Amabutho set to take Buthelezi's remains to Ulundi Stadium for final salutation

The acting chief of Buthelezi clan, Mpikayise Biyela said the Zulu regiments will take Buthelezi's body and hand it over to the military, and the regiments will do their final salutation to the late Zulu traditional prime minister.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi's body made its way to his KwaPhindangene residence in Ulundi for the last time on 15 September 2023. Picture: Eyewitness News

ULUNDI - The acting chief of the Buthelezi clan Mpikayise Biyela says the Zulu regiments mostly known as Amabutho have an important role to play at Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s funeral on Saturday.

He told Eyewitness News the first part of Saturday’s proceedings will be given to the regiments.

They are expected to take Buthelezi’s remains to the local stadium in Ulundi where his funeral will take place.

Buthelezi, who was the Zulu prime minister is considered to be the second-in-command of Amabutho.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s funeral is the coming together of the many different hats he wore.

It has to be a perfect mix that honours his roles as chief of the Buthelezi clan, founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and as one of the political players who shaped the country’s democracy.

And while the state is involved, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration that this will be an official funeral, his family and party insist it must be a farewell that speaks to Buthelezi’s love for his culture.

On Friday, Zulu regiments fetched him from the mortuary and accompanied him home.

READ: Late Mangosuthu Buthelezi returns to KwaPhindangene palace for final farewell

On Saturday, Biyela – the family’s acting chief said they will return Buthelezi’s remains to the funeral service.

"They will take his body and hand it over to the military and the regiments will do their final salutation to him."

The Zulu king Misuzulu kaZwelithini, who Buthelezi served as prime minister and is also his grandson, will not attend the event. This is in line with Zulu customs that prevent kings from attending funerals.

And while residents from Ulundi prepare to bid the prince his final farewell, they want his legacy to be remembered for many years to come.

On Friday, thousands of these residents lined the streets of the rural town, joining in Amabutho as they formed a guard of honour as Buthelezi’s funeral cortege made its way from the local mortuary to his home.

Many of those lining the path towards Buthelezi’s kwaPhindangene homestead, reflected on the impact he’s had on the community.

Some lauded how he used his well-documented love for development and education to benefit Ulundi and KwaZulu-Natal.

"The prince is our hero here, we have a lot of teachers, he built colleges - children do not go to bed hungry because of the feeding schemes he created, the university of technology - we have lost a giant - as we speak I want to cry, I have no words."

Others told stories of how the elder statesman put himself on the line, defending them against being targeted, with a former employee telling Eyewitness News Buthelezi made sure they felt at home in his personal space.