He is one of the great survivors of South African politics. Mangosuthu Buthelezi is the only major party leader to have contested every election since apartheid gave way to democracy in 1994.
Buthelezi is among the few remaining veterans of the struggle against white minority rule. His role though, is still debated. He formed the Inkatha Freedom Party in 1975, giving a voice to the Zulu nation, and became one of the few black politicians actively engaged in apartheid-era politics.
But in the townships there was sometimes violent hostility between the Zulus and supporters of the African National Congress (ANC). At South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing on apartheid-era crimes, Buthelezi was accused of fomenting the violence, a charge he denied, saying the ANC had betrayed both him and its own ideals.
He was a senior member of President Nelson Mandela’s cabinet, serving as the home affairs minister until 2004.
Elder statesman, esteemed Zulu leader, and prince in the royal house, Buthelezi remains a member of Parliament where he’s considered a voice of reason with a dim view of South Africa’s political future.
We speak to Prince Buthelezi on Talk to Al Jazeera in the hills of Zululand about Jacob Zuma, why he believes his country has regressed and whether South Africa can be put back on the path that Mandela foresaw.
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