Buthelezi is a prince and you’d better call him that… even if you are the president

Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi is a prince and calling him a chief may just earn you his wrath. Just ask President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa invited Buthelezi’s ire when he allegedly referred to Buthelezi as “chief” during a news bulleting about a meeting he held with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and the IFP leader.

But what seems to have exacerbated the matter‚ according to the IFP‚ is that their efforts to communicate their disapproval have simply been ignored by the Office of the President.

In a statement‚ the party said it raised the matter with Ramaphosa’s office in a letter sent via email.

“The IFP expresses its disappointment and great displeasure regarding the disrespect and mistreatment received from the Office of the President‚ Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s been weeks since the IFP wrote a letter to His Excellency‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ expressing its disappointment with the manner in which the president referred to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi as ‘chief’.

“The email sent indicated that it was indeed delivered to one of the personal assistants in the Office of the President. To this day no acknowledgement of the email received from the Office of the Presidency‚” IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala said.

But it is the reminder of the “Gatsha” book that prompted the IFP to remind the ANC president that Buthelezi is not just a prince‚ he is a member of the Zulu royal family and should be addressed accordingly.

‘Gatsha Buthelezi: The Chief with a Double Agenda’‚ written by ANC academic and researcher Nobleman “Mzala” Nxumalo‚ was removed from circulation 20 years ago after Buthelezi claimed that it defamed him.

“This is why this has upset many of our people… It touches a raw nerve because the ANC instructed their late researcher‚ Mzala Nxumalo‚ to write a defamatory book on the Prince.

“It is still one of the barriers to complete reconciliation between the ANC and the IFP‚ since leaders like Jacob Zuma and Blade Nzimande have gone on TV lauding Nxumalo’s work‚” the IFP said.

Until the Office of the President responded to the IFP’s email - or issues an apology - Gwala said the party would wonder what reason the president has for continuing to use “that colonial title of chief which to us is the same as k****r over 20 years after our democratic dispensation”.

X