Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No Peace among South Africa's Blacks

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No Peace among South Africa's Blacks

Article excerpt

SOUTH Africa's killing fields are relentlessly bloody. Africans attack other Africans for political advantage in big urban centers and in distant villages, and this year's death toll mounts alarmingly. Even the country's once all-powerful white-led police appear unable to stanch the flow of blood.

The violence is between followers of the African National Congress (ANC) and Zulu-speaking adherents of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Whether in big-city ghettoes like Soweto, or in more distant Transvaal industrial townships like Sebokeng, Zulus and ANC-believers have fought for primacy. In Natal, where Zulus are the majority, members of Inkatha and ANC rivals have killed each other for five years.

Each side accuses the other of fomenting and perpetuating the violence. In almost every case local feuds are involved and, like the Hatfields and McCoys, both sides have long memories. But at bottom, the brightening future for South Africa, the possibility of African rule in this decade, and maneuvering in anticipation of such changes are the underlying causes of malevolence on the killing fields.

Chief G. Mangosuthu Buthelezi, chief minister of the KwaZulu homeland and head of the Inkatha party, would deny that he and other leading Zulus originally encouraged attacks on the ANC in Pietermaritzuburg and other centers of Natal. He would claim that insofar as Zulus were involved, they were defending themselves from the ANC.

He is a committed Christian and deplores violence. Yet he insists that he and Inkatha deserve to be present at all bargaining tables, that his movement is as important as the ANC, and that Inkatha would "tear apart, piece by piece," any secret agreement reached between the ruling white National Party and the ANC.

After a long awaited and oft-postponed meeting in January between Chief Buthelezi and Nelson Mandela, deputy president of the ANC, the two leaders seemed reconciled. Mr. Mandela officially "recognized" Chief Buthelezi's importance and stature for the first time, and their personal and institutional concord immediately slowed the flow of African blood.

But the peace accord has not lasted. Between January and April, 200 Africans have been killed. …

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