‘Buthelezi battled to eat because of ill-treatment from the king’

Rifts between AmaZulu King MisuZulu and his departed traditional prime minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi have been laid bare by his family.

The family lamented about the anguish that the elderly statesman, who passed away early on Saturday morning, endured.

Addressing members of AmaZulu royal family who had converged at Buthelezi’s ancestral home in eMahlabathini to pay their last respects on Tuesday, his elder daughter Princess Phumzile said her father died an unhappy man.

“My father was deeply hurt about how Isilo [King MisuZulu] had treated him. The manner he spoke to him,” said the princess.

“At some stage, he confessed to me that he was battling to sleep or eat because of the ill-treatment from the king.”

The fallout between the king and Buthelezi had been brewing for a long time but was kept under wraps, with both parties denying that hostilities existed.

The tensions reached a head when MisuZulu defied the wishes of Buthelezi to reappoint retired judge Jerome Ngwenya to the strategic Ingonyama Trust board.

The entity, which was pushed through by Buthelezi to oversee over 2-million hectares of tribal land, was previously under the erstwhile KwaZulu government.

Instead, MisuZulu appointed his own ally, Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela, the son of the late IFP strongman Inkosi Impiyezintombi Mzimela.

The tiff was so severe that Buthelezi convened a meeting of traditional leaders in eMpangeni, northern KwaZulu-Natal, where he affirmed that what had been done by the king was treachery and amounted to selling the land that belonged to AmaZulu nation.

Prince Zuzifa, Buthelezi’s elder son, also lamented that his father contributed immensely to the king’s ascendancy to the contentious AmaZulu throne.

“My father fought for the king, putting his own life at risk. It was very disappointing for the king to turn against him,” said Prince Zuzifa.

At the time, MisuZulu had squared off with his siblings, among them his elder brother Prince Simakade kaZwelithini, who believes he is the legitimate heir to the throne.

The contest is still a subject of litigation.


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