Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a veteran South African politician, Zulu prince and controversial figure during the apartheid liberation struggle, has died, the presidency said on Saturday. He was 95.
The founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party served two terms as Minister of Home Affairs in the post-apartheid government after burying the hatchet with the governing African National Congress party in 1994.
“I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Prince of KwaPhindangene, Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and the Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Buthelezi had a procedure for back pain in July and was later readmitted to hospital when the pain did not subside, according to local news website News24.
He founded the IFP in 1975 as a national cultural movement that became a political force in what is now KwaZulu-Natal province, and his party was embroiled in bloody conflicts with the ANC in the 1980s and 1990s.
His last-minute decision to participate in the first post-apartheid election in 1994 brought peace between the two parties. The vote brought the ANC and its leader, the late Nelson Mandela, to power.