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
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."