As head of the KwaZulu government and leader of the IFP, late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi placed a big emphasis on education.
Mangosuthu University of Technology, an institution founded by Buthelezi in 1979, was the first vocational tertiary institution for black people in South Africa.
The institution in Umlazi, south of Durban, has over 14 000 registered students and over 42 000 alumni.
Before his death at the weekend, Buthelezi was asked in an interview with SABC News how he would want the younger generations to remember him.
Buthelezi highlighted his contribution to education, that the erstwhile KwaZulu government under his leadership built schools and colleges of education as well as Mangosuthu Technikon.
Buthelezi on his legacy
Buthelezi said he believed in education for liberation.
He said, “Well I would say that the younger generation should know that during the darkest hour after the killing of our children in Soweto and then the reaction of the liberation movements was that we should boycott education then I differed when the ANC liberation now education later, I countered that with education for liberation so in the area called KwaZulu I built schools, I built colleges of education not only that I actually even built a technikon which today is the Mangosuthu University of Technology, I started a bank.”
MUT acting vice chancellor for teaching and learning, Doctor Manya Makua has high praise for Buthelezi.
He says when the technikon opened in 1979, the engineering department only had 15 students.
Makua says Buthelezi chose to have the institution built in Umlazi, south of Durban, because he believed in the upliftment of disadvantaged communities.
Makua says, “By his domineer he is someone who believed in education, he didn’t find it easy himself to get the kind of education that he got at the time. But in spite of the challenges that he met and in spite of the constraint imposed by the regime at the time, he managed to get the kind of education that he got and out of that I think it stemmed his philosophy that a black child can also achieve the kind of things that he achieved. I’m told he liked to use the phrase abantu abampisholo when he started the institution, he was focusing on people who were disadvantaged.”
Makua adds that their institution maintained good relations with Buthelezi until his last days.
“Dr Buthelezi was always willing to respond to our calls for him to show up at the institution. The recent engagements that we had with him was in our graduation ceremonies in 2022 when we honoured him in the Faculty of Engineering significantly to note that it is the same faculty that started Mangosuthu University.”
The IFP will host Buthelezi’s memorial service in Ulundi on Wednesday.
Activities at the Buthelezi residence: