Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Probing the Rots of Political Violence in KwaZulu-Natal since 1979

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Probing the Rots of Political Violence in KwaZulu-Natal since 1979

Article excerpt

The Genesis of Division and Discord

On 9 June 1970, as part of South African Government's efforts to promote a semblance of 'self rule', the Zululand Territorial Authority (ZTA) was established with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi chosen as a Chief Executive Officer (Daily News: 1970, 20). In 1972, in accordance with the Self Government State Constitution Act of 1971, the Zululand Territorial Authority was converted into the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly-KLA (Mthethwa: 2007, 53) headed by Chief Buthelezi. Although Buthelezi refused to accept formal 'independence' as a Bantustan, the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly took over the official responsibility for the administration of KwaZulu territories. In 1975, the Inkatha (Interview) Cultural Liberation Movement was founded under the leadership of Chief Buthelezi. Buthelezi made it clear that Inkatha was first and foremost a cultural movement for the Zulu people and that it would serve as a centre around which the Zulu people were to be organised (Mthethwa: 2007). By using the name, Inkatha - first established by King Solomon in the 1920's, he evoked a deeply rooted cultural sentiment among Zulu people. By linking a cultural symbol to political action, it created the idea in people's mind, particular those in rural areas, that to be against Inkatha was equal to negate own culture and values.

Buthelezi was held in high esteem by the ANC leaders as a former ANC member that cooperated with the then leadership of the organisation. In 1976 he was appointed as the Chief Minister of KwaZulu with the tacit support of the ANC (Mandela: 688). In principle, the ANC was opposed to homelands but it accepted that if Buthelezi was to lead it at that time, a strategy change would be necessary as one of the organisations would be placed within the enemy camp. For this reason, Inkatha was founded with the approval of the ANC which led to the ANC colours being used by Inkatha (Nuttal: 115). Everything at this point worked in favour of good Black co-operation to fight the apartheid system using all possible means. Initially supported by the exiled ANC, who saw its role as a mobilising force for rural constituencies in the cause of liberation, Inkatha employed the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly to strengthen its support base within the organisational structures created by the apartheid state's Bantustan policy. Inkatha rose as a Zulu organisation inextricably tied to the Bantustan structures of KwaZulu and has never been able to escape this part in any significant way. As a Zulu body it was able to mobilise readily, and as Bantustan movement it had been protected from the state action (Interview).

By this time the first copies of the Inkatha Constitution were published, "Inkatha yakwaZulu", the name had been altered to read "Inkatha yeSizwe" ("Inkatha of the Nation" rather than "Inkatha of the Zulu people"). This ambiguity of being caught between the Zulu nation, on the one hand, and national aspiration, on the other, caused a dire situation. Buthelezi accepted that as a movement that has progressed from question to demand, there was a danger of it being misunderstood. For him, Inkatha had a special function to perform; i.e. it had to heal internal divisiveness and to mould the Zulu people into one cohesive force. Addressing a meeting in Soweto in March 1976, Buthelezi said, "Inkatha had been formed because Africans could not wait until the parliament in Cape Town falls before the Zulu achieve the dignity which comes from self help" (Buthelezi: 1976, 32).

Having created a popular powerbase, Buthelezi believed he stood the biggest possible chance of defeating white oppression without resorting to Marxist methods of achieving unity, self-reliance and discipline, which he believed were prerequisites to liberation. "Before we can do anything we need to organise ourselves into a discipline society" (Buthelezi: 1976, 33). Buthelezi told the Soweto audience in 1976. This implies that as much as Inkatha was the result of a reaction to White oppression, it was also a defensive step against the ideal of Marxism and the imposition of Marxian rule and ideology. …

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