Mangosuthu Buthelezi one of the most important figures in South African politics and a Zulu leader, died at the age of 95.

During apartheid, he founded the Zulu Inkatha party after becoming disillusioned with the African National Congress (ANC).

Thousands of people were killed in clashes between supporters of the two parties in the early 1990s. But later smoothing over their differences, he served as Home Secretary to the President Nelson Mandela.

Chief Buthelezi was an astute but controversial politician who disagreed with the ANC’s tactic of armed action against white minority rule and pursued a moderate course as leader of an ethnic Zulu homeland.

He was opposed to the international sanctions that had been imposed on South Africaarguing that they would only harm the country’s black majority.

During the conflicts of the early 1990s, Nelson Mandela’s ANC accused him of collaborating with the white minority government. Some feared the violence could lead to civil war and derail the transition to democracy that saw Mandela become president in 1994.

Many believed that members of the apartheid security forces were working with the Inkatha movement to fight the ANC, but Buthelezi always denied this.