Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo delivers the first Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Annual Lecture at the International Convention Centre in Durban on Human Rights Day on Tuesday.
Obasanjo says Buthelezi displayed the qualities of being a leader from a young age.
“Even at a young age, Prince Buthelezi displayed bravery, which many people spend their whole lives searching for. Indeed it can only be an art of bravery and a common commitment to jeopardise your own future to take such a strong moral stand and in that act of bravery Prince Buthelezi inspired others to follow in his footsteps.”
Buthelezi, he says, was a pivotal figure in South African history, and he urged the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the African National Congress (ANC) to collaborate for the benefit of the South African people.
Thousands of people have gathered for the inaugural Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Annual Lecture at Durban’s ICC on Tuesday. Among the dignitaries are AmaZulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini and former ANC secretary general, Ace Magashule. The day coincides with the founding of the IFP in 1975.
The former Nigerian President describes Prince Mangosuthu as a selfless leader. Obasanjo says Buthelezi’s involvement in the struggle, cost him his education.
“Together with his comrades in the ANCYL they were not disheartened by the 1948 electoral victory of the National Party and the implementation of the system of apartheid they saw this as the most opportune time to agitate, mobilise and organise under the clarion call of freedom in our lifetime.”
Earlier, IFP president, Velenkosini Hlabisa said Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has served South Africans for over seventy years.
“The King of AmaZulu nation we are grateful to his majesty the King, he is with us to honour this historic day where the giant of Africa Dr Olusegun Obasanjo will share his knowledge of the great son of Africa Umntwana wakwa Phindangene. He is a man of the utmost integrity, who has dedicated more than 7 decades of his life to the service of the people of South Africa.”