Black Leadership Analysis

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Mangosuthu Buthelezi Part 2

Part 1


Buthelezi believes in a multiracial South Africa. In his opinion, whites are Africans also and should behave as such. Race should not provide or exclude anyone from any opportunity. However, ethnicities should be recognized and celebrated. There are certain preferences people have due to their ethnicity. These preferences need to be considered and indulged when possible. Having many viable political parties ensures all voices are heard.

Reconciliation is not only between “black and white” but “black and black,” this is why the meeting with Mandela was so important. Whites have to admit atrocities done to blacks and that the actions were wrong. At the same time, blacks must make recompense for transgressions against other blacks and whites. Buthelezi frequently spoke of blacks killing police officers just because they are police. Buthelezi led by example at a 1991 prayer breakfast in which he apologized to the Afrikaner for the killing of Piet Retief by a Zulu king in the early 1800’s. Reconciliation will lead to a national will.

The best government for South Africa

Buthelezi supports a federal system with a strong constitution. A federal system means all the homelands and provinces function similar to US states. Each homeland or province will have proportional power in the national government. Most of the power will be in the hands of the homeland or province. Buthelezi’s plan is not one man one vote which would hold power in a central government. The federal system ensures the people have the most autonomy and a healthy free market.

Buthelezi does recognize that there will be people that have disproportionately less. He feels there should be a common fund to create social programs. These social programs should not override market forces, but they should provide a social safety net. The social safety net will not be as robust as a developed country, but it should be there. South Africans should expect to work longer hours for less pay until the economy grows.

In 1990, DeKlerk proposed a measure that would allow the African to create a new constitution that would be approved by the white electorate. He admitted it would give whites ultimate veto authority, but felt it was the best deal that they could get at the time. He had faith that DeKlerk had integrity and that the integrity would allow him to work equitability with blacks.

Communism is not a viable option for South Africa. It has been proven not to work in the USSR. The ultimate fall of the USSR should be all the proof a person needs to know that the system will not work. Communism has also failed in several states in Africa. When critics press socialist on why the USSR failed, they cite corruption unique to Russia. However, they do not provide real-world evidence of communist success. Communist also see the world in the simple dichotomy of revolutionary or counter-revolutionary. Their framing of the opposition as counter-revolutionary reduces discussions and alienates them from the rest of society.

Black majority rule will not radically change the life of the average South African. The struggle just begins there. Most people have their expectations too high for how much change will come from participation. In reality, the pie is not that big, and some people will be poor no matter how much the government changes. Ending violence is far more important than elections. Many African nations have “free” elections, yet the violence will have more sway on the election outcome than the candidate’s platforms.

On the AIDS Crisis

At the funeral of his son Nelisuzulu, he admitted that the 53-year-old died from complications of AIDS. During the Prince’s eulogy, Buthelezi said the following.

“I feel the pain of any father and mother across our land at this tragic hour of history. I feel the pain for the many children of Africa who are now dying an untimely and terrible death. I am in mourning. We are a nation which ought to be in mourning.”

Buthelezi lost his daughter Mandisi to the disease later that year. Buthelezi spoke at many HIV/AIDS events and petitioned the government to work toward curing HIV/AIDS. His openness on his family situation helped to remove the stigma around HIV/AIDS in Africa.

In 2013, he gave the keynote address at the Ulundi World AIDS day commemoration. He applauded the government for taking the necessary actions to reduce the prevalence of AIDS in the country. The government accomplished many milestones in prevention, education, and access to treatment. South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Now serious steps have been taken to remedy the problem.

He recounted how he felt when his two children died of AIDS in the prime of life. He commended Mandela admitting one of his sons died of AIDS. By great South African leaders admitting to AIDS affecting their lives, many people were able to admit to living with the disease. Buthelezi explained how removing the stigma led to increases support from victim’s family and friends.

The IFP started an initiative to provide an antiretroviral drug to pregnant women infected with HIV. The drug prevented the disease from being passed on to the child. The effort was extremely efficient in KwaZulu-Natal. Buthelezi petitioned the national government to implement the plan nationwide. The current national initiative for antiretroviral drugs has been successful.

To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, Buthelezi recommends faithfulness, abstinence, and the use of condoms. He entreats all the individuals to stay healthy and take personal responsibility in romantic relationships. All South Africans should commit to making South Africa healthy.

On Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma is the current president of South Africa. He was a former MK soldier and leader and built a reputation for bravery. He became the head of the ANC and shortly after that president. Opposition to Zuma’s leadership grew due to various scandals and a failing South African economy. Many want the president impeached.

Buthelezi is acting as a cooler head in the fight to impeach Jacob Zuma. He feels that himself and other opposition should not force Jacob Zuma out. The ANC leaders must vote their conscious and oust their leader, or the people must vote him out. The public could view a demonstration such as the Democratic Alliance marching on the Luthuli House as aggression. If the ANC feels cornered, they could restart the violence that tore apart the townships in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

What Buthelezi has right?

Buthelezi does have a good grasp on how a capitalist economy could work in South Africa. Free market economies have the longest track record of producing stable economies and countries. He realizes South Africa has a long road to go and can not expect all the privileges of a developed country. However, there should be some social safety net to ensure that a person does not fall into abject poverty.

The communism of the USSR has been proven not to work. Not only did it fail in Europe it has failed many times in Africa. To attempt to repeat the implementation of this failed system would be insanity. One of the reasons that the South African economy is one of the strongest in Africa is that it did not implement a flawed socialist system.

Buthelezi took full responsibility for his part in the township violence. He did not blame the government or put all the blame on the ANC. Buthelezi and other South African leaders made choices with open eyes. Instead of looking backward he looked forward. He did his part in building South Africa’s future.

His work in the transition government demonstrated his commitment working with his former rivals the ANC. As a minister, he had to implement plans that went against his belief in a free market federal government, but he understood how important reconciliation was to reduce black on black violence. He gave a much needed alternative perspective, but if the government went the other way he held fast to his duty. His view on the Zuma presidency shows his new commitment to peace. Buthelezi feels Zuma should serve his term out and then an election can decide on a new president. An impeachment could cause more bloodshed.

Finally, his work in AIDS and divulging of his personal story on AIDS was immensely vital. When he disclosed he had two children die of AIDS, he opened the door for many others to do the same. He also used his influence to bring treatment to KwaZulu and South Africa.

What he has wrong

His commitment to nonviolence in the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s only extended to white people. He dealt with the ANC and Zulu that became disorderly swiftly and violently. The O’Malley archive documents atrocities committed by Inkatha. To go into detail in this analysis would be a distraction. The violence irreparably changed many lives.

Analyzing how Buthelezi negotiated also illustrate how differently he handled conflict between himself and whites versus himself and blacks. In 1990, he was ready to sign an agreement that would let whites have veto power over the constitution of KwaZulu. However, when the ANC proposes expanded control over KwaZulu a few years later, he walks out of the negotiations. It appears he is ready to capitulate with the National Party at the drop of a dime. He fights the ANC tooth and nail. If his true purpose were to protect KwaZulu, he would have fought both encroachments.

He spent too much energy blaming the difficulty of the Inkatha to work with ANC on the botched meeting between Mandela and Buthelezi in the early 1990’s. It would have been more productive to build allies throughout the ANC, instead of lamenting that party members manipulated Mandela. Buthelezi felt that his friendship with Mandela should be enough to put them at the negotiating table together. Personal feelings and love are not sufficient to operate in an Orange meme political process.

Where is Buthelezi on the Spiral

He is a Blue Meme leader attempting to function in an Orange Meme government. Buthelezi’s issues with Mandela best illustrate his meme. In the days of chiefs and kings, Mandela and Buthelezi could negotiate regardless of what the subjects think. Now public opinion rules the day. Now Buthelezi had to modify his behavior for the new system. Ultimately, he was able to operate at a higher level when needed.

The importance of a strong constitution is an issue Buthelezi speaks on frequently. Leaders in the Blue meme want to create policy around a founding document or moral code. Buthelezi voices his fears of a central government run amuck with too much power. His fear of large government is in line with many Republicans in the USA.

Buthelezi worked toward First Order change, which is minor modifications in the system currently in place. The ANC wanted Second Order change, overthrowing the government. It makes since that Buthelezi would team up with fellow Capitalists, the National Party, to fight what he saw as a Soviet invasion. Often the alliance between Inkatha and the National Party is viewed as a black man teaming up with whites to kill other blacks. The racial analysis leads to the vilification of Buthelezi. If the conflict is viewed as Capitalist versus Communist, a person can see far more nuance.

Buthelezi stresses “I” Space solutions and personal responsibility. He sees the current economy as limited, and citizens cannot expect government solutions to all problems. Buthelezi’s solutions would fit perfectly at a Republican National Convention.


  1. articles on Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith
  2. “Mandela and I” by M.Buthelezi
  3. “Zulu leader speaks out on AIDS crisis after son’s death” by Andrew Meldrum in The Guardian
  4. News 24 Archives at “Buthelezi child died from Aids.”
  5. “Buthelezi makes Aids personal” by Angela Botswana found on World AIDS Day 2013 Commemoration at Ulundi by M. Buthelezi
  6. Synopsis of 1964 movie Zulu
  7. “Zulu is this the greatest British war film” by Will Heaven
  8. “The untold story of the film Zulu starring Michael Caine, 50 years on” by Sheldon Hall
  9. “Don’t provoke the ANC, warns Buthelezi” by Nathi Olifant
  10. “Zuma has failed the country – Buthelezi” by Kaveel Singh
  11. “Buthelezi discourages DA marching on Luthuli House” by Z. Ngcobo
  12. “Buthelezi to advise President Zuma to step down”
  13. “Wondering Who Your New Deputy Finance Minister Is? Introducing Sfiso Buthelezi.”
  14. “White monopoly capital’ scapegoat for failed leadership – Buthelezi”
  15. “Majority of South Africa’s ANC Want Zuma to Resign, Poll Shows” by A. Mbatha
  16. From the O’Malley Archive

    Article on “KwaZulu”

    Article on “From Buthelezi IFP to Third Force theory”

    Interview archive of Buthelzi from 1990 to 1999

  17. 1994: A Bloody Miracle directed by Haitsma and Rickards

Mangosuthu Buthelezi Part 1

  • Played his Great-Grandfather in the 1964 movie Zulu
  • Signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith in 1974
  • Founder of Inkatha Freedom Party 1975
  • Won key to the city of Birmingham, Alabama USA
  • Minister of Home Affairs 1994 -2004
  • Chief Minister of KwaZulu Bantustan
  • Publicly acknowledged two of his children died of HIV/AIDS in 2004

Mangosuthu Buthelezi was born on August 27, 1928. He is the Prince of the Zulu people and the great-grandson of King Cetshwayo. King Cetshwayo was the king the fought the British in the Anglo-Zulu War. He acts as Prime Minister to the current Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini kaBhekuzulu. Buthelezi is also the chief of the Buthelezi clan.

The Zulu royal family serves chiefly a social function as descendants of the great King Shaka Zulu. The Zulu are the largest Bantu tribe in South Africa. The royal family does have significant influence in KwaZulu-Natal province which contains the ancestral homeland of the Zulu people. The influence over people in KwaZulu-Natal and Zulu people all over the world leads royal family members to be appointed to government positions and get elected to positions of power in additions to the royal family’s great leadership ability.

Buthelezi studied History and Bantu Administration at Forte Hare University. Due to political activism as part of the African National Congress (ANC), he was expelled from the college. Buthelezi completed his degree at the University of Natal. He began his government career as a clerk in the Department of Bantu Administration. After getting married, he became chief of the Buthelezi clan in 1953.

Buthelezi had the honor of playing his great-grandfather Cetshwayo in the 1964 movie Zulu. The film centered around the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift in the 1879 Anglo- Zulu War. The movie is a British classic often watched on Christmas in England to bolster patriotism. Critics consider Zulu one of the best war films ever made.

He became Chief Executive Officer of the KwaZulu Territorial Authority. The KwaZulu Territory was created as a way to increase apartheid control. The point of Bantustans, later called homelands, was to remove the black population from the urban areas of South Africa. If blacks had areas in which they had a separate government, they would not need or petition the larger South African government for rights. Also, the South African government could expel blacks to a “homeland” at will. Also, the “homeland” government was not fully-independent. If a homeland leader acted against the South African government, he was promptly disposed and replaced.

In 1974, Transvaal leader Harry Schwartz and Buthelezi signed the Mahlabatini Declaration of Faith. The declaration provided a non-violent plan to racial reconciliation in South Africa. The declaration focused on providing all people economic opportunities regardless of race, non-violence, and respect for ethnicity. At this time neither the ANC or the National Party were pursuing peaceful solutions. Non-violent activist all over the world applauded the effort. Many of the principles of the declaration were used to form the Democratic government.

Inkatha Freedom Party to the KwaZulu Police

Buthelezi founded the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975 with the blessing of the ANC. It began as a Zulu cultural organization but became more politically active after the exile of the ANC. Inkatha members began to take every position in the government. By the 1980’s Inkatha ruled the KwaZulu homeland as a one-party state. The KwaZulu Police was formed in 1981 and will be in existence until the Democracy in 1994.

In the mid-1970’s, Inkatha worked closely with the ANC. Inkatha saw itself as the branch of the ANC that operated inside of South Africa. Inkatha’s mission was to create alternatives to Apartheid by working within the government for concessions. The South African government completely controlled other homeland territories from the beginning. Critics cannot make that claim about KwaZulu in the 1970’s.

As the 1970’s progressed, Buthelezi moved away from the ANC’s mission to overthrow the government. He supported the free market economy, which in turn, forced him to oppose government sabotage, international sanctions, and protesting. A meeting took place in London in 1979 to reconcile Buthelezi to the ANC. Buthelezi held to his support of free market capitalism. In his estimation, the most important mechanism to improve a black person’s life is a good job. If South Africa’s economy suffers, blacks will be the first to lose their jobs.

In the 1980’s students in the KwaZulu began to protest for better learning conditions. Buthelezi ordered Inkatha members to restrain students and force them back into the school using violence. Buthelezi viewed the action as discipline for lack of patriotism. In June of 1980, Buthelezi petitioned for the formation of an army to keep order in KwaZulu. Inkatha formed the KwaZulu Police (KP) in 1981. The KP patrolmen were colloquially known as Impis, the name of Shaka’s famous infantry.

Violence in Kwazulu

The violence began in 1983 in response to an increase in KwaZulu influence. The South African government saw KwaZulu as a way to prevent the expansion of The United Democratic Front (UDF). The UDF was an alliance between ANC, SA Communist Party, and Coalition of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The UDF began to support affordable housing activists in Natal. Natal is the province that surrounds KwaZulu. The South African government was moving toward making all the black townships of Natal subordinate to KwaZulu.

The violence between UDF and Inkatha began in Lamontville, a Suburb outside of Durban. The South African government identified the town for incorporation into KwaZulu. The Inkatha mayor killed an activist for affordable housing. Buthelezi and Inkatha did not condemn the action. A similar situation happened Hambanathi and Chesterville.

Later in 1983 Inkatha supporters at the University of Zululand wanted to hold a commemoration for King Cetshwayo of the Anglo-Zulu War. Many students did not want to have a celebration and protested. The result was Inkatha Youth League members dragging students out of dorms and stabbing them with iKlwas, traditional Zulu spears. Buthelezi claims that the Youth League members acted in self-defense. However, one of Buthelezi’s subordinates said to an investigating committee many years later “Now people can see that we’re not a sitting duck, and we’re not a lame duck, and they must be careful of us.”

By the mid-eighties, Inkatha was colluding with the South African Security Forces. As Inkatha became synonymous with KwaZulu government, they realized they were natural allies. KwaZulu wanted to increase their control in South Africa. The SA Security Force saw Inkatha as a way to control the black population in a more covert manner. The SA Security Force supplying Inkatha with guns will allow them to suppress anti-government movements. In turn, the government would increase Inkatha’s influence by putting more townships under their control. If violence needed to be used to contain the UDF, Inkatha could perform the action, and the international community would not see it as oppression. The violence committed by Inkatha was and is currently seen as “black on black” violence and feeds the narrative that blacks are inherently violent.

The South African Security forces trained Inkatha members outside of South Africa in Caprivi. These trainees became an Inkatha hit squad being deployed on various missions to kill UDF members and subvert UDF support. The South African government paid the Caprivi trainees. Caprivi trainees also supplement Inkatha vigilante forces and KwaZulu police. The township violence between 1983 and 1994 did immense damage to South Africa. At its height, its apex between 1990 and 1993, 101 people month were killed on average.

KwaZulu Police (KP) which was a branch of the South African Police were known for brutality. KP raided townships that had strong UDF support. The government sponsored Goldstone Committee and Truth and Reconciliation Committee list KP as one of the worst human rights abusers in South Africa. KP burned down residences, attacked unarmed protesters, and killed non-violent activist. The South African police often provided tear gas support during raids of UDF townships.

Mandela confirmed that he and Buthelezi were scheduled to meet in 1990. The meeting would take place at the Zulu Royal Palace and Mandela would have the opportunity to lay a wreath at the grave of King Shaka. Mandela was eager to meet to thank Buthelezi for his work in helping to get his release. The meeting would also facilitate peace negotiations. The local ANC official protested, and Mandela had to back out of the meeting. Backing out of the meeting was taken as an insult to the Zulu Royal Family and the relationship was never the same.

The violence intensified after the aborted meeting. Many members of the ANC felt that meeting with Buthelezi would legitimize him as an African leader in opposition to the ANC. Other members understood that securing peace depended on Buthelezi’s cooperation. The Mandela and Buthelezi met on January 29, 1991. Both sides knew the government would not negotiate with either party if the IFP and ANC were not working together. The National Peace Accords (NPA), which was the first multi-party peace agreement in South Africa, was signed on September 14, 1991. The NPA led the way to all party talks. Township violence will not end until 1994 with the establishment of full Democracy. There were many rogue units of the UDF, ANC, and IFP that were semi-autonomous.

On Nelson Mandela

Buthelezi often talks about the close and friendly relationship he had with Nelson Mandela. They met when they were young activists in the ANC. Mandela being ten years older than Buthelezi served as a mentor. Buthelezi followed in Mandela’s footsteps by being expelled from university for activism.

When violence broke out between Inkatha and the ANC Mandela wrote Buthelezi a letter to bring peace to South Africa. Buthelezi agreed to meet with Mandela, but ANC leaders would not let the meeting happen. In Buthelezi’s words the ANC leaders “almost throttled” him. It took a year to begin peace negotiations.

Buthelezi contends that ANC leadership controlled Mandela. The ANC wanted power more than South African peace and prevented peace talks. The ANC also excluded Inkatha from Coalition for a Democratic South Africa. The USSR controlled the ANC through the South African Communist Party. The USSR and later the worldwide communist/socialist movement professed a philosophy that has been proven invalid. When asked a communist blames the failure of the USSR on cultural proclivity. Socialist never provide a real world example of proper socialism. Therefore the socialist method only worked in theory.

The ANC also influence Mandela to cancel public engagements between himself and Mandela to stop the violence. Examples are a 1991 meeting in Pietermaritzburg. Ultimately, Mandela was controlled by the ANC and was not an effective leader. Mandela’s primary concern is the ANC not the betterment of South Africa.

Buthelezi praised Mandela for admitting in 2002 that “We have used every ammunition to destroy (Buthelezi), but we failed. And he is still there. He is a formidable survivor. We cannot ignore him.” He contends that the ANC has been undermining his leadership since the meeting between Inkatha and the ANC in 1979.

On violence in KwaZulu

Buthelezi addresses what caused the violence in KwaZulu. He highlights the economic aspect of the violence. Because people did not have work, they had time to make trouble. The removal of pass laws by De Klerk made the problem worse

The ANC committed many atrocities during the era of township violence, according to Buthelezi. They encouraged supporters to hunt down government collaborators and officials. Many of the people considered collaborators were policemen. The loss of police officers led the townships to become destabilized furthering the violence. The ANC also encourages children to fight instead of staying in school. The employment of child soldiers resulted in a generation of Africans that knew nothing but fighting. The lost generation could not reintegrate into society after the war and impeded national progress.

The ANC’s goal is not the betterment of people, but a power grab to put the ANC on top. ANC often referred to itself as a government in waiting. To ensure the war ended with the ANC on top, the ANC used propaganda to undermine Inkatha. The ANC put forth stories accusing Buthelezi of cooperating with the government without evidence. These accusations fanned the flames of violence. The ANC’s naked grab for power prevented peace talks until they felt Inkatha was no longer a viable nationwide political opponent. The ANC prevented the King of the Zulu’s from speaking and Buthelezi from participating in the Coalition for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in 1992 as a way to ensure the ANC was considered the only legitimate voice of the Africans.

The ANC wants to wipe out all opposition including Azanian Peoples Organization AZAPO and Pan-African Congress (PAC), left-wing alternatives to ANC. CODESA suffered numerous setbacks from the inability of leaders, including Mandela from getting buy-in from all parties. The Communist Party and Pan-African Congress boycotted CODESA in 1992 and Buthelezi pulled out due to lack of IFP representation.

What the township violence was not

Many South Africans and the international community saw the township violence as ethnically based. ANC represented the Xhosa and Inkatha represented Zulu. Buthelezi saw Xhosa as a dominate force in the ANC, but to say the violence is ethnic is too simplistic. There are Zulu’s that are part of the ANC and Inkatha has members from other tribes.

The government can not shoulder all the blame for the township violence. All the leaders including Buthelezi should take responsibility for their part. To not take personal responsibility would be poor leadership. He saw the Truth and Reconciliation committee was dominated by ANC and had the goal of finding atrocities done by the other parties in the township violence. The bad reputation of the other parties would cement public opinion around the ANC. The defamation of the other parties would hurt their chances of winning elections.

Part 2

Mangosuthu Buthelezi (1928- )

M. Buthelezi is a member of the Zulu Royal Family and has a seat in Parliament. He has been a vital leader in the struggle against apartheid and building democracy. He build a political party called the Inkatha Freedom Party. He is hated for his role in the time of township violence, yet Mandela gave him important cabinet posts. More on him can be found in the attached articles.

Part 1

Part 2

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