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S.Africa: Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi's body returns home ahead of state burial

South African politician and Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.   -  
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South Africa

Several Inkatha Freedom Party supporters and traditional Amabutho warriors regiments have paid tributes to the  late Zulu Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

On Saturday mournersgathered for the funeral of veteran South African politician and Zulu chief

First, his remains from the local mortuary was taken and sent to his family household ahead of Sunday's state funeral.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the once-feared Zulu nationalist and historic leader of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) which was implicated in South Africa's deadliest violence ahead of the first all-race elections, died Saturday 9 September aged 95.

"I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi ... Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, and the Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party," Predident Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.

"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," Ramaphosa said.

Details of Buthelezi's funeral, which would traditionally happen on a weekend, have not been announced.

"He quietly and painlessly stepped into eternity in the early hours of the morning" Buthelezi's family said in a statement.

"It will be hard for me to sleep at night in the next coming days" the Zulu monarch, Misuzulu Zulu, said during a televised speech at the annual "reed dance" ceremony in KwaZulu-Natal province.

"As you all know we worked together a lot until the very end, we got along well, I respected him," the king said.

Buthelezi, last week was discharged from hospital after a prolonged stay.

Born of royal blood on August 27, 1928, Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi was to some the embodiment of the Zulu spirit: proud and feisty. To others, he bordered on a warlord.

For years he was defined by his bitter rivalry with South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), a party that was his political home until he broke away to form IFP in 1975.

He led the party from its inception, until the age of 90.

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