South Africa: Mangosuthu Buthelezi Through the Years - As Seen By Zapiro


After 44 years at the helm of the Inkatha Freedom Party, 91-year old Mangosuthu Buthelezi has finally handed over the reins of power to newly anointed IFP president Velenkosi Hlabisa. Over the decades, Buthelezi has been a central and often divisive figure in South African politics. We take a look at some of the memorable moments of his political career - as captured by cartoonist Zapiro.

With text adapted from Zapiro's collection The Mandela Files (2008)

Mangosuthu Buthelezi has always been a bundle of contradictions. He condemned apartheid but collaborated with the regime. He professed to be a peacemaker while inflaming his followers with war talk and asserting their right to carry so-called traditional weapons. He called for liberation while constantly obstructing the liberation movement. Politically, he was a thorn in Nelson Mandela's side while claiming a special relationship with him.

Describing him as sensitive to criticism does not do him sufficient justice - he's known to be the most litigious politician in South Africa. Back in the 1980s, even during the State of Emergency, editors seemed to be more nervous about cartoons in which I featured Buthelezi than cartoons in which I slammed the state. On more than one...

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