'Mangosuthu Buthelezi's collaboration with the apartheid state began in the 50s'

Has Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s role in South Africa’s history been sanitised?

Buthelezi is a South African politician and Zulu tribal leader who founded the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in 1975.

He was also Chief Minister of the KwaZulu bantustan until 1994, and later became Home Affairs Minister from 1994 to 2004.

Buthelezi’s political legacy is inextricably linked to the IFP and the violence of the 1980s and 1990s, says political scientist and author Richard Pithouse.

Buthelezi is remembered by some as one of the worst Bantustan leaders who collaborated with the apartheid regime.

At the time of the IFP's early years, the apartheid system was organised around creating ethnic homelands or "Bantustans".

Buthelezi's collaboration with the apartheid state goes back to the 1950s, according to Pithouse.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi has spent a long life trying to suppress certain kinds of critique... But the facts are there.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

Collaborating with state intelligence, with the military, and engaging in violence against people who are organising against apartheid is a very different thing.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

There's simply no doubt that Inkatha engaged in sustained violence from the mid 1980s right through the end of apartheid.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

His fate as a historical figure is definitely tied to the founding of Inkatha, as it was then in the 1970s. It became the IFP in the early 1990s.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

There's no doubt that he built Inkatha into a significant political force by the 80s, which came to play an important and very contested role in South Africa at that point.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

Inkatha was an ethnic project. There was always tensions between people who were committed to a broader nationalism and those committed to forms of ethnic nationalism.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

He was expelled at Fort Hare for political activism.

Richard Pithouse, academic, political scientist and author

Pithouse dived deep into Buthelezi’s political life and South Africa's history.

Listen to the in-depth discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


This article first appeared on 702 : 'Mangosuthu Buthelezi's collaboration with the apartheid state began in the 50s'


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