Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is a member of parliament (MP) in South Africa, the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party, and a Zulu prince and chief.
After studying history and administration at the Fort Hare university and holding an administrative job at the Department of Bantu Administration, the Prince took up the title of Chief of the Buthelezi clan in 1953.
In 1970, he became Chief Executive Officer of the Kwazulu Territorial Authority, which the government intended to serve as a transitional authority towards full homeland independence. However, Chief Mangosutho Buthelezi refused to accept this lowered status of Kwazulu. He was also instrumental in the formation of the South African Black Alliance in which he was joined by the Labour Party and the KwaNgwane Homeland leader.
Later, the Prince founded an independent political party, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). After the release of all political prisoners and the formation of the Convention for Democratic South Africa (Codesa), he represented the Inkatha Freedom Party in the negotiation for a democratic South Africa.
After the first democratic elections in 1994, Prince Buthelezi served as Minister of Home Affairs for two terms. In 1998 when President Nelson Mandela was in Washington to receive a Congressional Order, he served as Acting President.
He continues to serve both as an MP and leader of the IFP. He has been married to Irene Audrey Thandekile Mzila for almost 64 years, and together they have had three sons and five daughters.
I extend my gratitude to the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for inviting me to witness this afternoon’s groundbreaking ceremony.
You are indeed breaking new ground, for this will be the second temple built in South Africa, following the first in Johannesburg, which was the first on the African continent. We therefore have reason to mark this significant moment as we celebrate the beginning of construction.
I look forward to seeing this temple, for I know that throughout the world the temples of the Latter-day Saints are magnificently designed and beautifully constructed. Visually, they convey the idea that this is a sacred place.
The presence of this temple will prompt those outside the Church to ask questions about their faith in what they believe. For those inside the Church it will provide a place where marriages and families can be sealed, baptisms conducted, and knowledge expanded. It will be a reminder to all to be mindful of the kind of life we are leading.
I appreciate the emphasis on marriage and family through the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints. I married my wife, Princess Irene, in July 1952, and we have remained committed to one another for almost 64 years. The Lord blessed our marriage with eight children, and I am a proud grandfather to many grandchildren. I know what it is to be family-focused.
I also know what it means to lose family members, for my wife and I have buried five of our children who preceded us into eternity. We take great solace in believing that this separation is temporary, and we look forward to being reunited with our children in the presence of the Lord.
This life, undoubtedly, is a testing experience. When I consider the hardship, trials and battles I have endured throughout more than sixty years in leadership and public life, I find it difficult to agree with the hedonists that the primary purpose of life is pleasure. I have had many moments of joy, and I consider myself happy. But I know that my happiness is a gift from God, for only He could bring me through the life I have lived with a smile on my face!
Nevertheless, I would do it again. It was all well worth it. This, I think, is a sentiment that all believers have the satisfaction of expressing, for we live not according to our own dictates, but according to the leading of the Lord. This has allowed me to have no regrets, for, faced with difficult choices, I have simply done what moral conscience dictated.
I know that this too is a central tenet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: to live a morally upright, ethical life, faithful to one’s spouse and family. It is admirable that so many young members of this Church are called into fulltime mission work and spend a considerable amount of time as missionaries at a young age.
There are so many temptations for our youth to follow, and they are so quickly led astray into greed, substance abuse, criminal behaviour, and damaging relationships. By focusing young people on mission work first, before they embark on their own careers, they are being taught the principle of seeking first the Kingdom of God. In this way they will be better equipped to face temptations, and turn away.
We need to give our youth an alternative to despair and destruction. These are very difficult times in South Africa, in which widespread unemployment, poverty and hardship are taking a toll on human dignity. Young people are looking for something they can believe in, for someone to follow. They want to believe that they can create change with their own actions.
This is the promise of democracy: that every individual has a voice and that every voice has significance. Throughout this weekend I am going from community to community encouraging people to register to vote in the coming Local Government Elections. This is about protecting democracy and seeing its promises fulfilled.
In this final Voter Registration weekend, the Electoral Commission has set up stations across South Africa to enable you to register, to check whether you are on the voters’ roll, to see where you will vote on election day, and to record any change of address.
As patriots who believe in doing the right thing for our families and our country, we who are present at this ground-breaking must surely involve ourselves in securing good governance. I have never considered my Christianity separate from my work in politics. I am a Christian who believes in serving my country. As I walk this road, it is good to spend time with fellow believers and to share celebrations like this.
I wish you well as you build the Durban temple, in the hope that the principles of moral living, commitment and family values will deepen in South Africa.
Below are photos of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the Durban temple groundbreaking