IN QUOTES | Mangosuthu Buthelezi's speech after stepping down as IFP leader

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Saturday stepped down as party leader after 44 years at the helm.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Saturday stepped down as party leader after 44 years at the helm.

Former IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi addressed party supporters and attendees at the elective conference on Saturday, which saw Velenkosini Hlabisa being voted in as the new party president.

Buthelezi led the IFP for 44 years. 

Here's his address in seven quotes:

On serving one's country

“A lifetime would never be enough to serve a country, especially a country I love so much.”

We are entering a new season

“We are entering a new season. This new season for the IFP coincides with the season in our country, and I'm not talking about the so-called new dawn, but about the season of struggle that is open in South Africa. After a quarter of a century of freedom, we have moved to a new struggle that will take the same gap and consistency of commitment.”

Different struggle, same fighting methods

“The struggle for this generation is for social and economic justice. Yet our greatest weapon from the struggle of the past is still our greatest weapon now. That is something we need to understand. It was our belief in democratic ideals that sustained us through the onslaught of political oppression, discrimination and hatred. It was the trial for democratic ideals that brought this country through the threshold of change and delivered us safely into freedom.”

We are united

“We have within us the DNA of unity, of integrity and truth. Over 44 years, the IFP has established a legacy. We have consistently been the champions of democratic ideals. Throughout the liberation struggle, no matter the twists and turns, Inkatha remained true to its mission.”

Remembering struggle icons

“I pay tribute to (former) president Nelson Mandela, my friend and fellow freedom fighter, and to other leaders across all political parties, such as Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Steve Biko, several others, who are too numerous to name here.”

I fought for black people

“I protected all black people from being foreigners in their own country.”

My days are numbered

“My greatest sadness is that I won't get to see the next chapter of the IFP. I won't be among the men and women who cross into the promised land of social and economic justice. This is not because I'm stepping down, but because in few days time, next week, I'll be 91 years, and common sense tells me that my time is short.”