Caption distorted history
ACKNOWLEDGING the long friendship between Mandela and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Weekend Argus published a photo of the two, yet the caption revealed shocking ignorance.
In stating, “Mandela was credited for getting Buthelezi to stop the violence”, it embraces long-discredited propaganda. The lie that Buthelezi was responsible for the violence of the past was a strategic part of the vilification campaign against Inkatha and its president, waged during the ANC’s People’s War as a means of ensuring political hegemony. It was never vindicated with a shred of evidence.
In her book, People’s War, leading academic Dr Anthea Jeffrey exposed the truth of the ANC’s relentless war against Inkatha.
Inkatha already had a million members in KwaZulu and on the Reef when the People’s War began, making it the greatest obstacle to the ANC’s domination of a post-apartheid South Africa. Dr Jeffrey exposed the depth of propaganda against Inkatha, including the lie that Inkatha colluded with “the securocrats”.
She also exposed how the ANC was the only organisation to benefit from the political violence of the early 1990s, after all major apartheid laws had been repealed; for they used these killings to stigmatise De Klerk and the IFP, and to stampede negotiators into giving them what Joe Slovo called “a famous victory” in negotiations.
In 2002, far removed from the blackon-black political violence and bloodshed, Mandela admitted to the ANC’s campaign of destruction against Buthelezi. He said, “We have used every ammunition to destroy him, but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor.”
Many moments in the relationship between Mandela and Buthelezi influenced the course of history. Rather than embracing propaganda, these should have been highlighted as a fitting way to honour Mandela.