On the Passing of the Hon. Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini MP

Message of Condolences by
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

16th August 2014.


It has been difficult for me to accept the news of Dr Ambrosini's passing. While we knew it could happen at any stage, given his diagnosis of terminal Lung Cancer in April last year, we had seen him fight back with courage and, in many respects, tremendous success.


He was a fighter. Not only in this battle, but in the many he engaged over the course of some three and a half decades in politics. He believed in challenging conventional thought, dogma and imposed limitations. It was what he dedicated his life to doing.


I first met Dr Ambrosini in 1991 at a UN Security Council meeting when I was introduced to him through my friend Professor Blaustein. Dr Ambrosini was part of the Philadelphia Constitution Foundation and Human Rights Advocates International, a group of international constitutional consultants who, for several years, had been looking for institutional and constitutional solutions to South Africa's transformation process.


My first impression of Dr Ambrosini was of a remarkably bright, talented and tenacious young man, deeply knowledgeable on constitutional law and determined to shape history. Somehow, despite being from two entirely disparate cultures, we felt a profound connection, and developed a close friendship almost immediately.


That friendship lasted over twenty three years, during which time we became colleagues, brothers-in-arms and fellow servants of the people. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could not have done all that destiny called on me to do, without Dr Ambrosini at my side.


There will be place in the coming days for a proper tribute to Dr Ambrosini's remarkable life. There is almost too much to mention even in a thousand eulogies. But it would be remiss if I were not to thank Dr Ambrosini now, even as we come to terms with his sudden absence, for the enormous gift he gave to us all with his fighting spirit.


He was brave to the end. Indeed, I never met a braver man.


On behalf of my Party, the IFP, I express our deepest admiration and thanks. I also extend condolences to Dr Ambrosini's family, to his wife and to his son, whom he loved without measure, to his mother, sisters and brother. We appreciate all that they, and many close friends, did for Dr Ambrosini throughout his most difficult battle.


May our beloved Dr Ambrosini now rest in peace.