The IFP's Submission to the
Truth & Reconciliation Commision
IFP

THE ROOTS OF INKATHA

The leadership of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has ensured that Inkatha has always formulated policies and made strategy decisions mindful of the historic roots of black politics in South Africa. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi himself was born for a political role.

He learnt his politics from his mother's knee onwards in the company of those in the Zulu Royal House who either had direct or had first generation knowledge of black/white politics which went back to colonial days. His mother was the daughter of King Dinuzulu. From her Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi heard first hand accounts of raids on the Royal House when the British soldiers came to arrest her father after the Bambatha Rebellion.

For giving sanctuary to Inkosi Bambatha's wife, Siyekiwe (nee Zuma) and their daughter, Kholekile, during the Rebellion, King Dinuzulu was charged and convicted of High Treason.   He was sentenced to life imprisonment and jailed at the Newcastle Jail. When General Louis Botha became the first Prime Minister of South Africa in 1910, he removed King Dinuzulu from prison and sent him to Uitkyk Farm in Middelburg where he lived in exile, and where he died on October 18, 1913.

This was not the first time that King Dinuzulu was exiled. After the internecine strife between him and his Usuthu followers and Zibhebhu of the Mandlakazi in 1888, King Dinuzulu was convicted in 1889 and was banished for ten years to the Island of St. Helena to which Napoleon Bonaparte had also been banished. Two of Prince Mangosuthu's mother's brothers, King Solomon Maphumzana ka Dinuzulu, and Prince Mshiyeni ka Dinuzulu, were born on the Island of St Helena. King Dinuzulu returned to Nongoma in January 1898. Then followed the Bambatha Rebellion in 1906.

It was from his mother, Princess Constance Magogo ka Dinuzulu, that Prince Mangosuthu heard of these ordeals of her mother's grandfather, King Cetshwayo, and her father, King Dinuzulu.

The ANC's first founding father was Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, a barrister who had studied at Colombia University in the United States, and at Lincoln's Inn, in the United Kingdom.  Dr Seme was married to the eldest daughter of King Dinuzulu, Princess Phikisile Harriet ka Dinuzulu. It was Dr Pixley Seme who wrote a letter to Professor Zacchariah Mathews in September 1950, after Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was rusticated from the University of Fort Hare, after he was involved in a demonstration against the then Governor-General of South Africa, Mr G. Brand van Zyl. The young man was hounded by the Security Police from the moment he was expelled from Fort Hare University.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi grew up and emerged into adulthood having spent many a long hour on numerous occasions talking about the struggle for liberation with Chief Albert Lutuli. He knew people like Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Zami Conco, MB Yengwa, Oliver Tambo and JK Ngubane personally. He was a member of the ANC's Youth League.  Thus, by both hereditary right and by voluntary association, he was steeped in the struggle for liberation.

Inkatha is intensely aware of these black political roots and is also intensely aware that all history of the Zulu people spells out that as far back as the nineteenth century black South Africa realised that history had transformed their land and that there would only ever be one united South Africa.

Inkatha has never deviated from its commitment to total equality before the constitution and the law for all South Africans. Inkatha has never made decisions only for any one section of the population.

Inkatha remained active nationally despite considerable pressure from successive National Party Governments to confine its activities to KwaZulu. (See Appendix 1 for a transcription of discussion between Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mr Jimmy Kruger when he was Minister of Justice.) The National Party came to realise that there was no prospect of making the homelands policy work and by 1989 they were seriously pursuing a negotiated settlement. An Inkatha/South African Government Task Group was set up to examine the stumbling blocks which impeded negotiations. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi made Nelson Mandela's release from jail an absolute precondition for his participation in negotiations. In doing so he was restating his position which he had spelt out to successive Prime Ministers and State Presidents, and Mr Heunis was informed of his stand in the following letter:

Extract from a letter dated the 8th June 1987 to Mr CJ Heunis, Minister of Constitutional Development from Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Re: his participation in negotiations about the future of South Africa.

"To continue on developing a thought around the limitations within which the politics of negotiation now have to be pursued in South Africa, I make a number of additional points. It is political history that is quite correctly perceived by black South Africans for what it is, that black politics has been shackled by bannings, jailing and intimidatory tactics on the part of the State. black South Africans are not free to reject communism. They are not free to reject the ideals of a one-Party state. They are not free to reject a host of other things which some black South African groupings campaign for. They are not free to reject or accept this or that leader who is in jail or who is banned, or who is in exile. Black leaders in South Africa are therefore not free to campaign effectively for the acceptance of that which perhaps now can be negotiated.

I have clearly stated that before I become involved in negotiations at the level of, say, the National Council, Dr. Nelson Mandela, Mr. Zeph Mothopeng and others should be released from jail. I must at all costs avoid a situation in which I could be involved in negotiations which would produce a formula which could in fact salvage the future of South Africa but be unable to gather the mass black support which would be necessary to make the solution work. I will not negotiate myself into ignominy because if I do so then I will lose all utility for the land I love so much. I will negotiate myself into ignominy if I am not free to sell a workable solution to people who would support it.

I have not campaigned for the release of Dr. Nelson Mandela in particular, and for others, because I need some political muscle behind me to deal with the State President. If he were to be released I would make every effort to make his release a factor of reconciliation amongst black South Africans. The politics of violence thrives in an unreconciled black South Africa. I have stated that I would serve under Dr. Mandela if that is what the people wanted. I have also, Mr. Minister, added that he should serve under me if that is what the people want. I want to be free to campaign with him for the good of South Africa if that is possible, and to campaign against him for the good of South Africa if that is necessary. If I cannot do this I will be severely restricted in my ability to sell to black South Africa that which is negotiated."

 In both the Buthelezi Commission and the KwaZulu Natal Indaba Inkatha adopted non-racist, non-ethnic and non-sexist stands. In presenting the National Party's submission to the Commission Mr de Klerk said that the situation in which blacks rejected the National Party's offers of independence "... was exacerbated when six of the ten homelands - and most notably KwaZulu under the leadership of Dr Buthelezi - flatly refused to accept independence from South Africa."

 

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