Protest action against Buthelezi memorial service at VTM


A small group of people gathered at the Voortrekker Monument in opposition to a memorial service held here for Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, deceased former IVP leader and traditional prime minister of the Zulu kingdom.

The group included, among others, the activist Willem Petzer and members of the Bittereinders.

Frik Wentzel, who organized the protest, said they were fed up with conformity.

“This Voortrekker monument is a church building, our ancestors paid with blood, sweat and tears to have this building here. It is amazing to me that none of our national heroes who have passed away have had a funeral service here; now a foreigner gets a mourning service in the church, a national shrine,” says Wentzel.

“It is about the pursuit of freedom and the right of a people to govern itself; we are fed up with the secrecy with which this type of thing is arranged. The memorial service was originally to take place in the Cenotaph hall, and funny enough, when there was resistance here, it was suddenly moved to another hall. I understand that Buthelezi was one of the Afrikaner’s allies, but it’s not about him, it’s about the principle of conformism,” says Wentzel.

After Buthelezi passed away last weekend at the age of 95, the Voortrekker Monument announced that it would hold a memorial service for the prince on the same day that his state funeral takes place in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal.

Danie Langner, head of the Federation for Afrikaans Cultural Associations (FAK), which manages the Voortrekker Monument, explained that this decision was taken unanimously by the board “against the specific historical background of Afrikaner and Zulu interweaving”.

Langner welcomed the protesters and told them he was glad they were here.

“We are here as Afrikaners, we are here as people whose hearts beat warmly for the Voortrekker monument. I think the one thing we don’t have to doubt is that the Voortrekker Monument is important and precious to everyone here.

“If you talk about Prince Buthelezi himself, there are three things that stand out about him. He was a convinced Christian – he said that the fact that he is a Christian does not make him less Zulu, on the contrary it makes him more Zulu, because his cultural identity is not opposed to his Christianity.

“I can relate to that, because I am a Christian African,” said Langner.

“Prince Buthelezi is the one person who always stood up for his own roots, culture, tradition, language and identity. He also stood up for the fact that we should respect others’ culture, traditions, language, and so on. Prince Buthelezi had a very close relationship with the Afrikaner over many years.”

The group of protesters gathered at the Voortrekker Monument until 11:00 before leaving. The Afrikaner’s memorial service for Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi then proceeded peacefully.