National Assembly Debate on Heritage Day

Celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle
 in South Africa

Contribution by
Reverend Musa Zondi MP
Inkatha Freedom Party

National Assembly Cape Town: Wednesday, 14 September 2011  


Honourable Speaker and Honourable Members Ė

As a nation, we need symbols on which to hang our understanding of the past. We need a Nelson Mandela, to express our endurance under injustice and our hope for reconciliation. We need a Pixley ka Isaka Seme, to represent the high moral ground from which we commenced. And we need an Albert Luthuli, to symbolise our faith and convictions.

These are the symbols of South Africaís liberation struggle. Many more will be named in this debate; like Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, Walter and ina Sisulu, Rev. Alphaeus Zulu, Rev. James Calata and Dr Wilson Zamindlela Conco. Each deserves their place in history.

But let us not create an elite group of heroes and heroines to the exclusion of the millions of South Africans who furthered our liberation struggle through their individual choice to let go of resentment, to seek to understand and to lay down the desire to retaliate.

Today this House will honour freedom fighters that took up arms. But the IFP seeks to honour the ones who refused to pick them up.

In October 1979, the IFP fell from grace with the ANCís mission-in-exile, for we refused to support the armed struggle. A decadesí long campaign of vilification was launched against Inkatha and its President, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The rift between our parties became a chasm when the ANCís Peopleís War was turned against Inkatha.

We have never entirely bridged the divide. The reconciliation efforts that began with Prince Buthelezi inviting Mr Nelson Mandela to address a joint rally in Taylorís Halt in 1991, continued into the Government of National Unity.

But reconciliation was never complete, and has now been muscled off the agenda by the leadership of the ANC.

Thus the truth of the IFPís role in the liberation struggle is belittled and ignored. In debates like this, the ruling Party remembers icons from the ANC.  But it does not remember Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi; whose uncle was the founder of the ANC in 1912; whose mentor was Inkosi Albert Luthuli; who undermined the Apartheid system from within at the behest of Mr Oliver Tambo; who derailed grand Apartheidís scheme of balkanisation; who alone was named as the one who convinced President de Klerk to release Mandela; and who brought all the parties to the negotiating table by refusing to negotiate bilaterally.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi is one of the greatest heroes of South Africaís liberation struggle. His full contribution cannot be captured in such a brief debate.