Church leaders wish ailing Buthelezi a speedy recovery

As Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi battles a life-threatening condition at an undisclosed hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, church and community leaders, including the bishop of his church, have expressed deeply felt good wishes to the gravely ill veteran political leader.

Several weeks ago, Buthelezi, 95, was admitted to a hospital for what was first thought to be a mild condition. But this has turned out to be an ailment of great concern to his family, his party and the nation.

On the one hand, so serious is his condition, this newspaper reported last week the family only allows close family members to visit him at his sickbed. It is understood the IFP is crossing its fingers that the nonagenarian survives the debilitating condition.

In the electoral process, it is suggested in the IFP high echelons that Buthelezi is the only trump card to assure the organisation of better electoral outcomes in the national general elections of 2024.

Buthelezi’s immediate spiritual leader, the bishop of the Diocese of Zululand, the Right Reverend Dr Vikinduku Mnculwane, wishing Buthelezi well, said: “I, together with the Diocese of Zululand, are constantly holding you and all the health practitioners assisting you in this time of great need, in ceaseless prayer.

“We love you and will ceaselessly hold you in our prayers while you are in hospital… we continue to thank God for your constant witness as a Christian in our diocese and as a member of the Saint Michael’s and all Angels, and an esteemed member of the Order of Simon of Cyrene. Be blessed. I am praying for you daily.”

Professional community organiser, former adviser to the South African Council of Churches and chairperson of the Steve Biko Foundation, Ishmael Mkhabela, said: “Speedy recovery, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. May love, faith and hope, the three pillars of our shared faith, give you peace, comfort and strength to regain your health.”

A senior priest formerly attached to the Anglican Diocese of Highveld, Father Hubby Kekana, said: “Whatever our political and ideological perspectives, Prince Buthelezi served the country with distinction.”

Kekana continued: “And like many in the liberation movement, he was also committed to the struggle of the people and the demise of the apartheid regime. In addition, he served in the first cabinet of former president Nelson Mandela as home affairs minister.

“The country is incomplete without you. You always taught this nation and the Anglican church of which you are a faithful servant, that a positive attitude can make any distressful situation better. “I am sending you all the positivity and prayers during this difficult phase in your life. We wish you a speedy recovery and may God’s grace be with you.”

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa, believed to have been anointed to the position by Buthelezi, last week told journalists that the statesman was making “steady progress”.

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