Nzo fires the opening salvo in what will become a decades’ long campaign of vilification against Buthelezi. He labels those who work within the “Bantustan system” “politically bankrupt careerists and renegades” who have “betrayed the… sacred interests of… the people”. They will, says Nzo, be “swept away onto the rubbish heap of history”. Despite knowing the truth about Buthelezi and the role he is playing on the instruction of the ANC, Tambo says nothing. 

“The anvil on which apartheid was finally crushed”

Ciskei is declared “independent”, joining Transkei (1976), Bophuthatswana (1977) and Venda (1979).

In pursuit of the plan to balkanise South Africa and deprive the oppressed majority of their citizenship, Prime Minister Botha offers the entire KwaZulu as an “independent” country under Buthelezi’s leadership. But Buthelezi consistently refuses the offer. He believes in one sovereign South Africa and rejects the Bantustan concept outright. His principled stand fulfils the mission he had been given by the ANC to undermine the apartheid system from within.

French Order of Merit. 
President Giscard d’Estaing of France confers on Buthelezi the National Order of Merit.


Anvil on which apartheid was finally crushed.


Champion of worker’s rights.

Champion of workers’ rights

The Council of Industrial Organisation of the American Federation of Labour (AFL-CIO) bestows on Buthelezi the George Meany Human Rights Award for his work in fighting for trade unions.

Reagan’s guest at the White House

Buthelezi is received at the White House by President Ronald Reagan, and attends the President’s Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Reagan later writes in his diary, “Met with Zulu Chief Buthelezi of S. Africa. I admire him greatly.” 

Apostle of Peace
More: Pandit Satyapal Sharma of India bestows on Buthelezi the title of Rastriya Pita, meaning “Apostle of Peace”


Buthelezi is received by the White House.


London trip.

Received by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London

Newsmaker of the Year More: The University of Tampa, Florida, bestows on Buthelezi an honorary Doctor of Law degree.

He also receives the South Africa Nadaraja Award from the Indian Academy, and is named Financial Mail’s “Man of the Year”, as well as “Newsmaker of the Year” by the Pretoria Press Club.

The People’s War unleashed. Addressing the Consultative Conference of the ANC in Zambia, Tambo calls on his countrymen to “engulf the apartheid system in the fire and thunder of a people’s war”. The goal of importing a communist-sponsored People’s War is to make South Africa ungovernable. It is characterised by terror, bloodshed and lawlessness, where the death of innocents is considered necessary collateral damage. With the ANC waging a campaign of propaganda and vilification against Buthelezi, it is not long before their People’s War is turned against Inkatha. Ultimately, by the time South Africa achieves freedom, some 20 000 lives will have been lost to black-on-black violence.

A “Just War”?
Buthelezi travels to Lambeth Palace for an audience with the most senior leader in the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, the Most Reverend Dr Robert Runcie. He has sent a memorandum in advance through the British Ambassador, in which he questions the theological basis for the concept of a “just war”.

Invitation from Prime Minister Peres
In August, the Prime Minister of Israel, HE Mr Shimon Peres, invites Buthelezi to attend his 80th birthday celebration.


“Buthelezi is a freedom fighter in his own right.”

As part of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons, General Olusegun Obasanjo is allowed to visit Mandela on Robben Island.

He takes the opportunity to ask Mandela about Buthelezi, as the ANC’s mission-in-exile is waging a campaign of vilification against him. Mandela responds by saying, “Buthelezi is a freedom fighter in his own right.” Throughout the ANC’s campaign against Buthelezi, Mandela never turns against him. He continues to correspond with Buthelezi throughout his incarceration, and their letters speak clearly of their enduring friendship.

Pursuing non-racialism in the midst of apartheid.
From April to November of 1986, under Buthelezi’s leadership, provincial constitutional talks are engaged through the KwaZulu Natal Indaba. This results in the establishment of the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Executive Authority, South Africa’s first non-racial, non-discriminatory government.

Man of the Year. 
The University of Boston, Massachusetts, bestows on Buthelezi an honorary Doctor of Law degree, while he also receives the “Man of the Year Award” from the Institute of Management Consultants of South Africa.


A  freedom fighter in his own right.


Recognised at home and abroad.

Buthelezi’s leadership recognised at home and abroad

Buthelezi receives the Magna Award for outstanding leadership, in Hong Kong.

Back home, the Inkatha Youth Brigade bestow on him the Unity, Justice and Peace Award.

Buthelezi is honoured.

His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu bestows on Buthelezi the King’s Cross Award.

Buthelezi is honoured.
His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu bestows on Buthelezi the King’s Cross Award. The City University of Los Angeles bestows on him an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, and he receives the Key to the City of Birmingham, Alabama.


The end of the struggle.


11 February.

The end of the struggle draws nigh

2 February
The end of the struggle draws nigh. President FW de Klerk announces in Parliament his decision to release Mandela. Buthelezi is the only person he mentions by name as having persuaded him to make this decision.

In speaking of Buthelezi’s principled approach, President de Klerk says, “In history he will be looked upon as a leading figure in South Africa during a period where there was a great risk of a catastrophe.”

11 February
Mandela is finally released

Mandela thanks Buthelezi.
Speaking at the first mass rally at King’s Park Stadium after his release, Mandela publicly thanks Buthelezi for all that he did to secure his release. Mandela indicates to his supporters that political violence must end.

A political party is born.
With political parties unbanned, Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe becomes the IFP on 10 July 1990. Buthelezi is unanimously elected as President of the Party.

The Royal Hotel Accord

Mandela and Buthelezi, together with their delegations, meet for the first time since Mandela’s release, at the Royal Hotel in Durban.

After lengthy discussions, they release a joint communique committing to hold joint rallies from that point onwards, to end the violence between the two parties. Tragically, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal immediately prevents Mandela from fulfilling his commitment to sharing a podium with Buthelezi.

May Thatcher honours Buthelezi.
The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Lady Margaret Thatcher, travels to Ulundi to visit Buthelezi. She addresses the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly.


29 January.


Prince Buthelezi pilots the Ingonyama Trust Act.

Mandela is finally released

Buthelezi pilots the Ingonyama Trust Act through the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly as the last piece of legislation to be passed by the Assembly, placing the land of the Zulu Kingdom under the custodianship of the King.

A broken promise. 
On 19 April 1994, just eight days before South Africa’s first democratic elections, Mandela, de Klerk and Buthelezi sign the Solemn Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation, committing to convene international mediation as soon as possible after the elections to deal with outstanding issues from the negotiating table. On the basis of this commitment from Mandela and de Klerk, the IFP agrees to participate in the elections. Tragically, the commitment is never honoured. 

27 April
A great victory for freedom. 
In South Africa’s first democratic elections, the IFP wins more than 2 million votes, securing seats in President Mandela’s Cabinet. Buthelezi is appointed Minister of Home Affairs. He continues in this position for the next ten years, piloting the full legislative and policy transformation of the Department. 

Acting President of the Republic.
On the very first occasion that President Mandela is out of the country, he appoints Buthelezi as Acting President; a position that Buthelezi will fill 22 times over the next ten years, under President Mandela and President Mbeki.

The Royal Hotel Accord

During the unveiling of Tambo’s tombstone in Benoni, Mr Cleopas Nsibande, the interim Leader of the ANC in Gauteng, admits in the presence of President Mandela and his entire Cabinet that Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Mr Oliver Tambo had sent him to deliver their message that although the movement rejected the Homelands system, they were appealing to Buthelezi not to refuse to lead the Homelands government if Amakhosi and representatives of the Regional Councils elected him to lead, so that he could torpedo the system from within.


The truth unveiled.


President Mbeki offers Buthelezi the position of Deputy President of South Africa.

The Deputy President South Africa could have had…

On the eve of appointing his Cabinet, President Mbeki offers Buthelezi the position of Deputy President of South Africa.

However, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal scupper this offer placing the demand that the IFP hand over the premiership of KwaZulu-Natal. As they knew he would, Buthelezi refuses to abuse the right of the electorate to choose the leadership of the IFP. President Mbeki asks Buthelezi to continue as Minister of Home Affairs for another five years.

International recognition. 
Buthelezi travels to Germany where he receives the Conservation Award Class 1 from the Bruno H. Schubert Foundation.

Champion of the institution of traditional leadership

Following extensive negotiations with the Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee led by Deputy President Zuma, Buthelezi obtains Government’s commitment to amend Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution to ensure that the role, powers and functions of traditional leaders will not be diminished in the establishment of local government structures. Tragically, this commitment is never fulfilled.


Champion of the institution.


Prince Buthelezi receives The Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award.

Courage under fire

Buthelezi travels to the United States to receive The Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award from the American Conservative Union. It is handed over at a gala dinner by Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The truth at last

During a recorded interview, former President Mandela admits to the ANC’s long waged and unjust campaign against Buthelezi. He says, “We have used every ammunition to destroy him, but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him.”




A year of loss and hope.

A year of loss and the birth of hope

On 24 April 2004, Buthelezi’s son, Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict, succumbs to HIV/Aids at King George V Hospital in Durban.

On 5 August 2004, Buthelezi’s daughter, Princess Mandisi Sibukakonke, loses her own battle against HIV/Aids. Buthelezi speaks openly at their funerals, tearing down the wall of stigma that has prevented many HIV positive people from seeking assistance. Through his courageous leadership, the fight against HIV/Aids in South Africa is forever strengthened.

Honouring an historian and friend

Buthelezi pays tribute to the late Mr David Rattray at Southwark Cathedral, in London. Later that year he becomes Patron of the David Rattray Memorial Trust, together with HRH the Prince of Wales.


30 April.



A year of loss and the birth of hope

Just a month before her father’s 80th birthday, Princess Lethuxolo Bengitheni is killed in a car accident.

Buthelezi is devastated by this loss, as she was not only his daughter but his trusted long-serving secretary. Much of their time had been spent together.

Supporting African Leadership. 
Buthelezi travels to Alexandria in Egypt to support The Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

Leadership throughout the world

Buthelezi receives the Order of St Markhus from the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, of the Greek Orthodox Church, in Egypt.

While visiting Rome in November to attend The 5th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, Buthelezi receives an audience with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, at the Vatican. 

Friend of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. 
In December, Buthelezi addresses an international conference of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Brussels on “Elections in Sub-Sahara Africa: New Dynamics in the Party Systems”.





Working for Africa

Buthelezi attends the World Economic Forum on Africa in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and speaks on Gender Parity, and Unlocking Africa’s Growth Potential.

Servant of the Lord. 
Buthelezi receives the Order of St Michael and All Angels from Bishop Dino Gabriel on behalf of the Diocese of Zululand, of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He also receives the Peace Maker Award from African Enterprise, and is granted the Simon of Cyrene award by the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

Royalty meets royalty

In his capacity as Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, Buthelezi receives the Duchess of Cornwall and HRH the Prince of Wales during their visit to the Zulu King’s Ondini Palace.

Friend of Germany. 
Buthelezi is invited to deliver a lecture at the Ethnological Museum of Hamburg, titled “Forging National Unity: South Africa’s Unfinished Struggle”, and attends the Future Forum on Global Development on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Berlin.


Royalty meets royalty.


Friend to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Friend to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Supreme Court of Appeals rules in favour of Buthelezi’s application to prevent South Africa’s Government from refusing a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Honouring Prime Minister Thatcher

Buthelezi attends the funeral of the Right Honourable Baroness Margaret Thatcher at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

He is seated next to his long-time friend, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, and is accompanied by his Special Advisor, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini who has tragically just days before he received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. 

Furthering international friendships. 
Buthelezi meets with the Secretary of State of the Republic of Finland, Mr Petri Torstila.


17 April.


A great invitation.

50th anniversary of “Zulu”

Buthelezi is invited as the guest of honour, together with HRH Prince Harry, to the 50th anniversary screening of the film “Zulu” at The Odeon in Leicester Square, London.

Honouring and preserving a legacy

Honouring and preserving a legacy
More: The IFP celebrates the 40th anniversary of its founding in March, and in August the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Museum and Documentation Centre is officially opened in Ulundi.

The opening of the Museum, in the founding of which Mr Arthur Konigkramer played a leading role, was addressed by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu and attended by prominent guests like Mrs Strilli Oppenheimer.

A champion of peaceful conflict resolution
More: Buthelezi visits Israel and the Palestinian Territories on a study tour of senior parliamentary leaders.


40th Anniversary.



Friendship with Taiwan

Buthelezi is invited to attend the inauguration of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Dr Tsai Ing-wen, and is received in meetings by the President, the Deputy President, the Foreign Minister, and the President of the Legislative Yuan. 

16 June
Honouring the sacrifice of our youth.
Marking the June 16th Soweto uprising, Buthelezi lays a wreath at the Hector Pieterson Memorial Site and Museum.

The conservationist.
Buthelezi receives the NatureLife-International Environment Award from NatureLife-International, in Germany.

The conservationist continues

Buthelezi delivers the keynote address at the 7th Annual Oppenheimer de Beers Research Conference, on conservation and Protecting Tomorrow’s Inheritance.

Remembering the Struggle. 
Buthelezi is invited to speak at the “Celebration of the Life of Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo and His Friendships with Anti-Apartheid Activists” hosted by the British High Commissioner, the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation and the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre. 

The Zulu Indian. 
Buthelezi, who is already serving as Patron of the Sivananda World Peace and Development Foundation, is invited by the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin to be the guest speaker at its International Business Convention. Later that year he is invited to speak at the opening of the Heritage Court House and the Gandhi Museum by the 1860 Legacy Foundation and Talana Museum.

A sporting legacy. 
In honour of Buthelezi, the Amazulu Football Club launches the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Legacy Cup.


Prince Buthelezi delivers the keynote address.


8 February.

Champion of Peace

Buthelezi lights the Peace Torch in Cape Town with the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr Lobsang Sangay.

The conservationist continues

Buthelezi meets with the President of the African National Congress, His Excellency Mr Ramaphosa, at the President’s residence in Durban to discuss the unfinished agenda of reconciliation between the IFP and the ANC.

24 August
Handing the baton to a new generation.
At the IFP’s National Elective Conference, Buthelezi officially retires from the presidency of the Party. He is awarded the title President Emeritus and is asked to continue to provide his guidance, wisdom and advice to the new leadership of the IFP. The Party commits to continue his lifelong legacy of integrity and servant leadership. 

5 July
Royal visit.
His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho visits Buthelezi at KwaPhindangene.

27 April
Apostolic Blessing.
Buthelezi receives the Apostolic Blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Head of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

25 March
The sorrow of losing his beloved wife.
On 25 March 2019, Princess Irene Audrey Thandekile Buthelezi sadly passes away after an extensive period of illness. The family had recently celebrated her 89th birthday and was looking forward to the coming celebration of 67 years of marriage. It is a time of tremendous sorrow for all whose lives she touched.

5 March
Dr Obasanjo welcomes Buthelezi again.
In celebration of his 82nd birthday, the former President of Nigeria His Excellency Dr Olusegun Obasanjo invites Buthelezi to deliver a lecture at the Presidential Library in Ogun State. The theme is “Colonialism, Apartheid, Freedom and South Africa Rising”. Dr Obasanjo thanks Buthelezi for the fundamental role he played in the liberation struggle. 

21 February
Kaunda thanks Buthelezi for founding Inkatha.
Buthelezi is invited by His Royal Highness Paramount Chief Mpezeni IV to participate in the Nc’wala Traditional Ceremony in Zambia. After being received by President Edgar Chagwa Lunga, Buthelezi visits His Excellency Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of the Republic of Zambia, who publicly thanks Buthelezi for heeding his advice in 1974 to form Inkatha – a membership-based organisation – to reignite political mobilisation on South African soil. This, Kaunda says, had been the wish of Tambo and the leaders of the Frontline States.


Raising hope.


Paying tribute.

Paying tribute to Dr Dube

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr John Langalibalele Dube, the founding President of the South African National Native Congress, the Dr JL Dube Institute invites Buthelezi to deliver the memorial lecture. 

A champion of heritage and culture. 
Receives the House of Shaka Isihlabani African Leadership Award, from the Heritage Development Trust.

The passing of the Zulu King

As traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, Buthelezi pays tribute at the memorial service for His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, whom he served for almost fifty years.

7 May
The loss of the Regent.
In May, Buthelezi is again called upon to pay tribute, this time to Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, the Regent of the Zulu Nation. Following the funeral, Buthelezi reads Her Majesty’s will in which King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is appointed as heir to the throne.

Civil unrest rocks KwaZulu-Natal.
As civil unrest breaks out in KwaZulu-Natal following the arrest of the former President, Buthelezi urges President Ramaphosa to deploy the military to restore law and order. He publicly calls for calm and his leadership eases racial tensions. In the aftermath of the unrest, Buthelezi helps coordinate and deliver food parcels to devastated communities.


12 March.