I even survived assassination attempts – Prince Buthelezi celebrates his 90th birthday

Celebrating his 90th birthday, Zulu Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said that while he had a blessed life, he had survived many challenges.

"I have survived so many fiery trials, and even assassination plots. I have become a survivor," he said on Sunday as he celebrated at the Exhibition Centre in Durban on Sunday.

He attributed his longevity to God and his family.

"My heart is overflowing with gratitude. I am overwhelmed by the amount of family and believers I have around me. I appreciate all of you, my brothers and sisters," Buthelezi said.

He addressed a large crowd comprising church leaders, politicians and royal dignitaries in what was dubbed a "thanksgiving service".

Buthelezi said that while he has had a blessed life, many challenges came before him.

‘Bonanza’

He described his age as a "bonanza of years".

I have lived far longer than is normal. More than that, God has given me tremendous good health and strength in these twilight years. This has enabled me to serve my country and my people for longer than I could have hoped."

Buthelezi said God taught him how to continually "govern his people".

"I was taught to seek what is good, just and right. God has also given me remarkable men and women of faith, servants of the Lord who have helped me in prayer and inspired me to continue in the darkest moments."

While his wife Princess Irene could not attend the celebration due to ill health, Buthelezi said they had "achieved peace at this great age".

"We have done this knowing that our children have grown to love God with the same love that resides in our hearts."

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said that Buthelezi was a steadfast leader.

"You are one such person blessed with life and years. Like an old wine [you] matured and are a fountain of wisdom that everyone drinks from. You have given us courage in times of immense challenges."