Princess Irene Buthelezi to be laid to rest

The wife of IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi passed away on Monday following a long and difficult illness. She was 89.

FILE: IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and his wife Irene at a polling station near Ulundi where they voted. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Princess Irene Buthelezi will be laid to rest today in KwaZulu-Natal.

The wife of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi passed away on Monday following a long and difficult illness. She was 89.

They were married for 67 years.

The IFP has thanked South Africans for the messages of support and condolences.

Even though she was married to Mangosuthu for 67 years, Buthelezi was known as a freedom fighter in her own right. She also played an important role in leading the IFP’s women-driven economic programmes.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said earlier this week the party honoured the princess for her courage, resilience and endless patience.

The party noted that it was during the dark days of Aids denialism that Princess Irene took a strong stand to destigmatise the illness when she and her husband shared that two of their children had died of Aids-related diseases.