Mangosuthu Buthelezi turns 80

2008-08-26 00:00

INKATHA Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi celebrates his 80th birthday today. To mark the occasion, his office commissioned the photograph taken in his office in Parliament in Cape Town by British photographer Marc Stanes.

In a tribute to Buthelezi, IFP MP Suzanne Vos, who has known him for 40 years, recalled their first meeting when as a 23-year-old journalist, she went to interview his mother, Princess Constance Magogo ka Dinuzulu.

“His mother — a musician, a historian and much more — was an extraordinary woman. So, too, I was soon to find out, was the son. That day changed my life.”

Vos said she had met a highly intelligent man with impeccable manners deeply rooted in his Christian faith who passionately loved and honoured his family, his country and its people.

“Respect is always earned and, to my mind, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has earned the respect of South Africa and its people.

“I continue to be appalled that he has never been sufficiently acknowledged as one of the great founders of our fledgling democracy. Ongoing attempts by the ANC Alliance to airbrush him out of our history will fail,” she added.

Functions planned to mark Buthelezi’s birthday have been downscaled and postponed due to the death of his daughter, Lethuxolo Bengitheni, in a car accident on July 26.

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