Prince Charles on guest list for Mangosuthu Buthelezi's 90th birthday
A thanksgiving prayer‚ a mass birthday party and a black-tie gala dinner are in store to celebrate the 90th birthday of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Speaking at at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Thursday‚ Buthelezi's son‚ Prince Zuzifa‚ said that the family had taken the decision to celebrate their father and his achievements while they still could.
“At the heart of it (the birthday celebration) is that we talk a lot about why people must always be thanked when they are dead and whenever we stand up at funerals‚ we always say we are here to celebrate so-and-so’s life‚ which is wonderful but they aren't there to hear you and for you to tell them ‘you’ve done well and you can look back and be proud of what you’ve done’‚” he said.
The three-day 90th birthday celebrations will be spread over the month of August.
The celebrations will kick off with a thanksgiving service on August 19 at the Durban exhibition centre‚ followed by mass a party at the Ulundi sports facility on his actual birthday on August 27 and an invitation-only gala dinner on August 31 at the ICC to end the celebrations.
Zuzifa said: “We want to show appreciation for all that he has done‚ not only as a family man‚ but people appreciate him for many different things. The thing that becomes focal for many is the miles he has walked in politics. "
He said that when his father found out what his family was planning for him he was very “embarrassed” because he is not someone who loves the limelight. He was eventually persuaded that the celebrations were important.
The family said that they have invited dignitaries and friends from across the world‚ including Prince Charles‚ the Prince of Wales‚ who is yet to respond.