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
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.