Guptas invited Buthelezi

2013-05-06 00:00

INKATHA Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has over the years been pressured to take a second wife in line with the Zulu custom. But he never gave in to that pressure.

Buthelezi revealed this in an online letter in which he explained his presence at the controversial Gupta wedding held at Sun City in the North West last week.

The wedding caused a storm after an aircraft with about 200 wedding guests landed at Waterkloof air force base on Tuesday without authorisation and prompting an investigation by the government.

In his online letter, Buthelezi said his attendance at the wedding was by personal invitation and he had attended one day of the three-day event with the cost for his travel borne by his party.

He said it was a refreshing moment away from politics, although he was in the company of ministers and other political figures.

The wedding reminded him of his own marriage, he said.

“If I think of my own marriage, which has endured for almost 61 years, I realise that the support of family for our union was of paramount importance.

“I will remain forever grateful to my mother, Princess Constance Magogo kaDinuzulu, for welcoming my wife, Princess Irene, into our family and for being such a support to her for many years.

“My wife and I have been blessed with a supportive family.”

Buthelezi said that over the years he had been pressured to take a second wife in line with the Zulu custom.

“But although I am proudly Zulu and honour my royal lineage, as the grandson of King Dinuzulu ka Cetshwayo, I am first and foremost a Christian. I have therefore shared my life with one wife, who has given me the privilege of sharing her life with me.”

He paid tribute to his wife, Princess Irene, who did not accompany him to the wedding due to ill-health, saying she was “wonderfully supportive and encourages me as I continue to serve my nation, whether in Parliament or in our own community”.

He said his wife had taught him many valuable lessons in life.

“Although she trained to become a nurse, when we married she dedicated herself to raising our eight children, supporting my demanding career and doting on our grandchildren.”

He said his wife’s role in raising their children had taught him that such work was not defined by an income or office hours.

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