Buthelezi at 80

(August 17, 2008)

On June 12, 2008, President Thabo Mbeki made a remarkable statement in Parliament regarding the role and significance of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in the political life of this nation in the past few decades:

In particular I would like to thank all the Hon Members, and would in this instance like to single out the Hon Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, for the kind remarks they made about me personally. I sincerely value everything they said, knowing as I do that it was spoken honestly.In this context I must confirm that within my personal knowledge, the Hon Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi told the truth when he spoke about his relations with the late President of the ANC, OR Tambo. Our history, like life itself, produced outcomes that might not have been intended by the actors. When I first [met] the Hon Dr Buthelezi many decades ago, as he said, I approached him as a political senior to myself, and a comrade-in-arms. In the years since he stopped serving in the national government, I have made it a point to listen carefully to everything he said. Constantly, I have marvelled at his wisdom and his deep concern to sustain a value system that is critical to the survival of our democracy. I was very pleased when, yesterday, the Hon Essop Pahad acknowledged Shenge’s unfailing sense of courtesy. Even at my age, this is a deeply human characteristic I must still emulate successfully from Umntwana wa kwaPhindangene. Shenge, many thanks for everything you have done for all of us. Yesterday you quoted the Latin saying by Seneca – errare humanum est – to err is human! (Response of President Thabo Mbeki to the Debate on The Presidency Budget Vote: National Assembly, Cape Town, 12 June 2008)

This nation is now 14 years old as a modern democratic society. This is a little more than half-way towards a full generation. It is well known that every generation rewrites history. In our case, this is a two-fold challenge. First, there is the rewriting of history to include the activities and thoughts of the African people, the majority of society, and of Indians and Coloureds, whose roles as makers of history was not considered history by White historians. Second, there is need to correct errors in history-writing due to class, gender, urban, rural, cultural and political prejudices and partisanship, even when history is being written by historians of the new democratic order. New questions are asked, and new evidence is sought: Did it actually happen that way?

Each and every conflict, between individuals, between groups, and between nations, introduces major deliberate or unconscious distortions in the writing of history. Hence the need felt by every generation and sector of society to rewrite history.

There are, in addition, errors in the writing of history which come from nature itself. The truth is like the moon. The moon is not stationary; it is in motion in the cosmos around the sun. As the moon, the earth, and the sun, move and rotate, the moon appears differently to us; one part is under a shade now, while another part is clearly visible; later, that which was in shade gets into light, and that which was in light falls under the shade. Different angles of vision emerge. All this is due to time and motion affecting everything in life.

In discussing in a scholarly, impartial way the role of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in recent South African history, we are, as it were, in the field of the archeology of the Liberation Struggle of South Africa, revealing what now lies buried and unknown to many people, particularly to the young generation. Archeologists come with pick, shovel, and spade, and dig on the surface of deserts, forests, and grassland, and discover cities buried underground long ago. Those buried cities constitute human history long hidden from us. Rewriting human history allows us to add as new data the efforts and creative work of those nameless human beings who built those buried cities.

On 10 August 2008, the President of the ANC, Mr. Jacob Zuma, addressed an audience of Church organizations in Durban, in which he pleaded for prayers for achieving unity between the ANC and IFP. He testified, as he and Dr. Buthelezi had also testified at the funeral of Rev. C. J. Mthethwa, that the ANC and IFP have a common origin. “Vele umlando uyaveza ukuthi lezi zinhlangano zinombumbi oyedwa” (Isolezwe, 11 August 2008, p. 3). At the funeral of Rev. Mthethwa, Dr. Buthelezi stated that Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe was started as a “sister organization” of the ANC.

In African cosmology, we are sometimes advised to have a ritual ceremony to cleanse and clothe the `ancestor of your ancestor’ (ukugeza nokugqokisa Umkhulu ka Mkhulu wakho), for good health and good fortunes.

Christianity and Judaism have a common ancestor. The ANC and INKATHA likewise have a common ancestor. In the short run, we have different fathers and mothers by the thousands and millions; but in the long run, according to both modern science and religion, all of us have one ancestor.

The conflict and bad blood between the ANC and IFP brings to mind the conflict and bad blood that emerged between Christianity and Judaism. Christianity emerged in history as a reform movement within Judaism. Christ preached his new message within Judaism; and his immediate followers, right up to Paul, preached the new message in the Synagogues. It was only after the decision of the leadership of Judaism, barring the followers of Christ from preaching to Jewish audiences within Synagogues, that the leading followers of Christ decided to direct their message to Gentiles. The followers of Judaism and of Christ were originally one family. It was the enormous errors of the leadership, driven by insecurities and power considerations, which split this family, and sent the two branches in separate directions as organizations and theologies. These two organizations, theologies, and populations, became divided by rivers of blood, hatred, lies, and contempt for one another, which led to the Holocaust in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

The ANC and IFP are separate branches of one family within the African community. It was the Third Force, both local and international, and enormous errors committed by the leadership of the Liberation struggle, which played the leading role in splitting this family, resulting in the two organizations and respective followers being divided by rivers of blood, hatred, lies, and contempt for one another, leading to the catastrophe of violence and civil war within the African community in the 1980s and 90s, particularly in KwaZulu/Natal, where tens of thousands of people died.

I must briefly explain why this violence and civil war was concentrated in what today is KwaZulu/Natal. The story begins with the emergence of the Zulu Kingdom, and its revolutionary impact on Southern African history and on world consciousness. 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 and King Cetshwayo. King Shaka was a statesman of world-historical importance, who is considered in many quarters the greatest military genius  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  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. This is the scale of vision possessed by King Shaka.


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, hatred and grudge, with regard to Zulus, was a significant force in the consciousness of European and Colonial statesmen, and a determinant of government policy among members of  European civilization.

The fear, respect, hatred, and grudge, with respect to major eruptions in world history caused by a certain nation or personality, is an important factor in World Power politics. Think of the France of The French Revolution and Napoleon; the Soviet Union founded by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin; the Germany of World War 1 and of Hitler –think of the reverberations caused by these nations and personalities in the minds and psyche of  European and American statesmen and citizens! The minds and psyche of European and US leaders are haunted by whether the behavior of Russia in the recent war between Russia and Georgia indicates the revival of the dreaded Russia of Stalin, and Khruschev!

This fear of the Zulus, and of The Zulu Kingdom headed by Zulu Royalty, became an important factor in the Liberation struggle. Keep in mind that the pioneering thought that led to the formation of the ANC occurred among the Zulus, principally in the mind and soul of Dr. Seme, who consulted very closely with the Royal Family.

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 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 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: everything must be done to drive an impassable wedge between Zulus and the ANC, that way, they reasoned, 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 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 as a “sister organization 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, a combination of fantasy and fear of The Zulu Kingdom in their minds and psyche –this is similar to the fantasy and fear of Napoleon in the minds and psyche of European statesmen, which led them to exile Napoleon to St. Helena -incidentally, the same small island to which Zulu King Dinizulu (Buthelezi’s grandfather) was exiled!  Keep in mind, also, that Zulus and the force of their weapons and fighting ability left scars in the minds and emotions of three significant communities within South Africa: The Afrikaners (1836, 1838), the English (1879), and Indians (1949). 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 of the White State were charged with implementing this strategy, and were planted into all organizations, movements, media, youth organizations, even religious organizations throughout civil society.

This combination of fantasy and fear of the Zulus, of Zulu Power, of the Zulu Kingdom led by Royalty –this psychosis- is still a factor in contemporary politics; as the fantasy and fear of Hitler and Germany, of Napoleon and France, of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, the Soviet Union, and Socialism, are still a factor in contemporary politics. We are faced here with a psychiatric factor in history and in national and international politics. This fantasy and fear of the Zulus, of Zulu Power, and of the Zulu Kingdom led by Royalty, became focused upon the person of Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, affecting the lives even of  his children, as normally happens in such phenomena. This is a present phenomenon in contemporary South African politics.

A second factor to be considered is the impact of youth in the Liberation Struggle of our country. When the White State banned the ANC and PAC in 1960, adult African men and women got out of liberation politics: some were imprisoned; some went into exile; but the vast majority disengaged from politics, and just remained largely silent within the country. It was in the context of this heavy and cruel closure of open political activity within the country, that the White State unfolded and enforced the division of the African population into Homelands, based on ethnicity, and the policy of granting “independence” to the different ethnic-territorial authorities. The White State took steps to enforce this policy on all the African ethnic-territorial regions of the country. The White government had intentions to implement this policy also in KwaZulu.

The banned leadership of the ANC, amongst which were to be counted Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, O. R. Tambo, and in particular the ANC leadership in what is now KwaZulu/Natal, such as Dr. Chonco, Mr. Yengwa, Mazisi Kunene, and others, thought and felt strongly that the White State and its agents must not be left as the main, and only, actor on the political stage; it was decided that the ANC must continue the Liberation Struggle even under those most oppressive conditions. 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 stand for the leadership of KwaZulu, so that Prince Buthelezi could continue the struggle against white supremacy, following the tradition of the ANC, within the framework of Separate Development.

An old ANC stalwart, the late Cleopas Nsibande, 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. Nsibande’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, just a short while before Mr. Sisulu’s death; and Mr. Sisulu confirmed that such a decision was, indeed, made by the ANC leadership.

This decision of the ANC leadership was, indeed, correct revolutionary policy. Unfortunately, under the difficult conditions of the time, the banned leadership was unable to communicate this decision effectively to Youth.  As usual in such times in the history of revolutionary movements, a split occurred between those leaders and organizations who wanted to have nothing to do with the structures created by the oppressors, on the one hand, and those leaders and organizations who took the position that revolutionaries are duty bound to enter the gates and doors of these structures and continue there the struggle for freedom and liberation of the oppressed, on the other hand. The leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko, expressed the position of total rejection of these structures, and condemnation of all participants within their framework without exception:

“But it seems that nothing influenced people more to `accept’ the `working within the system’ theory than the decision by Chief Gatsha Buthelezi to join in and lead the Zulu Territorial Authority. Chief Gatsha Buthelezi had for a long time been regarded as the bastion of resistance to the institution of a territorial authority in Zululand. Then one morning a newspaper intimated that he might just agree to take it up and within weeks Chief Gatsha Buthelezi was indeed the Chief Executive Officer of the Zululand Territorial Authority.” (Biko, Steve, I Write What I Like, Johannesburg, 2004, p. 38)

“…the ultimate truth is that participation in the Bantustan set-up is dangerously misleading to the black population…Bantustan leaders are subconsciously siding and abetting in the total subjugation of the black people of this country.” (Ibid., pp. 92-94)

In Donald Woods’ biography of Biko, we get this statement by Biko:

“Here we will have to look carefully into the kind of support that Zulu leader Gatsha Buthelezi gets. He has a tribal following among the Zulus…For a long time he opposed apartheid, but today he is a government paid leader of the Zulus. In this way he managed to get a following. We oppose Gatsha. He dilutes the cause by operating on a government platform. Because of this I see the danger of division among Blacks. But we hope to avoid split on the basis of the BPC,s great appeal to the younger generation. Gatsha is supported by oldies, for good reason, since Gatsha protects the stability that the older persons need. But we are young. We do not look upon the solution to injustice as an expectation but a duty. Here lies the dilemma of the old, between duty and bread.”

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 anti-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 by Lenin, in his incomparable book, Left-Wing Communism –An Infantile Disorder.  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 Counselors 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 to thousands of deaths –to the Civil War within the African community, particularly in KwaZulu, Johannesburg, and East Rand.

The Third Force then became very active as instigator and driver of this violence and civil war, because the White State wanted a divided African community, guided by that old proverb: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Evidence later piled up showing how the agents of the Third Force inside all political bodies, media, and civil society institutions, were busy night and day setting up and implementing this violence within the African community.

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.” This, of course, was the activity of the Third Force in the media. 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. We know from cases around the world how “counter-insurgency” agents, infiltrated into movements, can implement “dirty-tricks” tactics, creating and planting `evidence’ for a future case, painting the side they oppose to look as the `enemy of the people’. There was then a Third Force- engineered total stigmatization of Buthelezi as the perpetrator of violence, as the person who, together with the White State, “unleashed violence” in the country, as one `respectable’ commentator wrote. This combined with the stigmatization of Buthelezi as the enemy of the Liberation Struggle who operated within a “government-created” institution.

It is important to stress that the Black Consciousness Movement was tremendously influential among Youth. The 1976 Revolt saw thousands of youth fleeing the country, and many joined the Liberation Movements outside the country. We must be aware, too, that the Third Force make sure that a fair number of its agents were in the crowds of youth that joined the movements. Most of this youth entered these movements together with the attitude towards Buthelezi mentioned above, and with agents provocateur programs-of-action.

Throughout the 1970s, in particular, Inkosi Buthelezi had close and brotherly relations with Oliver Tambo, as a leader working within the tradition of the ANC. President Mbeki acknowledged that in Parliament:

“In this context I must confirm that within my personal knowledge, the Hon Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi told the truth when he spoke about his relations with the late President of the ANC, OR Tambo. Our history, like life itself, produced outcomes that might not have been intended by the actors. When I first [met] the Hon Dr Buthelezi many decades ago, as he said, I approached him as a political senior to myself, and a comrade-in-arms.” (President Thabo Mbeki, 12 June 2008)

Nelson Mandela was also aware of that fact even while in Prison, which he acknowledged in one of his letters to the author of this document. The depth and extent of Madiba’s appreciation of the constructive work performed by Prince Buthelezi in the Liberation Struggle can be gauged by the following circumstances:

  1. Mandela was one of the ANC leaders who supported the proposal already mentioned, to ask Buthelezi to make himself available for the leadership position which the White State had intended to impose upon KwaZulu in the Territorial Authority. Further, in his Durban Speech of February 1990, he mentioned with praise the 1986 Indaba, which had been convened by Inkosi Buthelezi: “The 1986 Indaba(4) solution proposed for Natal broke new ground in so far as it addressed the question of the exclusion from political power of the African population of Natal and sought to make regional change pioneer national change.” (Nelson Mandela, Durban Speech, February 1990) The direction of a negotiated settlement of the problem of South Africa was the heart and soul of the message and work of Inkosi Buthelezi. The question of armed struggle is not one which was settled with ease by the leadership of the ANC. The philosophy of a negotiated, non-violent settlement of the problem of South Africa was the heart and soul of the ANC for decades, until the very White State decided the issue by ruling out any option of a peaceful settlement. There were strong and deep differences of views on this issue among the very respected and top leaders of the ANC. The issue of violence and armed struggle is a profound moral issue, not a play-thing. The only way that Buthelezi could have opted for armed struggle while working within the Territorial Authority of KwaZulu was to abandon that work and possibly leave the country. This is precisely what the ANC leadership in Exile did not want to see happening, as there was still an important role to be played by an ANC leader within the system established by the White State. Indeed, it was in such situations that the wise leadership of a revolutionary movement and revolutionary thought urged leaders in such positions not to be reckless and provoke the oppressive regimes to remove them from those positions where and when they were still needed. Indeed, this is one of the messages from the ANC leadership in Exile that was once communicated to Inkosi Buthelezi.
  2. Inkosi Buthelezi and government played a very significant role in the development of Trade Unionism in the early 1970s. He was fully in support of the Durban Strikes of 1973. A member of his government, Mr. Barney Dladla, was actually seen in newspapers marching with the workers on strike. Those Durban Strikes laid the foundation for the rise of the modern Trade Union movement in South Africa. Nelson Mandela commented on the historical importance of those strikes in his Durban Speech: “In the 1970s Durban workers led the country in a movement to organise and fought for workers’ rights. In January 1973, 2,000 workers at the Coronation Brick and Tile factory in Durban came out on strike. They were followed by workers all over Durban. Out of these strikes grew a host of new union federations and, eventually COSATU, the biggest and most powerful labour organisation in our history” (Nelson Mandela, Durban Speech, February 1990). Professor Eddie Webster, of Wits University, and Mr. Charles Nupen, and Dren Nupen, who were university students in Durban during those years, recalled, in an interview with me, the contribution of Inkosi Buthelezi and his government in strengthening the workers’ movement. An Institute for Industrial Education was established in 1973, with three significant functions: a) It provided Correspondence education to workers on industrial and labour issues; b) It had a Research Unit, in which Charles Simpkins, Alec Erwin, and Lawrence Schlemmer played significant, pioneering roles; c) This Institute founded the South African Labour Bulletin, which became the leading journal on labour and industrial issues in South Africa. Rick Turner, who was soon thereafter assassinated by the Third Force played a pioneering role in all this activity, together with his wife, Fezia Turner. The important point here is that the Chancellor of the Institute was none other than Inkosi Buthelezi; and I am informed that he devoted time to attending the Graduation ceremony in which workers received their certificates. In appreciation of this work, Prince Buthelezi was awarded the significant George Meany Award by the AFL-CIO, the famed, very influential federation of US Trade Unions. He shared this award with Mr. Rick Turner, to whom it was awarded posthumously. This was the second time this award was given; the first award had been given to the Polish Trade Union leader Mr. Walesa.
  3. We cannot end this listing of the contributions of Inkosi Buthelezi to the Liberation Struggle without saying a few words about the remarkable in-between emissary between Buthelezi and the ANC, Rev. Celani J. Mthethwa. First, I must mention the fact that, upon his death, Rev. Mthethwa was given a State Funeral, in recognition of his outstanding, breath-taking work in bringing about understanding, coordination, and peace, between INKATHA and the ANC. He was primarily the man who carried messages between Prince Buthelezi and Oliver Tambo. Another important messenger in the 1970s, who is still alive, is Mr. Gibson Thula, who can supply even more information on this vital link between Buthelezi and the ANC. People who attended Rev. Mthethwa’s funeral still cannot close their mouths about ANC President Jacob Zuma’s speech, in which Mr. Zuma gave some astonishing, unknown facts about the collaboration which existed between INKATHA and the ANC, and the work done by Rev. Mthethwa, Mr. Mabhida, and Mr. Zuma. I count myself very lucky and privileged that I and my brother Malinga spent some hours in April 2007, at Dundee, interviewing Rev. Mthethwa on this work and experience. Rev. Mthethwa was very aware of the extremely sensitive nature of the work in which he was engaged. He was a quiet man engaged in issues relating to the “immensities of life,” to use the words of the poet. One is reminded of Lenin’s words: “If you are unable to adapt yourself, if you are not inclined to crawl on your belly in the mud, you are not a revolutionary but a chatterbox.” (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 27, p. 101). Elsewhere, Lenin stated, as an instruction, that when the oppressor’s force is dominant, the revolutionary must be a “wolf in sheepskin.” So-called militant activists shall be shocked by this statement: Rev. Mthethwa was a true revolutionary, a “wolf in sheepskin,” not a chatterbox. He was an operator on the field, sharply aware of the fact that the struggle is a combination of legal and illegal work, and that the operator in this dangerous field must be able and wise  to shield the leader operating on a legal platform from knowledge of facts which violate legality. Inkosi Buthelezi was in close touch not only with the ANC but also with the PAC.As Rev. Mthethwa’s body lay in the mortuary, PAC leader Joe Mkhwanazi expressed in a telephone conversation with me the deep sadness he felt at the death of Rev. Mthethwa. He reminisced on the day when a small plane arrived in Botswana, carrying Rev. Mthethwa and another prominent leader of INKATHA, there to have discussions with him and another prominent leader of the PAC. The words and matters exchanged related to the totality of the struggle, legal and illegal up to matters of armed struggle.  The interactions between Rev. Mthethwa and ANC leaders in exile were also of the same character, the words and matters exchanged related to the totality of the struggle, legal and illegal up to matters of armed struggle. ANC President Jacob Zuma, PAC veteran Joe Mkhwanazi, Gibson Thula, and many others should actually release all this information to the public. There are other facts which can be revealed, which are unknown to the young generation today. The important point is that there are elderly people still alive, who can and should provide this information which is vital in rewriting our history, and vital for the moral education of youth.
  4. A mighty problem for the correct development of revolutionary thought in South Africa during the years of white supremacy was censorship. Theoretical education and knowledge is crucial for correct practice in the Liberation Struggle. Again, Lenin stressed this point: “Russia achieved Marxism…through the agony she experienced in the course of half a century of unparalleled torment and sacrifice, of unparalleled revolutionary heroism, incredible energy, devoted searching, study, practical trial, disappointment, verification, and comparison with European experience. Thanks to the political emigration caused by tsarism, revolutionary Russia, in the second half of the nineteenth century, acquired a wealth of international links and excellent information on the forms and theories of the world revolutionary movement, such as no other country possessed.” (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 25-26) In 1974, realizing that our revolutionary movement had adopted incorrect positions regarding what should be done about the `Homelands,’ I wrote a long paper, “South Africa: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”, in which I sought to acquaint the movements with revolutionary theory on similar situations. I gave a copy of the paper to Inkosi Buthelezi, when we met in New York, and I also sent copies to the ANC offices in Zambia, to the SACP offices in London, to the Black Consciousness Movement leaders, to PAC leaders, as well as to the leaders of the UNITY MOVEMENT. I received a letter appreciating my contribution from Inkosi Buthelezi, as well as a letter signed by Mr. Thabo Mbeki from the offices of the ANC in Zambia. My argument was that, given the defeat of the revolution and the triumph of the oppressive White State, South African revolutionaries were duty-bound to enter and work inside the reactionary institutions created by the oppressive State, that they had to go inside what Lenin called the “pigsty” created by the oppressors, in order to organize, educate, and empower the oppressed masses to the point where they themselves shall tear down the walls of the “pigsty” and liberate themselves. I decided to go to work at the University of Transkei in 1980, in the face of protests and condemnation by people who thought I was `legitimizing’ Bantustans. I went to Transkei instructed by the true needs of the struggle, not by any particular movement. I decided to be a “wolf in sheepskin.” We –my colleagues and students and people of the Transkei- opened a very influential and effective front of the Liberation Struggle at that University; our work was effective and felt throughout South Africa, and was known in Robben Island itself, as Sisulu informed us when I and Thulani Gcabashe visited him; it was so effective that the White State ordered that our work should be stopped. My document, “South Africa: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”, was sent to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr. van der Merwe, who made my argument the subject of his Graduation Address, condemning this “wolf in sheepskin.” Subsequently, I and eight of my colleagues were arrested and deported from Transkei. The impact of our work was so large that our arrest and the upheaval at the university made headlines around the world. I and Mojalefa Ralekheto, who had made a pact with me to stick together for self-protection, were taken by Transkei Security Police by car to the Kei Bridge Border Gate, to be handed to the South African Security Police. Our ancestors and God intervened. Fortunately, when we got to the Border gate, South African Security Police had not arrived, and the White senior official at the Gate did not know anything about this matter. Incidentally, a number of the Transkei Security Police under whose arrest we were, had been students of ours at the university, and they were very embarrassed and unhappy about their present duty. I recommended to their leader that he should telephone the Commissioner of Transkei Police, to get further instructions. The instruction from the Commissioner was: bring them back to Umtata. The small plane, again: a small plane had arrived from Ulundi, sent by Inkosi Buthelezi, carrying Dr. Oscar Dhlomo, Dr. Madide, and Dr. Mdlalose, to discuss my arrest with President Kaizer Matanzima. The agreement was that I should be handed over to the KwaZulu police, who would take me to Ulundi. When we arrived at the University of Zululand, a telephone call came from the US Consulate saying that I must leave immediately for they had information that South African Security Police were on their way to arrest me for entering the country illegally. I was driven to Durban, and taken to the Airport by a Consulate official to board a plane going to London; from there I proceeded to the USA. I have mentioned this episode to show another instance of the hand of Inkosi Buthelezi on behalf of the Liberation Struggle.
  5. Here is another notable instance revealing the attitude of the old ANC leadership towards Homelands. Soon after arriving at the USA, I learned that there was an agreement between the US Government and the South African Government, according to which any US citizen had a right to get a South African visa within 48 hours of application. I immediately went to apply, as I wanted to be back in the country. Indeed, I got the visa, and returned to South Africa. The Department of Sociology at Wits University offered me a temporary post, and I started teaching there in September 1984. I was staying in one of the male dormitories for senior students. My room was usually full of students after classes. One evening, as I was seated having a discussion with some students, my door opened, and there walked in Mrs. Winnie Mandela, who was banned, living in Brandfort. I was startled. “Sisi, what are you doing here?” Her response was: “Ngithunyiwe. I have come to get you and take you to see KD at Umtata, to arrange for your return to Transkei.” I was just dumfounded, and worried about being arrested again, as I knew Mrs. Mandela was banned. She informed me we would pick up one senior official of the Transkei Government in Johannesburg, and proceed to Umtata, using my car. Indeed, we drove to Umtata, straight to the residence of the President. She met with him, first, and explained her mission. President Matanzima later came to where I was, and informed me that there shall be another meeting between the two of us in Bloemfontein, and the matter shall be concluded there. After we had some food, we drove back to Brandfort, where Mrs. Mandela remained at her residence, and I proceeded to Johannesburg. I mention this event as another dramatic example of the attitude of the old ANC leadership to working within “government created institutions.”

I must say a few words on a serious generational problem which needs to be attended to in our country: the chasm between the young generation (Biko generation and below), on the one hand, and the old generation, on the other hand. As a result of the banning of ANC and PAC, in 1960, and of open Liberation politics, adult African men and women got out of politics. When Liberation politics was revived in this country, it was revived by Youth, and by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who, however, was rejected by the influential Black Consciousness Movement led by Biko, unaware that Buthelezi was representing the ANC tradition within the country. I have already stated that the ideology of BCM, with its rejection and condemnation of Buthelezi, was very influential among Youth and conditioned the political thinking of a large portion of urban youth; and that the Youth who went into exile and joined the ANC and PAC, joined these organizations having assimilated this ideology.

Throughout history, youth, as a category of the population, has played a remarkable role in movements for social change. In the last two hundred years, university and high school students have been prominent in movements for change. Correct revolutionary thinkers have always taken it for granted that the correct molding of youth as a weapon in the revolutionary struggle involves the assimilation by youth of the spiritual/mental riches of the past, and of the wisdom of preceding generations. Throughout history, there has been a conveyor-belt which carries insights, the genius, generalizations, and wisdom from the older-elderly generations to younger generations.

A tragedy occurred in South Africa, with respect to the conveyor-belt. Our civilization 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 leaders, to the following younger 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 liberation struggle. In answer, Mandela 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 were no experienced, wise, old leaders left to teach the new, young political generation tolerance and discipline; the tradition of tolerance and humanism in the struggle disappeared with the disappearance of elderly people in the struggle as a result of savage repression by the White State. Out of this unique tragedy of South Africa, commentators on internal South African revolutionary politics went overboard in praising the role of youth in reviving liberation politics and even canonized South African youth of the time as the `Vanguard of the revolution.’

I tried unsuccessfully in the 1970s, 80s and 90s to call the attention of our political movements and the general public to this problem and danger. I warned al about the terrible price we were going to pay for this terribly mistaken view of the role of youth in revolutionary struggle. In the Albert Luthuli, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko Memorial Lecture delivered at Regina Mundi Church in 1989, I spoke as follows:

“It is, in my view, very necessary to see to it that at least 50 percent of every leading committee of the liberation movement consists of adult men and women in their late 40s, [in their] 50s, 60s and 70s. This shall ensure that the style, the spirit, the views and morality of the leadership of the organizations are not only –or predominantly- of youth or young adults. It is also the prominence of adults in the leadership which will attract the majority of adult and old people to attend meetings and participate actively in the struggle. Old people shall then cease to feel that the struggle is something for the young. Since the majority of our people are not yet conversant in English, this shall force us also to use other languages in meetings, or translations. All this towards closing the gap between young and old.” (Vilakazi, Herbert, “No Unity No Victory,” Tribute, April 1990, p. 61; Vilakazi, Herbert, “Black People Must Unite”, City Press, July 23, 1995, p. 17; Vilakazi, Herbert, “Waging War On Our Own People”, Tribute, September 1990, pp. 58-62)

However, this problem transcends politics. Another terrible problem in the day-to-day political and administrative life of government and professional organizations of Civil Society is that higher education qualifications, which are requirements for employment in the State and in professional organizations, exclude the older African generation which matured before higher education became a mass phenomenon in the African community. This is a serious problem in current African societies, adversely affecting the civilization of entire societies.

In a society in which higher education reached a large proportion of African youth in the 1980s and 90s and after, the majority of people with University and Technikon certificates shall be below 45-50 years old. We then find a generational cultural/spiritual break between the educated employees of Government, business, and professional organizations, who are mainly below 40-45 years old, on one hand, and the overwhelming majority of African people above 45-50 years old.


The profound spiritual wealth of African civilization has its roots in the countryside. The great African-American scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, stressed that while other world civilizations boast of precious development of human culture whose foundation was city life, the most precious additions to human culture produced by Africans arose in the African village. This was true also of the profound genius of Ancient Egyptian civilization which influenced the entire world (Samir Amin, Unequal Development, New York, 1976, pp. 44-45) The deliberate and systematic denigration of African culture by Europeans, which was a by-product of the African Slave Trade and Colonialism, meant the denigration of spiritual culture, values, languages, and philosophies developed in the African village, and stored in the minds, emotions, languages, and souls of rural people.  We are talking here mainly about orally transmitted and stored culture, which is stored, first and foremost, in the minds and souls of old African men and women.

`Westernization’, and the spread of Western education meant, and still means, a systematic devaluation of old African men and women, who are, by and large without tertiary education; above all, it means the denigration and devaluation of spiritual knowledge, culture, emotions, language, and art of rural people.

The conveyor-belt for the transmission of this precious spiritual knowledge from old African men and women to youth has been broken.


This lowers the spiritual quality of our social life. By and large, our public life shines with cleverness, not with wisdom.  


The problem of the broken conveyor-belt transmitting knowledge from the older generation to the younger generation dominates our public and professional life. If you go to any government department, and look at the certificated employees doing paper-work, you will find that the great majority are below 40 years old. In our political and professional life (within the African population), the elder statesmen and stateswomen belong to the generation of Steve Biko, because of the impact of selection of staff by higher education certificates. The same is true of the average age of university graduates hired by corporations and government in South Africa.

South Africa stands out like a sore thumb, when compared with Britain, USA, or Canada, where higher education certificates became common in society by the 1940s and 1950s (except for the Black or Hispanic populations). In Britain, USA, and Canada, a high proportion of employees, with certificates from tertiary institutions, in corporations and government, are in their 50s and 60s. In these societies, there shall be a more representative selection of employees from different generations in government, business, and professional organizations. In South Africa, this problem becomes even worse because of the wide chasm between urban and rural communities.

This then has a terrible, negative impact on the quality of our civilization.

We then slide into the supposition that running a country is like driving a car. Anyone at age 18, 28, 34, or 40, etc., can learn how to drive, pass the test, and start driving. Driving a car requires modern technical/scientific skills and knowledge.

However, running a country requires, first and foremost, SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE, which is hundreds and thousands of years older than modern universities and technicons.


An appropriate balance and mixture of spiritual knowledge and scientific/technical knowledge is a mandatory requirement for normal human life, normal institutional life, and for a normal human community. We may say, taking a cue from the Book of Corinthians, all the scientific/technical knowledge not properly encased in, and guided by, Spiritual knowledge is dangerous, shall not solve human problems, and shall not bring human satisfaction.

With the denigration of the African village, and the Spiritual culture that was born and developed in the African Village, we are left with a broken piece of education, a broken  fragment of government, a broken fragment of nationhood, a broken fragment of humanism.

This was the substance, in the best sense, of the debate on “science” and “the classics” in the Education Curriculum among 19th and 20th century European intellectuals, especially in England (Matthew Arnold, Thomas Huxley, in the 19th century, and F. R. Leavis, and C. P. Snow in the 20th century).

We need urgently to give attention to mending these broken fragments of our civilization found in our government, civil service, parliament, education, private industry, community, and philosophy of life.

Spiritual knowledge comes with age, from older generations, and from past generations. Modern universities and technicons are not the source of spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is knowledge from ancestors and from the ancestor of  ancestors. This is the real substance of the issue of the importance of the old, of tradition, and of Traditional leadership, which is very misunderstood in our time. Inkosi Buthelezi’s insistence for preserving and incorporating Traditional Leadership within modern democracy is for preserving this spiritual knowledge within our governmental system and within our society. The serious tragedy facing South Africa in government and professional institutions is that the dominant generation (40s and 50s) in these institutions is a generation which matured without having corrected the mistakes of youth.

We neglect the spiritual at our own peril. Spiritual knowledge is there at the beginning; it is the source of our energy for the mundane and heroic; it is there at the end… and it never dies. It should be suffused throughout our political life.

We urgently need to reunite, reintegrate, Spiritual knowledge, on one hand, and Modern scientific/technical knowledge, on the other hand.


We are calling for a gigantic Cultural Revolution, aimed at closing this wide, open chasms up and across our entire society. I addressed this problem in my 1974 document already mentioned:

“From the standpoint of revolutionary politics, the gap between the young and old, the educated and the uneducated, the urban and rural classes, will not be closed by the old going to the young, the uneducated to the educated, and the rural to the urban. On the contrary, the young have to go back and join the old, the educated join the uneducated, and the urban revolutionaries have to join the rural classes.” (Herbert W. Vilakazi, South Africa: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 1974 –unpublished)

Here is an amazing example of the mysterious power of the Spirit or the Soul, from the life of Lenin. In his younger years, Lenin had worked closely with Martov, who became the founder and leader of the Mensheviks, while Lenin became the founder and leader of the Bolsheviks. From then on, they were bitter enemies. Here are the words of an historian:

“As the struggle between factions and parties developed…Lenin had come to employ unrestrained verbal violence against Martov…When virulently attacked by Martov, Lenin replied with the crudest invective, calling his opponents a `lackey of the bourgeoisie’ and a `rogue’, accusing him of `refined corruption’, `hypocrisy’ and `treachery’…(Marcel Liebman, Leninism Under Lenin, p. 269)

At the end, the Spirit and its demands emerged:

“Martov’s biographer relates, on the authority of the memoirs of Svidersky, a former People’s Commissar for Agriculture, that during Lenin’s last illness he showed an `obsession to get together with Martov: paralysed and having lost his speech, Lenin would point at Martov’s books on his shelves and demand that a driver take him to Martov’ (Ibid. Also see Isaac Deutscher, “The Moral Dilemmas of Lenin,” in Deutscher, Ironies of History, London, Oxford University Press, 1966, pp. 167-173)

In an essay written in 1990, on the hostility between ANC and INKATHA, and the civil war within the African community in our country, I warned:

“If there is one thing we should highlight as a lesson to be learned from the revolutions of the 20th century, it is this: erase from your political vocabulary the words: ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. One’s most bitter political opponents should never be thus classified. This should be the lesson we learn from the tragic experiences of Stalinism and of Nazism, indeed of all our major revolutions. The category of enemy of the people takes us back to demonology, to the Middle Ages, to 16th century Spain when huge bonfires were lit and witches and infidels were tossed, screaming, into raging flames as believers watched in glee. The category of enemy of the people leads us back to Hitler’s gas chambers, in which millions of Jews and other people were killed. It leads us back to Stalin’s extermination of millions of innocent people; to Stalin’s prosecutor-general, Vyshinsky, screaming in the trials of the 1930s: “Shoot the mad dogs!” Yes, the phrase enemy of the people is a spiritual and conceptual preparation for mass executions, gas chambers and the burning of human dwellings and human beings. South Africa is in an epoch of revolutionary transformation. Let us protect the spiritual health of our revolution the way we should protect the apple of our eyes.” (H. W. Vilakazi, “Waging War On Our Own People”, Tribute, September 1990,  p. 62)

Two old ladies, in separate parts of the country, uttering words not their own, and speaking separately, used to say: Mandela should rule this country with Buthelezi. I have a strong feeling that this was Madiba’s intention, deep down. During Mandela’s tenure as President, Inkosi Buthelezi was the senior minister, and President Mandela always had a deeply felt respect for “Shenge”. Mangosuthu Buthelezi acted as Acting-President on a number of occasions when both the President and Deputy-President were out of the country, until a ruling was made that the Acting-Presidency should rotate within the Cabinet! Mandela, as a person, never really abandoned the old ANC leadership position, which prevailed until the late 1970s, that Buthelezi was part and parcel of the ANC leadership.

Relations between Buthelezi and the old generation of ANC (Luthuli, Champion, Kunene, Chonco, Mandela, Tambo, Sisulu) had, indeed, once been very good. It was, in my view, in the context of this historical appreciation of the work that was done by Inkosi Buthelezi for the Liberation struggle, that we should understand President Mbeki’s move, in 1999, (strongly supported by Mandela) to propose Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi for the Deputy-Presidency of South Africa.

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. This reminds me of the falsification of history which occurred in Stalin’s Russia, which necessitated, during `The Thaw’ after Stalin’s death, the `rehabilitating’ of certain figures in the history of Bolshevism who had been expunged from that history by Stalin. I am thinking of the `rehabilitating’ of figures such as Bukharin, and others. 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)

This is what I propose as part of the Spiritual and Moral Cleansing necessary in this country:


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. 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 in KwaZulu/Natal, were members of INKATHA Youth Brigade.

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, Former President Thabo Mbeki, President Jacob Zuma, KwaZulu/Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, and other officials. The aim in this 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

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 –the ritual consisting of:

a.       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.

b.      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.

c.       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, Former President Thabo Mbeki, President of the

President Jacob Zuma, KwaZulu/Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.

I end with the very important statement of President Mbeki in Parliament.

I must confirm that within my personal knowledge, the Hon Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi told the truth when he spoke about his relations with the late President of the ANC, OR Tambo. Our history, like life itself, produced outcomes that might not have been intended by the actors. When I first [met] the Hon Dr Buthelezi many decades ago, as he said, I approached him as a political senior to myself, and a comrade-in-arms. In the years since he stopped serving in the national government, I have made it a point to listen carefully to everything he said. Constantly, I have marvelled at his wisdom and his deep concern to sustain a value system that is critical to the survival of our democracy. I was very pleased when, yesterday, the Hon Essop Pahad acknowledged Shenge’s unfailing sense of courtesy. Even at my age, this is a deeply human characteristic I must still emulate successfully from Umntwana wa kwaPhindangene. Shenge, many thanks for everything you have done for all of us. Yesterday you quoted the Latin saying by Seneca – errare humanum est – to err is human! (Response of President Thabo Mbeki to the Debate on The Presidency Budget Vote: National Assembly, Cape Town, 12 June 2008)

Members of this nation must have the Spiritual/moral integrity, rectitude and courage to honour and thank Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi for the work he did for the liberation of this country, for carrying and raising the torch of the Liberation movement during the darkest hours and days in the life of this country, when he was engaged in revolutionary work within an oppressive environment most hostile to open Liberation work.




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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