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Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi has died at the age of 95.

The founder of the Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP) died during the early hours of Saturday morning, only two weeks after celebrating his 95th birthday.

Clashes between the IFP and the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1990s led to thousands of supporters of both parties being killed. Many feared that it would lead to a civil war.

Buthelezi eventually ended up serving as Nelson Mandela’s minister of home affairs when he was president of South Africa.

Current president Cyril Ramaphosa said Buthelezi was a formidable leader.

“He played a significant role in our country’s history for seven decades. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has been an outstanding leader in the political and cultural life of our nation, including the ebbs and flows of our liberation struggle, the transition which secured our freedom in 1994 and our democratic dispensation”.

The BBC reports that Buthelezi was born into the Zulu royal family. His mother was Princess Magogo kaDinzulu, the sister of the Zulu king. Chief Buthelezi played the role of his own great-grandfather in the Zulu King Cetshwayo, in the 1964 film Zulu.

Image credit: The New York Times

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