The Mercury

Clearing up confusion about Zulu institutio­ns

- PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI | MP and Traditiona­l Prime Minister to the Zulu monarch and Zulu nation

I NOTE from a letter by Mr Mfezeko Bunu (Cape Times, May 6) that he is “perplexed” about my title of traditiona­l Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation. Allow me to assist.

He is right that this position does not match the Western “English” definition of a prime minister. But that does not disqualify the position.

Under colonial rule, the British reduced AmaKhosi to “tribal chiefs” and the king to a “paramount chief”.

That does not change their factual existence. Mr Bunu’s opinion, that I shouldn’t be “given” the title of traditiona­l prime minister because it “suggests that all the Zulu-speaking people support the principles that (I) stand for”, is based on a flawed premise.

If anyone disagrees with the king’s principles, should he no longer be called the king?

Granted, not everyone agrees with social justice, democracy and honest leadership.

But that has nothing to do with why I bear this title. I was appointed by King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, the King of the Zulu Nation, and served in this position under King Goodwill

Zwelithini for almost 50 years.

The position of prime minister, like the position of king, has nothing to do with politics. Thus, regardless of who governs, the institutio­n of the monarchy and Ubukhosi remains. I am part of that institutio­n by birth, blood and appointmen­t.

Mr Bunu is right that I was not one of apartheid’s “stooges” [the regime did not offer Buthelezi any protection at Robert Sobukwe’s funeral in Graaff-Reinet in 1978, which he was forced to leave by angry residents]. But he lacks the full story of Sobukwe’s funeral. I was asked there by the leadership of the PAC. Sobukwe’s family asked me to deliver the oration.

Tragically, however, some thugs who were dissatisfi­ed with the pace of our Struggle threatened lives and disrupted the funeral.

Twenty years later, in recognitio­n of my leadership and friendship with Sobukwe, the PAC invited me to deliver the memorial address at his grave in Graaff-Reinet. I encourage Mr Bunu to read my address.

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