(DDP Forum, Durban, 26 April 2007)

Political and human relations, in KwaZulu/Natal, and in the country as a whole, between the Political Parties ANC and IFP, and between members of these Parties, are characterized by tension, intolerance, hostilities, distance, even hatred.

This is a matter quite peculiar, and disturbing, given the fact that relations between mainly African Parties and mainly White parties, and mainly African parties and mainly Indian parties, are not characterized by the same amount of tension, intolerance, hostilities, distance, and hatred, as exist in the relations between ANC members and IFP members. This is a problem which should be an immediate and enduring concern of all members of our society; in particular, this problem should be an immediate and enduring concern of all people living in the Province of KwaZulu/Natal.

The tension, intolerance, hostility, distance, lack of brotherhood and sisterhood, in the relations between ANC and IFP, as organizations and as people, have lowered the spiritual quality of the life of all people in KwaZulu/Natal; this has had a very disabling, negative effect on political relations, on the process of governing the Province, and on social and spiritual life in the entire Province. There is a crisis in the Public Life of the Province, which impacts negatively on the Private Life of all people in the Province.

My task today is to uncover the origins and basis of this crisis in our contemporary Public and Private Life.; to identify clearly the causes, and to put before you Proposals for resolving and ending this crisis, and creating true unity, brotherhood, and sisterhood in our political life, thus raising the spiritual quality of our Public and Private Life.

In 1960, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, Harold Macmillan, visited South Africa, and made an historic speech in the South African Parliament. He warned the exclusively White, governing audience about the “winds of change” blowing down the Continent of Africa.

By “winds of change”, he meant African Nationalism, and the nationalist movements which were already active in all regions of Africa in which African people were still oppressed and not ruling themselves. He warned that there was no way of stopping these “winds of change,” that they are destined to triumph throughout colonial Africa. He advised minority, white-supremacist rulers to come to terms with these “winds of change”.

The message to the White rulers of South Africa was very clear; they then speeded up the implementation of Separate Development to its climax, i. e., granting African people so-called `independence’ within the ethnic enclaves of the country. Thus were born `independent’ Transkei, Venda, Bophuthatswana, Gazankulu, Qwaqwa, and Ciskei.

The stumbling block to the complete success of this policy of Separate Development was the refusal of KwaZulu, under the leadership of Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, to accept `independence’. I shall come back to that issue shortly.

The White government of the National Party was confronted with the problem of KwaZulu, or, as known in Western languages, the problem of the Zulus. Zulus are the largest ethnic group in the country. Keep clearly in mind that Zulus had acquired an international reputation, and world-historical importance, as a result of the Kingdom which grew to enormous and mighty proportions under the leadership of King Shaka. King Shaka was a statesman of world-historical importance, who is considered in many quarters the greatest military genius and strategist in world history. The Zulu Kingdom, as a military force and Power, won fame and respect through the Battle of Isandlwana, when the Zulu Army defeated the Army of the Government of Great Britain. Zulu Generals had established Kingdoms in other areas of the region of Southern Africa, such as in present-day Mozambique (Soshangane), Zimbabwe (Mzilikazi), and Malawi (Angoni Kingdom established by Zwangendaba). One of the English traders who met King Shaka reports that King Shaka instructed him as follows: inform your King that I say he must unite all the White nations; I shall unite all the Black nations; after that we shall unite.


The important point, here, is that Zulus, the Zulu Kingdom, Zulu military heroism and genius, were an important factor in World Power Politics of the 19th century, which had deeply affected world historical consciousness. In the minds and hearts of European and Colonial statesmen and their citizens, Zulus, and the Zulu Kingdom, caused vibrations similar to those caused by the Ottoman Empire, and by the Empire of the Mongols established by Genghis Khan. Thus, general fear, respect, even hatred and grudge, with regard to Zulus, was a significant force in the consciousness of European and Colonial statesmen.

This fear became an important factor in the Liberation struggle. Keep in mind that the pioneering thought that led to the formation of the ANC occurred right here among the Zulus, principally in the mind and soul of Dr. Seme, who consulted very closely with the Royal Family. King Dinizulu, the grandfather of Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, became the Honorary Chairman of the ANC, when it was formed.

As the Liberation struggle began to heat up in South Africa, in the 1970s and 1980s, the fear of the military heroism of the Zulus became a big disturbance and concern in the mind of the White government leaders and their military strategists. They were warned by their senior brothers and sisters in the counter-insurgency units of the developed countries to avoid what happened in the Mozambique liberation struggle!

There is an ethnic community in Mozambique, called the Makonde, along the border with Tanzania. The Makonde seem to have been endowed with the same qualifications and qualities for waging war, and discipline, as the Zulus. When Frelimo managed to recruit a substantial number of Makonde in the Liberation Army, Frelimo became unstoppable, and became victorious.

There was a decision made by strategists of the White State, that everything must be done to drive an impassable wedge between Zulus and the ANC, so that, in their minds, the power that came to FRELIMO from the Makonde, would not come to the ANC from the Zulus! –And literally everything was done by the strategists and agents of the White establishment, domestic and international, by hook or crook, to create enmity between the ANC and KwaZulu.

The strategists of the White State infiltrated its agents with this urgent mission into all Liberation Movements, including ANC and INKATHA, into the entire media, into all educational institutions, into just about all institutions of civil society. Almost all the time, these agents paraded as militant activists. Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi became the focus of attack, for two reasons: 1) The White establishment knew of the close partnership which originally existed between the ANC and Buthelezi, particularly between Buthelezi and ANC President Oliver Tambo; 2) INkosi Buthelezi was the leader of the largest mass organization in the country, at the time, INKATHA YENKULULEKO YESIZWE, which had been formed with the support and encouragement of the ANC.

 INKATHA’s major base was what today is KwaZulu/Natal. Inkosi Buthelezi, as leader of INKATHA, and as Chief Minister of KwaZulu Territorial Authority, and as the Traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu King, and INKATHA, became, in the eyes and minds of the White Establishment and Counter-Insurgency Units, the embodiment of the power of the Zulus. In the minds and strategy of the White Establishment and Counter-Insurgency Units, everything possible had to be done, by hook or crook, to set the ANC and Inkosi Buthelezi at war with each other, to prevent the repetition of the FRELIMO scenario. Agents in all organizations, movements, media, youth organizations, even religious organizations –throughout civil society- were charged with implementing this strategy.

We know, for example, how all of us, except Agents of the White State, were shaken, shocked, dismayed, and made angry, by the killing of people in moving trains, in the 1980s, by Boipatong and other killings in Hostels. We now have been told about the report of the Steyn Investigation on the role of the Third Force in the violence of the 1980s and early 90s, which was commissioned by President De Klerk. I am quoting from an article which appeared in the Sunday Tribune, April 30, 2006, p. 4:

The South African military was up to its neck in “third force” activities –including a horrific series of train massacres, and hostel and township violence in the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu-Natal- according to a declassified report which has just emerged…Declassified intelligence documents give weighty credence to allegations that structures in the military, as well as paramilitary structures, in cahoots with people in the railways, co-ordinated and, in many cases, executed, the indiscriminate series of train massacres that left hundreds dead and injured. The documents also refer to Military Intelligence units as having played a role in the horrible spate of hostel killings that occurred in tandem with the train massacres of the early 1990s. In particular, the activities of the special forces Unit 5 Reconaissance Regiment…was singled out. As alleged in a staff paper prepared for the Steyn inquiry…operatives of 5 Recce were directly involved in the commission of the series of murders on commuter trains. Five Recce was, at that time, a hybrid Special Forces outfit made up largely of former Rhodesians and Portuguese-speaking former guerillas from Angola and Mozambique.

Remember that in the original news reports on these horrible events, there was always a sentence quoting alleged witnesses saying that the perpetrators of these massacres “were heard speaking Zulu.” YOU GET THE POINT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS! “They were heard speaking Zulu”!  The intention, here, was to immediately link these massacres with INKATHA, as indeed, many people were made to think! The intention was to immediately link these massacres with Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, as, indeed, many people were led to think!


The important point here is this: The Third Force committed these massacres and evil deeds, made these massacres to appear as acts of Zulus, so as to sow hatred, hostility, division, inhumanity, and war, within the African community, so as to create and intensify hatred, hostility, inhumanity, and war between the ANC and INKATHA, between the ANC and Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Now that we know the truth, we have to remove this poison and terrible, dark cloud which has blinded us, poisoned the inner lining of our hearts and minds, and, like maddened bulls, forced us to hurl one another to death and perdition.


Now that we know the truth, that it was the Third Force which committed these massacres and evil deeds, as self-defense against the Liberation struggle, aimed at getting Africans to fight among themselves, let us free those who were falsely accused for these massacres and evil deeds, and free ourselves from the artificially crafted lie, which has been the deep furrow down which has flowed the blood and expired lives of tens of thousands of African people in this Province and in Gauteng; this is the artificially and deliberately crafted lie which has soiled our souls.


The Third Force also took steps to create hostility between Zulus and Xhosas, and painted the ANC as an organization of Xhosas.

This was not all: there were revelations, also, which appeared in the Press, of the concentrated, furious drive engaged in by Agents of the White State to prevent Steve Biko from sneaking out of the country to Botswana, to attend a secret meeting with ANC President Oliver Tambo, which had been requested by the ANC. Steve Biko was detained, and was subsequently killed in prison. In the Sowetan of 4 June 1993, there was an article about “Operation Thunderstorm”. I am quoting: “At the core of the operation is a group of special agents led by a former journalist and a policeman, who are in charge of a disinformation campaign to create division within the ANC, PAC, and AZAPO.” (p. 9)

All this, of course, was part and parcel of the age-old strategy of `divide and rule.’

Throughout the 1980s, and early 1990s, I tried to warn our people, in most newspapers of this country, and in my public addresses, that we were being set by Agents to fight among ourselves, and to hate one another! But to no avail. I argued that the enemy, in self-defense against the Liberation struggle, has dug a huge, deep hole, and led us to hurl ourselves into it. We hurled ourselves into the gigantic hole dug by Agents of the White State.




Let me turn to another major causal factor in this hostility, intolerance, hatred, distance, and lack of brotherhood and sisterhood, between the ANC and IFP: that is, the role of youth in the Liberation struggle.

Throughout history, youth, as a category of the population, has played a remarkable role in movements for social change, particularly, in the last two hundred years, university and high school students.

In normal human society, even when people are dealing “with immensities of life,” to use Herbert Dhlomo’s poetical words, youth take up the challenge of fighting evil and dealing with these “immensities” having absorbed the spiritual/mental riches of the past, and having sifted and made their own, elements of the wisdom of the preceding generation. In the normal course of history, there is a conveyor-belt, which carries insights, the genius, generalizations, and wisdom, from one generation to the following generation.

Let me quote the words of one of history’s great political leaders and thinkers:

…let us consider the historic succession not of classes, but of generations. Their continuity is expressed in the fact that each one of them, given a developing and not a decadent society, adds its treasure to the past accumulations of culture. But before it can do so, each new generation must pass through a stage of apprenticeship. It appropriates existing culture and transforms it in its own way, making it more or less different from that of the older generation. (Trotsky, Leon, Literature and Revolution, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 1960, p. 194. My emphasis -HWV)

The absolutely crucial point for us is that the culture and logic of political resistance within the country suffered tremendously from the banning of the ANC and PAC from 1960 to 1990. With the banning of political activity by the White State, the conveyor-belt carrying insights, the genius, generalizations, and elements of wisdom, from the old generation of ANC and PAC leaders, to the following generation, broke down.

Nelson Mandela was acutely aware of this problem. On 4 May 1990, at a news conference he held together with then State President De Klerk, former President Mandela was asked about the intolerance and violence that was apparent in the struggle. In answer, Madiba pointed out that the ANC had always accepted the co-existence of different political movements, and had always opposed the forceful imposition of any movement’s views upon the people. Then, he spoke directly to our problem.

He pointed out that the post-Sharpeville State banning of ANC and PAC resulted in many experienced and mature leaders being imprisoned, and others going into exile. The vast majority of adults simply withdrew from politics. A vacuum of experienced, adult, and wise leadership emerged. Mandela pointed out that there was no one adult, experienced, and wise, left to teach the new, young political generation tolerance and discipline, to embody the tradition of tolerance and humanism in the struggle.

Indeed, after Sharpeville, there was almost the silence of the grave yard in the country, as far as liberation politics were concerned. The only critical voices in the African community that could be heard, were those of Black students, as well the voice of KwaZulu Chief Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. We come to the crux of the problem in revolutionary tactics at the time. The Black Student Movement (BCM) denied Buthelezi legitimacy, solely because he operated within what was called “ a government-created institution.” BCM said that what Buthelezi said was correct, but his voice and actions could not be accepted as representing the oppressed, because he was working within the government-created institution. For him to win legitimacy as spokesperson and leader of the oppressed black masses, he must first resign from the government-created institution, they said.       

The immaturity of this position must be pointed out, and the correction of this youthful error effected, decades after the seventies, because the terrible effects of this error are still with us, and have played their part in contributing to the current degeneration of our Public and Private life.

This is an issue which has arisen in all revolutionary struggles –the issue of legal and illegal forms of struggle, and the issue of boycott as a revolutionary measure.  The most thoughtful, insightful, and realistic revolutionary leaders, across the world, have formulated a position and recommendation on this. Political activists, and `revolutionaries’, not familiar with revolutionary theory as guide to revolutionary practice, are apt to make serious mistakes, which can seriously endanger the correct development of the mass movement for change; these mistakes can trigger conflicts, divisions, and in-fighting, within the communities fighting for radical changes, and produce human tragedies, as they have in our country.


 In our country, Nelson Mandela addressed this issue in February 1958, in an essay on “boycott as a political weapon and on parliamentary representation”:

In some cases…it might be correct to boycott, and in others it might be unwise and dangerous…In the opinion of some people, participation in the system of separate racial representation in any shape or form…is impermissible on principle and harmful in practice. According to them such participation can only serve to confuse the people and to foster the illusion that they can win their demands through a parliamentary form of struggle…

The basic error in this argument lies in the fact that it regards the boycott not as a tactical weapon to be employed if and when objective conditions permit but as an inflexible principle which must under no circumstances be varied…

In its struggle for the attainment of its demands the liberation movement avails itself of various political weapons, one of which might (but not necessarily) be the boycott. It is, therefore, a serious error to regard the boycott as a weapon that must be employed at all times and in all conditions. In this stand there is also the failure to draw the vital distinction between participation in such elections by the people who accept racial discrimination and who wish to co-operate with the Government in the oppression and exploitation of their own people on the one hand, and participation in such elections, not because of the desire to co-operate with the Government but in order to exploit them in the interest of the liberatory struggle on the other hand. (Mandela, Nelson, “Our Struggle Needs Many Tactics”, The Struggle is My Life, London, International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, 1978, pp. 69-70)

Both Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu wrote very important essays in 1976 and 1978, while still imprison, which dealt with the issue of how the liberation movement must deal with Bantustans. The views expressed in these essays coincide with the best of revolutionary theory formulated by the greatest revolutionary leaders and theorists of modern history. Again, I quote Mandela:

The anti-Apartheid parties are amongst the forces inside the country that continue to expose the evils of colour oppression and in their respective areas fill the void that was left when we were driven underground or into exile. There may be plenty to criticize in the policies and tactics of the Democratic Party of the Transvaal, the Seoposengwe Party of Bophuthatswana and the Coloured Labour Party…Can we afford to label anti-apartheid parties such as these as stooges merely because their tactics differ from ours? Would it not be in the interests of the struggle as a whole to work with them and give them encouragement in their effort to defeat apartheid? Or better still, has the moment not arrived for us to establish our own political organizations in the Bantustans through which we can address the people directly and through which we can work with other any-apartheid groups? But a divided movement in which freedom fighters fight among themselves cannot win over any substantial section of the population. Only a united movement can successfully undertake the task of uniting the country. (Mandela, Nelson, “Clear The Obstacles And Confront The Enemy”, Reflections in Prison, edited by Mac Maharaj, Cape Town, Zebra and Robben Island Museum, 2001, p. 15)

Walter Sisulu did not mince his words:

One of our greatest mistakes is to see in every man and woman who works within these apartheid institutions an enemy of the revolution. (Sisulu, Walter, “We Shall Overcome”, Reflections in Prison, edited by Mac Maharaj, op. cit., p. 89)

This issue was discussed most thoroughly in the Russian Social-Democratic Movement. In 1920, Lenin summed up the correct attitude thus:

In 1908 the “Left” Bolsheviks were expelled from our Party for stubbornly refusing to understand the necessity of participating in a most reactionary “parliament”…If you want to help the “masses” and win the sympathy and support of the “masses”, you should not fear difficulties, or pinpricks, chicanery, insults and persecution from the “leaders”…, but must absolutely work wherever the masses are to be found. You must be capable of any sacrifice, of overcoming the greatest obstacles, in order to carry on agitation and propaganda systematically, perseveringly, persistently and patiently in those institutions, societies and associations –even the most reactionary- in which proletarian and semi-proletarian masses are to be found. (Lenin, V. I. “Left-Wing Communism –An Infantile Disorder,” Collected Works, Vol. 31, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1966, pp. 35, 53)

The position expressed clearly by Mandela, Sisulu, and Lenin speaks forcefully against the stance of Youth at the time –the stance of opposition and condemnation of all individuals who were working within “government-created institutions,” the opposition and condemnation which paved the way to physical attacks against Councellors in towns and cities, and against officials in Homelands, which opened the way for the intervention of the Third Force, to the burning of houses, offices, and deaths.

What I must emphasize most forcefully is the opinion and feeling which was expressed by both Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu that, barring the direct oppressors of our people, there is no one who is expendable from the point of view of the liberation struggle. Over and over again, they call for, and favour, unity of the people struggling against oppression.

The issue discussed by Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu expressed the original attitude of the ANC towards Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

When the leadership of the ANC realized that the National Party government was set to implement the policy of Separate Development in what is now KwaZulu/Natal, they decided to ask Prince Buthelezi, who was in the ANC movement, to take up  Chieftainship, and stand for the leadership of KwaZulu, so that Prince Buthelezi could continue the struggle against white supremacy, within Separate Development, following the tradition of the ANC.

An old ANC stalwart, Mr. Cleopas Ntsibande, still alive, who was Accused No. 68 in the Treason Trial of 156 ANC leaders, who was also Oliver Tambo’s neighbour in Benoni, was asked by Chief Albert Luthuli and Oliver Tambo to go to see Prince Buthelezi’s sister, Princess Morgina, who was married to Dr. Dotwana. Mr. Ntsibande’s mission was to inform Princess Morgina that the leadership of the ANC is requesting her to relay their recommendation to her brother, Prince Buthelezi. I also had the privilege of visiting Mr. Walter Sisulu, at his house, together with Mr. Thulani Gcabashe; and Mr. Sisulu confirmed that such a decision was, indeed, made by the ANC leadership.

Throughout those years, up to approximately 1980, the ANC had close comradely relations with Inkosi Buthelezi, specifically the relations between Inkosi Buthelezi and Oliver Tambo. Tambo and Buthelezi met many times outside the borders of South Africa, to exchange views and coordinate matters. Throughout those years, at no time did the ANC regard Buthelezi as an enemy.

There is a striking event which still lives in my mind. One day, towards the end of the 1970s, I, Oliver Tambo, and Professor Ben Magubane were walking on Amsterdam Avenue, towards Lincoln Towers, in New York City. As we were walking, Tambo said: “I am having problems with these boys.” I could feel there was something heavy coming. I asked, “Which Boys?” Tambo replied, “These 76 boys. They say I must stop having relations with Buthelezi, in fact, that I should consider him an enemy.” I could feel the weight; we continued walking in silence for some seconds. Then, Tambo uttered one word in Nguni: “Abazi.”

The tragedy is that the voices and pressure of those who “did not know” ultimately won.

I have not asked Professor Magubane whether he still remembers this event; but it remains very clear in my mind.

“Abazi.” –that is the problem which the old ANC leadership never dealt with. In 1995, I wrote as follows in City Press:

White supremacy’s strategy of defeating African nationalism was through dividing black people along ethnic lines. A policy of creating “independent nations” was announced. The traditional leaders of Transkei, Ciskei and a few others accepted independence; those of KwaZulu, led by Buthelezi, rejected this policy.

The roots of today’s conflict between the ANC and Inkatha are tangled up in the relation between the ANC and Buthelezi at the time, and the misunderstanding of that policy by youth.

ANC leaders had decided to rely on their colleague, Buthelezi, to carry the flame of opposition to white supremacy within the legal framework inside the country. Buthelezi’s work had the support of the exiled ANC leaders, as well as of the adult leaders in Robben Island.

The old ANC leadership made a serious mistake by not telling this truth to youth then engaged in political struggle. Suppression of the truth about public life is most dangerous to the spiritual health of society.

The oldest generation of ANC leaders still alive owe the nation the full truth about the connection between the ANC and Buthelezi at the time –for this relationship, and the suppression of the truth about it, is a central cause of the current war and hatred within the African community.

ANC leaders of the time, Walter Sisulu, Dr. Chonco, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and others, must tell us the full truth about what happened at the time, to free us from this curse. (City Press, July 23, 1995)

When the President of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthuli, died, the ANC requested Dr. Buthelezi to deliver the main address at the funeral; just as when Robert Sobukwe died, the Sobukwe family requested Dr. Buthelezi to speak at the funeral.

Youth, which in the 1970s and 1980s was declared to be the `vanguard’ of our struggle, was not properly informed and educated by the elders of the ANC and PAC on these matters, above all on the need to combine legal and illegal forms of struggle, and on the correct policy on boycott. They were not informed and advised on relations which existed between the ANC and Inkosi Buthelezi, from the very beginning to 1980. Youth of the BCM generation grew up and developed with these facts, theory, and culture missing in their political education.  Many have grown older, and have risen to leadership positions in political parties as well as in government. This gap, or vacuum, in their knowledge and political culture must be filled, so that we can have peace, brotherhood and sisterhood in our Public and Private life. A great political leader and theorist wrote: “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.” When you are dealing with masses of people, incorrect theory can pave the way for terrible mistakes and human tragedies.

We know that Inkosi Buthelezi was untiring in efforts to convince the leaders of Homelands not to accept independence; as well as in efforts to convince the leadership of the Indian and Coloured communities not to accept the Tri-Cameral System, which was to give rise to parliamentary houses for Indians and for Coloureds.

We also know that when National Party leaders raised the issue of holding negotiations with INKATHA leaders, the conditions set by the team sent by Dr. Buthelezi, led by Dr. Dhlomo, were, in the main, the same conditions which were set by the ANC as a pre-requisite for negotiations:

1.    The must be an end to the State of Emergency

2.    Government must declare an end to Apartheid

3.    ANC and PAC, and other banned organizations, must be unbanned

4.    Political prisoners must be released, in particular Nelson Mandela

5.    Political Exiles must be allowed to return to South Africa.

The establishment of INKATHA was with the support and encouragement of the ANC. Consultations and discussions between the ANC and INKATHA were continuous, indeed, have been continuous. In the 1970s, the late Mr. Mabhida, and, later, Mr. Jacob Zuma, played a prominent role as negotiators and messengers between the leadership of INKATHA and the leadership of the ANC. The key person, on the side of INKATHA was Rev. C. Mthethwa. In the 1970s, these men met often, in Swaziland, sometimes in Mozambique, not to make peace between two organizations at war, or on hostile terms, but as men who represented two organizations fighting the same struggle, one, outside the country, engaged in armed struggle, the other, inside the country, engaged in struggle that can be conducted within the legal framework of the White State. This was, and is, totally acceptable within the principle pronounced by Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, namely, that the struggle for liberation uses many forms of weapons, military as well as non-military.

When the leadership of INKATHA felt the need to establish a magazine, the application for funds for such a publication went to SIDA, in Sweden, with the backing and support of the ANC leadership, especially of ANC President Tambo, who traveled to Sweden to meet with Dr. Buthelezi and the Swedes.

It was in Sweden that Dr. Buthelezi delivered the important address, “My Role Within Separate Development”, which was later published by the ANC journal Sechaba.

The main point in all I have said is that there is absolutely no justification for conflict, hostility, lack of brotherhood and sisterhood, distance, and hatred, between the ANC and IFP as organizations and as human beings. Actual historical facts bear that out.


In my view, the tragedy before us has arisen out of two sources:

1.    Wrong theory as guide to mass political action, resulting primarily from the fact that experienced, mature, wise adults were absent as advisors and guide to Youth that was in political combat. Because adult political activity was banned, Youth became, we may say, a `stand-alone’ vanguard of the struggle. The consequences of the Banning of the ANC and PAC, which removed adult leadership in politics, and wrong revolutionary theory as guide to mass political activity, had negative effects on political developments within the African community.

2.    The Third Force which infiltrated its agents into all movements, as agents-provocateur, with the instruction to make sure that Africans are always fighting among themselves, to sabotage all genuine peace efforts, making sure that there is no Unity among Africans.



In an essay that was published in 1995, I wrote the following about the relation between the ANC and Inkosi Buthelezi:

“The full truth about the relation between Dr. Buthelezi and the old ANC leadership before 1976 still has to be told…. I am almost certain that we shall yet live to see the ANC in the future `rehabilitating’ Dr. Buthelezi as a hero of the ANC, once the truth is fully known –or, as they used to say in the Soviet Union, once the `party archives have been fully opened to younger historians’ in search of the full truth about the past.” (Herbert Vilakazi, “South Africa and Civil Society”, in Civil Society After Apartheid, edited by Richard Humphries and Maxine Reitzes, Johannesburg, Centre For Policy Studies, 1995, p. 80)

In the discussions which have taken place between the ANC and IFP in recent years, some agreements have been jointly made, which, if implemented, can be extremely helpful in bringing about brotherhood and sisterhood between the two parties. Indeed, a good start in establishing peace, brotherhood, and sisterhood between members of the ANC and IFP is the implementation of the agreements already reached.

A crucially important agreement relates to the recognition of the contribution of Inkosi Buthelezi, working hand in hand with the ANC, in the liberation struggle in the 1970s. There is also agreement by both Parties regarding the role of the Third Force in stirring tensions, conflicts, and violence between them.



This is what I propose:


1.    The top leadership of the ANC and IFP should jointly issue an official statement acknowledging and appreciating the contribution of Inkosi Buthelezi in the liberation struggle of the country. In other words, Inkosi Buthelezi should be rehabilitated as a Hero of the ANC, for the very important work he performed when he was still working hand-in-hand with the late ANC President Oliver Tambo. Inkosi Buthelezi and INKATHA were viewed as an asset to the Liberation Struggle by the leadership of the ANC right up to 1980. We should be guided here by the spirit of reconciliation, and love of peace, brotherhood and sisterhood, which was in the heart of Walter Sisulu, which live in the hearts of Nelson Mandela and Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Up to the end of the 1970s, the old leadership of the ANC considered INKATHA and Inkosi Buthelezi as an asset to the Liberation struggle. At the founding of INKATHA, ANC people were also present. A. W. G. Champion, for example, and the old man Msimang, who was an assistant to Pixley Ka Seme, gave their full support to INKATHA and Inkosi Buthelezi. Prisoners in Robben Island, from KwaZulu/Natal, whose term was ending, were told by the old leadership in Robben Island to go back home and join INKATHA. Not a few of the youth of the time, who later emerged in the leading circles of the ANC, were members of INKATHA Youth Brigade. There is nothing which shall hurt us if we admit that Inkosi Buthelezi and INKATHA were an asset to the ANC until the quarrel and split beginning in 1980. This is a truth the denial of which is the biggest cause of bitterness in the hearts and minds of IFP members. According to voting statistics from the last election, half the voters of this Province are IFP and half are ANC. The stigmatization of Inkosi Buthelezi and INKATHA is, therefore, the stigmatization and rejection of half the African people of this Province. You cannot foster brotherhood and sisterhood, and humanism, unity, and genuine peace, under such circumstances. Abraham Lincoln said, quite correctly, “A House divided against itself cannot stand.” This Province is divided against itself. Under such circumstances, this Province shall move like a crippled person, and shall remain spiritually unhealthy; and successful development and good governance of the Province shall ever be unattainable. Let me paraphrase the words of the Old Hymn, which Churchill quoted often to the British public during the darkest days of World War 2: “Be ye men and women of valour.” Yibani abantu besilisa nabesifazane abanobuqhawe.”

2.    In the light of the Steyn Report about the involvement of the Military of the White State in perpetrating violence and murders of African people in KwaZulu/Natal and in the Witwatersrand region, the violence and murders which were attributed to INKATHA and Inkosi Buthelezi, the leadership of the ANC and IFP should issue a joint statement removing this unjust blame for violence and killings in the 1980s and 1990s from INKATHA and Inkosi Buthelezi.

3.    There should be a huge RECONCILIATION ceremony held in the Province of KwaZulu/Natal, led by King Zwelithini, at whose side shall be Former President Nelson Mandela, Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President Thabo Mbeki, ANC Deputy-President Jacob Zuma, KwaZulu/Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele, Deputy-Chairperson of KwaZulu/Natal ANC Dr. Zweli Mkhize,  The Speaker of KwaZulu/Natal Legislature, Mr. Willis Mchunu, and KwaZulu/Natal Judge-President Justice Vuka Shabalala. The main event, here, shall be the affirmation of the comprehensive agreement of the ANC and IFP to bury their hostilities and re-establish true brotherhood and sisterhood among themselves as Parties and as human beings. This Comprehensive Agreement shall consist of the affirmation of Proposal One and Two above, and the affirmation of the terms of agreement which were reached and drafted by the team of ANC and IFP members, which was chaired by Rev. Celani Mthethwa. Also invited to the ceremony shall be: The King of Swaziland; The King of Lesotho; The King of Botswana; Leaders of Political Parties, Governments, and Traditional Leaders from the SADDC countries; Izangoma and Traditional Healers; The entire national, provincial, and local leadership of ANC and IFP; AMAKHOSI from KwaZulu/Natal; AMAKHOSI from the Eastern Cape; AMAKHOSI from Mpumalanga; AMAKHOSI from North-West Province; AMAKHOSI from Limpopo; AMAKHOSI from Free State; AMAKHOSI from Northern Cape; AMAKHOSI from Western Cape;Gauteng; Leaders of all Political Parties; Leader of Isonto Lama-Nazaretha, Ubaba U SHEMBE; Leader of the ZCC, Bishop Lekganyane; Leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Ndungane; and all other Bishops and Church leaders in the country; Traditional Dancers/Artists; Rank and File members of all Political Parties, particularly of the ANC and IFP; the Public; the entire Media, domestic and international.

4.    At the same Event should be a Ritual concerning the more than 20,000 people who died during the civil war that occurred in KwaZulu/Natal in the 1980s and 1990s. A ritual, according to African culture in this Province, should be performed relating to these thousands of people who lost their lives unnecessarily:

  • Ukubuyisa ceremony: the spirits of these tens of thousands of people, who died cruel, unnecessary deaths, are hanging like a dark spiritually poisoning cloud over us; a ceremony of bringing these people-in-spirit back to our normal life, should be conducted, according to African tradition.
  • Ukuxolisa: we, the living, who, in our totality are responsible for these deaths, must make peace with the departed, and achieve forgiveness of heart and mind for what occurred.
  • Ukugeza Isizwe sonke: the entire people of the Province of KwaZulu/Natal must be ritually cleansed, as African culture dictates the necessity of a cleansing ceremony for those who have partaken of unclean, cruel, abnormal, inhuman experiences.

5.  We must build a Public, Symbolic Monument with the

names of all those who died in that civil war. It shall be

unveiled and consecrated in a ceremony led by the King,

assisted by Former President Mandela, Inkosi Mangosuthu

Buthelezi, President Thabo Mbeki, Deputy-President of the

ANC Jacob Zuma, KwaZulu/Natal Premier Sibusiso

Ndebele, Deputy-Chairperson of the KwaZulu ANC Dr.

Zweli Mkhize, the Speaker of the KwaZulu/Natal

Legislature Mr. Willis Mchunu, and KwaZulu/Natal

Judge President Justice Vuka Shabalala. All the Persons

and Personalities invited for the ceremony in Paragraph

4 above shall be invited.

6.  This gathering is constituted as the People’s Forum; and

                 the Managing Director of Democracy Development

Programme, Dr. Rama Naidu, shall convey this

document and Proposals to King Zwelithini, to the

Official leadership of the ANC and IFP, to President

Thabo Mbeki, to Former President Nelson Mandela,

to the Premier of KwaZulu/Natal, to the

Speaker of KwaZulu/Natal, to all Houses of Traditional

Leaders in the country, to the Speaker of the

National Assembly, to be read and adopted by

Government at the National, Provincial, and

Local Levels, to the Independent Electoral

Commission, to Leaders of all Political Parties

represented at the National, Provincial, and Local

Levels, to Religious institutions, to Civil Society

at-large, and to the Media.

7.  This document and the Proposals should be handed

to the ANC-IFP Team, which was led by Rev. Celani

Mthethwa, so that the Team can harmonize the

Proposals with the Agreements the Team already

drafted, and hand the final document to the leadership

of both Parties for approval and implementation in the

day-to-day Political life of the nation.

8.  The document and Proposals shall be translated into

IsiZulu and other official languages of the country.


About Professor Herbert W. Vilakazi

Professor Herbert Vilakazi was born at Nongoma, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa. He received his tertiary education at Columbia University, and at the New School For Social Research, both in New York City, USA. He has taught sociology and other social sciences at various tertiary institutions in and around New York City (City College of City University, Essex County College in Newark, Livingstone College, and State University of New York). He has also taught at the University of Transkei (now Walter Sisulu University), University of the Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, and University of Zululand. He served as Deputy-Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission from 1998 to 2004. He has also served as Special Advisor to the Premier of KwaZulu/Natal (2005-2007). He is Chairperson of Vilakazi Development Strategies.
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