Mangosuthu Buthelezi likely to be buried secretly on Friday night

While the official funeral for IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is planned for Saturday, it could just be an empty coffin that would be buried.

The long-serving AmaZulu traditional prime minister is meant to be laid to rest at his ancestral home of KwaPhindangene in eMahlabathini outside Ulundi.

Buthelezi died early on Saturday morning last week after an extended stay at the hospital where he was treated for a back pain.

He later developed complications and was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Buthelezi had been discharged to the care of his family when he took his last breath, two weeks after his 95th birthday.

Cultural experts who spoke to Sunday World on Thursday believe the decorated politician might be laid to rest in a secret location only known to close family members.

The practice is known as ukutshalwa kwenkosi [planting of the king] and is reserved for princes and kings.

It was the same custom that was performed when the late AmaZulu King Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu was buried in March 2021.

According to professor Musa Xulu, an African history expert and the founding chairperson of Indonsa Yesizwe, Buthelezi is likely to be buried in a similar fashion.

Indonsa Yesizwe is a grouping of academics and clergymen who are tasked with protecting the AmaZulu kingship,

“This would be [done to prevent] the body from coming into contact with many unkind spirits that may be carried by some mourners [during the funeral] on Saturday.

“Should that happen, the family will keep it a secret and away from the public and the media,” explained Xulu.

“The family has already asked the public to not come anywhere near KwaPhindangene.”

Another cultural expert and academic, Dr Zakhele Shamase, agrees. He said only men who are of kwaPhindangene blood attend the planting of the king ritual.

“If this happens, an empty coffin would be paraded among mourners but it would not be opened for people to view his body,” said Shamase.

Security has been beefed up for Buthelezi’s send-off. He has been accorded a special official funeral category one, which carries military ceremonial honours.

On Thursday, the Presidency announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at Buthelezi’s funeral.


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