Our History

  • 2015 40 Years
    Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of Inkatha.
  • 1994 SA's first democaratic elections
    Becomes Minister of Home Affairs. During the first 10 years of democracy, he is appointed Acting President of the Republic 22 times.
    The IFP was successful in its endeavour in 1994 to ensure that a double ballot system became part of the political culture of South Africa. The IFP however remains concerned that unless more real power is given to the provinces and local governments in South Africa, national government will not be successful in its attempts to redress the injustices of the past and empower the majority of South Africans to reach their full potential.
  • 1991 The IFP is vindicated of ANC allegations
    At a meeting between the ANC and IFP in Durban, the IFP was vindicated of ANC allegations that Inkatha and Prince Buthelezi had leaked confidential information to the press. At that meeting the ANC informant was named.
  • 1990 The release of Nelson Mandela
    "When former President FW de Klerk announced his decision to release Mandela, he named only me as having helped him reach that decision." - Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi
    FW De Klerk, former President of South Africa, speaking in Parliament when announcing the unbanning of the ANC and other political parties and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison said of Mangosuthu Buthelezi:
    "His consistency to promote peaceful solutions and to refuse to be drawn into violent con"icts on the one hand but, on the other hand, pressing for instance for the release of Mr Mandela has characterized a principled approach. In history he will be looked upon as a leading figure in South Africa during a period where there was a great risk of a catastrophe."
  • 1990 Buthelezi elected leader of the IFP.
    Shortly after Madiba's release, on the 14th July 1990 at a special conference in Ulundi, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) came into being. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was unanimously elected President of the IFP, a role he has held ever since.
    The IFP became the champion of federalism in South Africa. It argued that real power needed to be given to people to make decisions that affect their lives. Apartheid, argued the IFP, had proved to South Africa how a small minority of people could oppress the majority through the centralisation of power and that a fundamental and profound constitutional revolution needed occur to truly empower Black South Africans. The IFP remains convinced and committed to ensuring that federalism is implemented in South Africa.
  • 1980's A peaceful struggle
    The IFP refused to engage in armed struggle and would not make its structures available for channeling the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhnoto we Sizwe's, cadres and arms into South Africa's communities.
      "The violence of the '80s and '90s erupted out of a strategy on the part of the ANC's mission-in-exile to import a communist-sponsored 'People's War' is to make a country ungovernable, and it is characterised by terror, bloodshed, and lawlessness. And the death of innocents is considered necessary collateral damage." - Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi
  • 1979 The London Meeting
    The 1979 London meeting would prove to be a pivotal point in the relationship between Inkatha and the ANC. It became the basis for ANC anti-Inkatha propaganda.
    In all his discussions with the ANC Mission in Exile Prince Buthelezi was adamant that Inkatha should remain Inkatha and that it should remain committed to the Black popular will which expressed itself in Inkatha's massive membership, which had doubled in 1977 and again doubled in 1978. Inkatha rightly interpreted this massive increase of membership as a rejection by Black South Africans of the armed struggle.

    After the London meeting, for the first time in his career Mr. Tambo began criticising Buthelezi and Inkatha publicly. He had sided with those in his ranks who saw Inkatha as a threat and who wanted no evidence that black democratic opposition and black non-violent tactics and strategies were powerful forces for bringing about change.
  • 1976 Buthelezi as Chief Minister
    From 1976 to 1994 Buthelezi serves as Chief Minister of KwaZulu.
  • 1975 Buthelezi launches Inkatha yeSizwe, now known as the IFP
    Inkatha was founded at KwaNzimela, outside Melmoth, on the 21st of March 1975, by group of patriotic men and women under the leadership of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
    The National Cultural Liberation Movement launched itself as an all-embracing national movement with its sights set on the liberation of all South Africans. Although established in KwaZulu, its membership was made open to all blacks - men, women and youth - across the country. Its aim was to work in a multi-strategy approach for the freedom of the people and for a united non-racial democratic country. Its emergence was a result of a desperate need at that time for black democratic forces to come to the fore and pick up the gauntlet of the black liberation struggle which had been left tragically destitute by so many others. Inkatha, however, remained firm in their rejection of the armed struggle.
  • 1972 Buthelezi appointed Chief Executive Councillor
    He is appointed Chief Executive Councillor to the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly.
    Prince Buthelezi’s position in the Government of KwaZulu gave him a degree of authority that irked the National Party. It had, for instance, been forced to return his passport, which it had confiscated for 9 years after he had met with Mr Tambo in London en route to the Anglican Congress in Canada in 1963. They couldn’t very well justify a leader in government being denied a passport!

    Once it was returned to him, he used it often, meeting with Mr Tambo in London, Mangoche, Nairobi, Lagos and Stockholm. He travelled to the Vatican and met with Pope Paul VI. He also travelled to the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and other countries, seeking support from world leaders for the liberation struggle.
  • 1970 Buthelezi is CEO of the Zulu Territorial Authority
    Buthelezi is elected by the Kwa-Zulu Assembly as CEO of the Zulu Territorial Authority. It was with the agreement of the ANC leadership at that time that Prince Buthelezi assumed office in the government-created Territorial Authority in 1970 because it was believed to be in the best interests of the liberation struggle.
    So too, with counsel and agreement of the ANC leadership did Buthelezi accept the Chieftaincy of the KwaZulu Government. He, however, refused to lead the KwaZulu Government into nominal independence because he realised that acceptance of the independence of KwaZulu would lead to the completion of the South African Government's institutional scheme of apartheid. His refusal is now recognised as a major cause of the failure of apartheid. Former President F.W. de Klerk later admitted that Buthelezi's refusal to accept independence of KwaZulu made them change their minds about apartheid.
  • 1960's Buthelezi Joins the ANC Youth League
    There had been no significant organised black political activity. The African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) had been banned and their leaders were either in jail, in exile or had "disappeared" into the underground movement.
  • 1953 Buthelezi takes up his hereditary position as Inkosi
    On the advice of Inkosi Albert Luthuli, he responded to the call of the Buthelezi Clan and returned to Mahlabathini in 1953 to take up his hereditary position as Inkosi.
  • 1952 Buthelezi Marries
    In July 1952 he marries a nurse, Irene Audrey Thandekile Mzila. A year later he returns Mahlabathini to take up his hereditary position as Inkosi.
  • 1948 Buthelezi Joins the ANC Youth League
    From 1948 he studies at Fort Hare University where he joins the ANC Youth League. After his expulsion at Fort Hare, he completes his studies at Natal University.
  • 1928 Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP is Born
    Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP was born on 27 August 1928 into the Zulu Royal family as the son of Princess Magogo kaDinuzului, King Solomon's sister, and Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi, the King's Prime Minister.
  • 1928 King Solomon's Inkatha
    The IFP originally drew its name from Inkatha Zului kaZulu, the Zulu National Congress founded by Buthelezi's uncle, King Solomon kaDinuzulu, in 1928. The philosophy of Ubuntu-Botho played a crucial role then in King Solomon's Inkatha as it does now in the struggle for the promotion of African patterns of thought and value systems. It has consistently underpinned all political developments and strategies undertaken by Inkatha in its various evolutionary stages.