Mangosuthu Buthelezi gives R90‚000 birthday suit back to Durban designer

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has returned his R90 000 golden birthday suit back to its designer.

Durban tailor Janak Parekh‚ the man who designed the suit‚ told the publication on Tuesday that he was left traumatised and heartbroken after Buthelezi returned the suit‚ that he and his family had gifted to him for his 90th birthday.

“My late parents loved Prince Buthelezi and we wanted to honour him. We came together as a family and thought it would be fitting to gift him with the suit for his 90th birthday‚” said Parekh.

Buthelezi wore the black suit with gold detailing for a massive birthday celebration held at the International Convention Centre in Durban on August 31. Among the guests who attended included former presidents Jacob Zuma‚ FW de Klerk and former first ladies Graca Machel and Zanele Mbeki.

Parekh said that the suit had been handcrafted by five artists from across India and he was worried about their reaction when they found out that the suit had been returned.

“They were very happy when I told them that we would be making a suit for the prince who is from the same country as Nelson Mandela. Now they will be very disappointed that he returned the gift.”

He said that he had been instructed to pick up the suit form the IFP’s Durban office last week Thursday.

As for why the suit was returned Parekh said: “I don’t know why he returned it‚ I can only imagine it was because of the controversy around how much it cost‚” he said.

Parekh maintained that he did not disclose the price of the birthday suit to anyone.

“I don’t know how this even came out‚ I would never reveal how it costs because that is like buying someone a gift and leaving the price tag on it.”

He has since written a letter to Buthelezi hoping to get clarity and closure about the situation.

IFP national spokesperson‚ Mkhuleko Hlengwa‚ said: “The matter is not for public consumption. We can confirm that suit was returned to its maker and we have been instructed not to make any further comments regarding this matter.”

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