South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has bestowed upon the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi the honour of a Category 1 state funeral. This category is exclusively designated for individuals who have made exceptional contributions and can only be granted by the President. The presidency announced this decision on Tuesday, as mourners continue to gather at KwaPhindangene, near Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal, to pay their respects to the influential Zulu Prince.
What Does a Category 1 State Funeral Entail?
According to the State, Official, and Provincial Official Funeral Policy, Category 1 state funerals are for “persons of extraordinary credentials specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa.” The funeral will include elements of military honours, reinforcing the significance of the ceremony. Flags will be flown at half-mast around the nation from Tuesday, September 12, 2023, until the funeral’s completion, as directed by the President.
Timing and Location
Initial plans suggested that the funeral might take place on Friday; however, sources indicate it is likely to be moved to Saturday. The exact date has yet to be confirmed. Regardless of the final date, the ceremony will be held as mourners continue to arrive at KwaPhindangene to pay homage to the late Prince.
A Life in Public Service
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 95, was a remarkable figure in South African politics. He founded and served as the President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). Moreover, Buthelezi held the title of the longest-serving traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation. His term began in 1954 under King Bhekuzulu and continued under subsequent Zulu monarchs, including King Goodwill Zwelithini and the current King Misuzulu KaZwelithini.
Upcoming Memorial Service
In addition to the state funeral, the IFP has announced a national memorial service in honour of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The service is scheduled for Wednesday at the Prince Mangosuthu regional stadium in Ulundi, where a large attendance is anticipated.
The decision to grant Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi a Category 1 state funeral acknowledges his exceptional contributions to both his community and the nation at large. It is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated his life to public service, a sentiment clearly reflected in the honours he is set to receive.