"I reach out to all the other people who died of HIV/AIDS. My son did."— Mangosuthu Buthelezi, at the end of a tribute to his 53-year-old son, Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict Buthelezi, who died in April 2004 (source). "If we rely on a piece of rubber for our salvation, then we are already doomed."— Mangosuthu Buthelezi, talking to the Cape Town Press Club, while calling for a return to traditional values, including abstinence until marriage (February 9, 2005).
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), has been outspoken on HIV/AIDS policy in South Africa. Perhaps his most prominent contribution to the fight was declaring publicly that his son, Prince Nelisuzulu Benedict, had died of AIDS in 2004. His declaration
was seen by HIV/AIDS activists as a breakthrough in removing the stigma of HIV/AIDS, especially in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. In August 2004 Buthelezi warned Parliament about the danger of complacency. “Only the most naive can continue to believe that they are not going to be directly or indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS because of its being allegedly limited to the poorer reaches of our nation, or those with particular sexual orientations," he said in his address
. “HIV/AIDS has placed me on my knees and destroyed my family, in spite of the lifestyle stringently maintained by my wife and I and the social status we enjoyed,” said Buthelezi. Continuing his role as a patron for HIV/AIDS, he opened the South African version of dance4life, a worldwide event, in November 2006. In the launch of the IFP’s election manifesto
in 2009, Buthelezi criticised government policy regarding HIV/AIDS. “In spite of the best policies, immense international assistance and endless government programmes, South Africa has now the highest infection of HIV/AIDS. No greater failure could be imagined than this tragedy,” he said.