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Message by Hon. Inkosi Elphas Mzamo Buthelezi MP

Deputy President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

on behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party

at the Memorial Service Hosted by the Mangosuthu University of Technology

in honour of 

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Founder of the Mangosuthu University of Technology

Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party

Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu Monarch and Nation

Inkosi of the Buthelezi Clan

The Chancellor of the Mangosuthu University of Technology, Mr Sandile Zungu;

The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale;

The Administrator, Professor Lourens van Staden;

Deputy Vice-Chancellors, and the Registrar, Dr Phumzile Masala;

President and Members of the MUT Convocation;

Members of the Student Representative Council;

The leadership and members of SADESMO;

Staff, students, and members of the Umlazi community.

In this most painful moment of loss, the Inkatha Freedom Party joins hands with the Mangosuthu University of Technology to honour the life of a champion. The passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been described by many as the end of an era. I feel that in my own heart, for he was not only my political leader, but my mentor and the anchor of the Zulu Nation.

Our sense of loss is beyond measure. I thank God that uMntwana waKwaPhindangene taught me so well that death is not the end. He was a man of deep faith, a faith that I share. My only comfort in this terrible moment – indeed the only way I am still standing – is the sure and certain knowledge that uMntwana is with his Lord. And we will meet again.

Our duty now is to honour the legacy of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and to remember the enormous contribution he made in all our lives, by dedicating his own life to the service of South Africa.

We in the Inkatha Freedom Party mourn the loss of our Founder, who led us for 44 years, and who confidently handed the baton to the next generation, believing that he had prepared us well for all that lay ahead.

We mourn the loss of a champion of democracy, a freedom fighter, a man of strong principles. And as we stand in this Hall today, we also mourn a giant in the field of education.

The IFP is proud that Prince Buthelezi founded this institution. The Mangosuthu University of Technology stands as a living monument to his love of country. The greatest testament to his legacy will remain the men and women who have studied at MUT and gone on to make their own contribution to South Africa.

I remember some ten years ago, Prince Buthelezi reading us a letter he had received from a young man by the name of Nkosinathi Manqele. Mr Manqele was born the very year that MUT opened, and he wrote to the Prince years later to thank him. I think it fitting that I re-read that letter today.

Mr Manqele wrote, and I quote –

Sir, let me pass my gratitude to you for having brought the factories to Isithebe and for having asked Mr Harry Oppenheimer to establish Mangosuthu Technikon. Without these institutions that you helped establish, I wouldn’t have had all these opportunities… Today I am earning a very decent salary that I could have only dreamt about had you not started these institutions. It does not surprise me to see among your many Awards and Accolades the Magna Award for Outstanding Leadership… SOKWALISA-NQENGELELE-SHENGE.

These sentiments have been echoed by countless South Africans who give thanks for what Shenge did.

His passion for empowering through education was expressed in many ways. We in the then Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe were firsthand witnesses to uMntwana’s strategic wisdom. He understood what was needed, and he made a way for it to be accomplished.

I think, for instance, of his instruction for Inkatha to send young Black women to the Coady Institute at St Xaviers University in Canada, to study community savings and cooperatives. That was in the seventies, when families were struggling to put food on the table under the harsh conditions of Apartheid.

I think also of the banner he raised when the liberation movement came out with its slogan, “Liberation Now, Education Later”. Prince Buthelezi said, “No, that is wrong”, and led us instead under the banner “Education For Liberation”.

I think of the Good Citizenship programme that he instituted in the curriculum in the schools of KwaZulu, which taught children about democracy, selfless service and the value of every contribution to our shared wellbeing.

All of these things, and many more, he did with an eye on the future. He was building for us; for this generation, and for the next. He was laying a foundation that would enable us, long after his passing, to create our own destiny. Without that foundation, we would be lost.

It is obvious to anyone that there is much to be done to create the country we long for. The youth of South Africa are crying out for help, for jobs, for opportunities, for hope. We need to walk a difficult path to save South Africa from continued decline. But the good news is this: it can be done. We can walk this journey because leaders like Prince Buthelezi straightened the path. He drew up a map, and showed us quite clearly how we should travel.

His legacy is not in the past. It is now. And it is only going to grow, as we – the patriots of this generation – follow in the footsteps of our great pioneer.

In 2019, when Prince Buthelezi stepped down from the presidency of the IFP, he gave us his final mandate. He instructed the Party to protect South Africa’s women and children. We are committed to doing that, and we recognise that it means not only standing against gender-based violence and femicide, but standing up for gender equality and the empowerment of our youth.

The best way to secure a child’s future is to invest in their education. If we are to protect the children of South Africa, we need to do whatever it takes to ensure that they can learn. Following the example of Prince Buthelezi, we must understand what is needed and make a way for it to be accomplished.

When Prince Buthelezi founded the Mangosuthu Technikon in 1979, he sought to enable graduates to take up jobs and create jobs, to become entrepreneurs, and to give their contribution to our society and our country’s liberation. He was able to secure funding for this institution because of the high regard in which he was held. He was widely known as a trustworthy man, with uncompromising moral values. It made him a friend to many, and opened doors.

One of his friends was the Chairman of the Anglo American and de Beers Group, Mr Harry Oppenheimer, who had created the Chairman’s Fund to channel resources towards the Oppenheimer’s philanthropic initiatives. The Prince approached Mr Oppenheimer with his vision of creating a tertiary institution that offered vocational training. Mr Oppenheimer caught the vision immediately, and provided funds.

Prince Buthelezi often reminded us that it was not his decision to name this institution in his honour. That had never been his intention. The suggestion was made by the Minister of Education in KwaZulu, Dr Oscar Dhlomo. But, as Prince Buthelezi told us, he was deeply honoured, for he knew that this institution would reflect a legacy of investment in education for generations to come.

He was right; and in the years ahead we pray that he will continue to be vindicated. We pray that MUT will go from strength to strength, as one of the fundamental facets of the manifold legacy of Prince Buthelezi.

This is how we honour him; by continuing his work in the service of South Africa.

His life will forever be celebrated. We have lost a champion, a mentor and a friend, but we have gained an invaluable gift: the gift of hope.

For that, Shenge, we thank you. May you rest in peace.

This message was delivered at the Memorial Service hosted by the Mangosuthu University of Technology in honour of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP on 14 September 2023 at Pixley ka Seme Hall, and published on on 14 September 2023.