This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
09 Aug 1990: Mkhize, Goodwill
POM. Goodwill how would you describe yourself?
GM. I would say I was just a middle of the road man.
POM. But in terms of your position within your community?
GM. Well I would say right now I could be just one of them. I could be called just one of them. Yes, with no constituency, no leadership role being played except on charitable organisations like crèches and like that.
POM. When you look at the events of the last six months, the unbanning of the ANC and the SACP and release of Mandela, do you think that the country is irreversibly on the road to majority rule? Do you think that De Klerk has conceded on the issue of majority rule?
GM. I'm inclined to say that the country is towards majority rule. Such has been that the release of Mandela, the release of the SACP and intended permit to allow the exiles to come in, can only be done by somebody who is aiming at a majority rule. Furthermore the statements, the actions of FW de Klerk which have alienated him from the far right, leaves him with nothing else but the left, the middle of the road, as people who could support what he is aiming at. And that is nothing else but majority rule that can be supported by the blacks who have been oppressed for the past 300 years.
POM. You said something in the car which was certainly interesting. You said that when Inkatha was first formed you hadn't been as tardy, your own word, as you were that you might have joined, why might you have joined at that time and why have your views about it changed so dramatically over the years?
GM. At the time you know I found that Inkatha was an unbanned organisation that could work for the people and for the liberation of the people through constitutional means. I could see it as a wherein we will be in a position wherein we will vote for something or we will get concessions from the Nationalist Party, that's the ruling government, and get somewhere. But somewhere along the line I've discovered that Inkatha is nothing else but a front for the Nationalist Party. I will expand on that later. And I could detect somewhere in the middle that the man leading Inkatha is doing all this for himself, not for the people.
POM. What would be the obvious things you would point to that lead people like yourselves to that conclusion?
GM. That is?
POM. Well the front for the National Party and that all that Buthelezi was after was self aggrandisement.
GM. The front for the Nationalist Party comes in like this, if I am fighting you and you are fighting me you can't give me a regiment of police to be governed by me knowing that whatever I am doing is to liberate myself from you. That's the first point. The government shouldn't have given him the KwaZulu police if he was fighting them. As much as this stage they can't give any police to Mandela because they are opposing factions. It is only when the other party sees you not being dangerous to him that you are going to perpetuate what it is perpetuating, that is oppressing the most that they can. That's one of the things we know. Further I find that somewhere in the middle Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi started moving away from the people. Talking about me, I, my people, my King and I, and we found that whatever decisions are to be made in three, four, five, six, seven different issues couldn't have been taken by popular vote but it was his own decision. The first decision is moving the capital of KwaZulu from Nongoma, which is the traditional capital, to Ulundi. And Nongoma is next to the King's palace and it has always been the traditional capital of Zulus, Nongoma, and no Zulu would have made a decision like that. The King wouldn't have made a decision like that. The Prince and the Princesses wouldn't have allowed that decision to be taken for one.
POM. How was he able to take that decision then?
GM. He dictated. There was a conflict at one stage between him and the King and he wanted to shoot the King at one stage when he was called in. The King had started a certain party with some other people down in [Umbilo(?)] and the Chief Minister discovered that there is an opposition party that is coming and he wanted no opposition. He called the King to Ulundi to tell him to disassociate with this or else he cuts his salary off. Hence operating here that the Princes are saying that his salary, so that the strings he's pulling the King with are going to be severed and the King will be free to feel and act according to his will not as dictated upon by the KwaZulu government and Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
POM. Those were the factors?
GM. Those were the factors. See he was the witness in a case, we got to know about it, where Dorothy [Meiende(?)] was found with arms somewhere, the whole thing was that Dorothy brought in arms, a cache of arms from Mozambique for the ANC, and she hid them and she went over to tell him that we have got some arms at the point so and so, thinking that he still belongs to the organisation and we are removing these arms to Durban. And he went straight to the priest and reported and he was witness in that case. This scared me, then I knew on which side he belonged. When the priest came in and ordered a consent, you know, what I had already suspected, he belongs to the other camp. And as it is if you look at each and other statement that he makes, he never talks about liberation of the blacks. He will always be telling you about the dangers of the ANC, exile ANC, until they came in and then he's carrying on as he is doing now.
POM. Where do you see or understand the origin of the violence in Natal to come from?
GM. The violence in Natal, I think it has got its origin from the place where I find the Chief Minister is intolerant of criticism. People singing, chanting, toy-toying, I don't know whether you know anything about toy-toying, singing, and he hates that. He can't stand any opposition. That's when it started.
POM. And this would date back to?
GM. About four or five years ago.
POM. Now this would have been when the UDF were to start emerging?
GM. Yes, and COSATU playing in as another strong opposition that was showing that it is now drawing people away from him. COSATU again, when you come to COSATU, when that confederation, that trade union, was formed it embarrassed him because it was on the depths, in the centre where he was known to be the guy who has got the maximum following, the majority, where people were following him. And then COSATU came in and its first rally was in Durban, attended by about 80,000 people. The following year, a month after, I think 11 months after COSATU formation, then he formed his own, what do you call it, UWUSA, United Workers Union of South Africa. And UWUSA was only formed because he wanted to show COSATU that he can also be in a position to have a following as large, or even larger. He banned any new recruitment of people to COSATU in KwaZulu. As you saw the statement I think in yesterday's paper where one of the youth guys says that now trade unions can recruit in KwaZulu, are free to do so. It is funny that it follows a legislation that was debated about a week or so back where all trade unions were banned in KwaZulu, as a matter of fact you can lose a job if (you belong to a trade union).
POM. All big unions are banned in KwaZulu?
GM. Except UWUSA, everybody must be a UWUSA member.
POM. So what form has this violence taken? Where does it take place?
GM. The violence started in a mild form, that is the hit squad, I'm sure you've heard about the Claremont issue where members, Claremont is like its name, for equal rights, and the Chief Minister wanted it to fall under KwaZulu so there were elections in Claremont of councillors and he had put out about six or seven candidates, who were going to stand for elections and no candidates were supposed to win the election. After winning the elections then they would have voted for this piece of land to be incorporated into KwaZulu. They lost everything. And the councillors who were opposing the incorporation of Claremont into KwaZulu were all killed. One of them was Tshabalala, another one was Emmanuel Kuzwayo(?) the lawyer, he escaped but his house was burned, the lawyer in Umlazi, and there is an ongoing case, I'm sure you've heard about him, John ... who has got about 16 charges against him and four of these charges is where he is alleged to have killed some of these councillors. He led some members of the hit squad, who were a Zulu hit squad, who were responsible for the deaths of those two and the cases go on.
POM. So how would the violence start in a given place? What would like precipitate it?
GM. It normally starts in this fashion. You get a group of people, two, three, four, five individuals who will be saying anti-Buthelezi things, or stories, or will be preaching to people how bad Buthelezi is; well after that you get a faction of people coming in either to destroy their houses or to kill those people. That is how it started. But it was also on a minor scale of about 15 or 20 people, as it used to happen in Lamontville, 15 people would come in a truck or a car or a van and attack that house where somebody has reported that he is anti or he is recruiting people away from Inkatha. That is when it started. Then when five, six or seven houses are hit in a certain locality you find that the community started arming themselves against these people and then it escalates to whatever you see now in ... in Mpumalanga, in Edendale and ...
POM. So it is quite clear in your mind that it is Inkatha who is at the root of the violence?
GM. It is. You could find that, as I quote these areas in Mpumalanga, Kwamakuta, Johannesburg, there's an Inkatha element in each and every one of them. There is a common denominator which is Inkatha.
POM. We've heard that UDF supporters tend to be people from urban areas.
GM. Most of them.
POM. Younger people, Inkatha supporters might be people in rural areas or older people, is that the pattern?
GM. Yes, that is the pattern.
POM. So let's say if somebody came from a rural area into a city would they be more likely, given their background, to be a traditional Inkatha supporter?
POM. And so automatically they would have to choose a side. Are people compelled to choose sides here?
GM. No, they are not compelled, because in getting accommodation in the townships you can stay with a cousin or an uncle, you make your own decisions. He could come from the rural areas into Durban being a pro Inkatha fellow but after discussion with other people and seeing things that are being done by Inkatha in his name they change, yes.
POM. You said, too, in the car that you didn't think Mandela should meet with Buthelezi, could you elaborate a little on that?
GM. There I have a problem in Mandela meeting Buthelezi. There is absolutely no (sense) in him meeting Buthelezi. Buthelezi should be treated like a spoiled brat, a spoiled brat is not on the floor or the wall as I heard in Natal. He started the whole thing in Mpumalanga, Mandela was still in prison at that time. That's where he started.
POM. Mpumalangawould have been?
GM. Last year, the beginning of last year and that thing has been on going for quite some time. And then he carried on down in Kwamakuta, started killing people there who were anti-Inkatha and then he said Mandela must come and address this whole thing. Mandela didn't. Well there is some semblance of normality settling in in Kwamakuta. Then he moved to Maritzburg where people were moved out of their houses, about 400 members in one weekend, not even the weekend, it was from Sunday afternoon after the rally he had down there, until Tuesday afternoon. But then he said you know that place will never be quiet until Mandela comes in and addresses these people, comes along with him and then they have a rally, a peace rally or a prayer meeting and they address the people. Mandela didn't go there. And he has now moved to Jo'burg and it is now slightly quiet there so it's normal, there is no activity or if there is it's just one, two, three, or four sporadic skirmishes where nobody dies but somebody is injured just because of whatever people have against other people and they're retaliating or that sort of thing. They have now moved to Jo'burg and they have started it in Jo'burg and he is still calling on Mandela to go. He has made this call I think since March.
POM. I suppose what surprises me is that, you may remember when Mandela was in London and he made some remarks about the IRA and Mrs. Thatcher and then he kind of backed away from it. But he said that what he was trying to say was that if two groups are fighting each and there is violence that they ought to talk to each other. And yet here there is a situation which week by week is getting worse. I'm sure that last week must have been one of the bloodiest weeks in South African history in terms of violence.
GM. He was talking about the government doing something.
GM. And he is no government. Mandela is no government. The government has got the might and just got to know the obligation to maintain law and order as much as he says FW de Klerk has got to talk to Buthelezi, disarm him and take that to the police and let the situation be normal.
POM. What do you think are the essential steps that must be taken by the state to normalise society?
GM. It's simple because you find that if you look at where the Inkatha section lives and where the fight was, it's a distance of about seven to eight kilometres and that area is controlled by police and the SADF, that is the army. And a group of about 15 to 20 thousand people moving in seven kilometres with police in the vicinity could be stopped before they go to the third or the fourth kilometre to watch the people they killed and displaced from their houses. And nothing was done by the police and nothing was done by the SADF. I think if they had stopped them there, nothing would have happened. They would have been arrested and disarmed and that's it. But much as you here in Johannesburg, they were there when the whole thing started. Then later on when then they started shooting. So the people are retaliating after being hit or killed.
POM. What do you think Buthelezi wants out of all of this?
GM. He wants to show everybody else that he is a key member in the whole thing. He mustn't be left out. He mustn't be left out of the negotiations. He mustn't be left out whenever they speak. He must be one of the key players in the book.
POM. Do you think he wants a KwaZulu state, a federal system with him retaining a large degree of autonomy over KwaZulu?
GM. He is aiming at being the Prime Minister of South Africa. Failing that ...
POM. Tell me how he sees that?
GM. It's impossible, but he is, he is thinking of that. He is aiming at being the Prime Minister of South Africa. He has got those delusions. But failing that he wouldn't mind having the system and having KwaZulu as a separate state.
POM. He would say in response to that that he doesn't want a KwaZulu state, that his Indaba in fact was that would make him lose power not gain power.
GM. The Indaba was in the beginning where he was trying to coalesce. but what? That was going to push him. And he was highly charismatic at that time and he could have gone very far. His noble attempts at getting things going through Indaba were quite good. He started to show that people can talk to De Klerk. But fortunately he was not involved. It was Dhlomo who was involved. The view is that he has shown his colours at that time with Indaba when certain crucial issues came up. But fortunately he stood his ground, Dhlomo did. So it was rather unfortunate that Dhlomo left it because Dhlomo couldn't stand violence. I'm sure you have seen his statement in the press. And you have seen the reason why he left KwaZulu, he left Inkatha he left all the other portfolios that he had whilst he was sponsored by the Chief Minister of KwaZulu.
POM. So, in your own view, do you see the violence here being brought under control in the near term or is it going to go on as it is?
GM. I think before the end of the year the violence will be under control. The voices are coming from all sides describing what could be done to stop the violence and are serious without being restrictive if the KwaZulu government disbanded and the Zulu army disarmed, there won't be any violence.
POM. Do you see this happening?
GM. Yes, it can happen. F W de Klerk is committed to negotiation and if this is going to cripple negotiations then he is going to go back to the people who are responsible for this like Adriaan Vlok and Magnus Malan and say we've got to stop it one way or the other, except if he is not controlling the police and the army. Because it's the army that does that, you will know this is the end of the hit squads, which are part and parcel of all players in the whole thing, the vigilantes and Inkatha. The vigilantes in Cape Town and Inkatha in Natal and Transvaal.
POM. Do you see Buthelezi as having a place at the negotiating table or will he stay away?
GM. He will, he will have a place because he will be called there by, not by the people, but by FW de Klerk.
POM. Your white colleagues, when they observe the violence that has been going on here and is now sweeping part of the rest of the country, do they talk to you about it?
GM. Yes they do. They call it the black on black violence.
POM. In what terms do they talk about it?
GM. Those who come from Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, say it. Do you know the difference between those guys, there are some whites who are coming from Rhodesia and others who come from Zimbabwe, the conservatives come from Rhodesia, the progressives come from Zimbabwe? Those who come from Rhodesia say the pattern they have seen from the Limpopo town, where whenever there is a bomb around here then these guys will start fighting and killing each other and killing everybody and killing the economy in the process. And then if they form a government then there will be a coup d'etat the following day and the other. There are those who say the economy of the country is responsible for the situation, the poverty, the struggle for limited resources. And all the other social economic problems are manifesting themselves in the violence and intolerance and all of that.
POM. That's the Rhodesian ...?
GM. No, no that's the Zimbabwe tie. The Rhodesians say it's the pattern.
POM. Do you get any feeling of there being an anxiety on their part?
GM. There is.
POM. Particularly with the more liberal people there is a fear that they can't admit to, like - you know what I mean, they want apartheid gone but they see the substitute being dangerous and they feel guilty about expressing that anxiety because it makes them sound like the white Rhodesians or whatever. A number of people we talked to are ladies in Black Sash, they said, You know many of our friends have their bags packed. And it seemed kind of odd that people who've opposed apartheid may be the ones who are getting out. And the ones who wanted to stay, want stick with it, would be the ones who will be stuck here. Do you pick this up?
GM. Yes, you've got your things packed and going is not that much of ... in most of the whites we talk to at work. But they see that the economy will be ruined by take over by the blacks because they are going to nationalise the industries, they are going for one man one vote, they are going for one party states, and then whatever has been built over the years is still to be torn apart by the warring factions. But there are some who say that after the experience that they have seen up north and looking at circumferences surrounding whatever happens in the north, we have got a different kettle of fish and we've got different ingredients over here. Infrastructure is good, we have got resources, we have got technology, we have got skills and if and when people do sit down and start working, the economy - there will be a lot for everybody to share. It will be made clearer in about five years after the removal of apartheid.
POM. Again, when your white colleagues talk about the future, or future government, do they see that as being a government comprised mostly by blacks or do they think that ultimately there is going to be some kind of power sharing arrangement where even though blacks would be a majority in government there also will be perhaps a ...?
GM. Mixed, most of them think it is going to be mixed.
POM. National Party plus the ANC, but it is going to be some kind of, even though the ANC would be the dominant partner you would still have the National Party in there playing a role and a substantial role perhaps.
GM. They see that, yes. They see the National Party playing a very big role in the future government, even though the government is black, most of them think like that.
POM. What do most blacks you associate with think when they think of future government?
GM. They think the future government is going to be black, totally black. The young guys would see nothing white in their future government. People of our age group, the forties, see a multi-coloured future government.
POM. What about young people? Many people talk about this generation of young people who have no education, who are unemployed, perhaps unemployable, who are used to a culture of protest and confrontation and who see the ceasing of the armed struggle as - they look on it with somewhat suspect eyes. Are they a volatile factor is all of this?
GM. Very volatile. Very volatile.
POM. Does this prevent an opportunity like the PAC?
GM. Definitely, and they have found a home with the PAC.
POM. They have found a home?
GM. They have found a home with the PAC. Though others are still with the ANC.
POM. How do you see this playing out? I mean are the PAC going to become a more potent force, something to be reckoned with? A force that could derail negotiations or delay them or hold them up?
GM. It won't derail or hold negotiations up. I think they will say, if you decide on whatever you are deciding and you go and negotiate and surrender as you have seen posted all over the walls saying negotiations equals surrender and surrender to the Boers and then you go for negotiations you do it, but I feel the PAC after it gets in the results of whatever is being negotiated now will join the fold, yes. Radically they will join the fold. They'll say what you have achieved is what we wanted but we didn't want to achieve it the way you did.
PK. There was a question, a more personal question, being a Zulu yourself and your wife being a Xhosa, many people have talked to us about the ethnic factors in this conflict. Do you see it? Is there a, I don't want to raise you and your wife's situation because you have experiences that are shared and maybe you don't recognise it at all, but do you see it as a factor of tribal ethnicities in this?
GM. In rural areas, yes, it is quite strong. My grandfather was a chief. My grandfather being a chief, my father missed chieftain because he was the second boy. Alright. Whenever we go home you see the reaction whenever you tell them who your wife is and where she comes from. But again you find that that's the reaction, if you give a day or two and it's over. But in the township as well going around, and if I say my wife is from Umtata they feel that we shouldn't have mentioned it because it doesn't mean anything.
POM. You had talked about that in different ways. You talked about the Zulus thinking of themselves as being superior.
GM. Yes, the rural Zulus will think they are superior to Sothos, superior to Tswanas, they're superior to Xhosas, and unfortunately all these other nations or tribes never oppose the Zulu when he's talking about that. Nobody has ever tested that.
POM. We spoke earlier about identity. How, if you look at yourself first and then maybe the Zulus in general, if that is possible, how do you think of yourself?
GM. As a Zulu primarily and a South African secondly. But again you find that the nucleus now that will be or else that is done by the Zulus for the Zulu is Zulu. It is embarrassing to proclaim that I'm a Zulu.
POM. Do you think in an odd way there is a kind of a peculiar parallel level between the Zulus and the Afrikaner? Afrikaners say they think of themselves first as Afrikaners and then as South African. Zulus say that Afrikaners think they are superior.
GM. To everybody else, God gave them, all that. There is parallel. But again once maturity comes in you find that it wears out. But there is a parallel.
POM. There have been some suggestions last week, some stories of people, Zulus who had nothing to do with Inkatha seeing from their point view that what was going on was kind of violence against the Zulu people in general and began to cohere as Zulus making the violence more ethnic.
GM. You say people who are Zulus?
POM. Say people in Soweto, they are not members of Inkatha, but then there is an attack, retaliation or whatever say on Zulus in a hostel and what they see is that other people are killing Zulus so they join the Zulus, they cohere as Zulus.
GM. No they don't. I have got a friend who calls me for the past week or so, he has been away, he used to be associated with the Zulus who are doing whatever they are doing over there. He is a Zulu but he is from right in the centre of KwaZulu, he said You know I just couldn't. And I heard about these people coming, there's a bus trying to taking out these kids who are saying evil things about the Chief Minister.
POM. One thing that struck me is that insults seem to play a large part in all of this.
GM. Yes, it goes back to what I said, intolerance by the Chief Minister, he hates being insulted but he insults everybody.
PK. People who lived in the township who say, men your age who have been burnt out of their homes who say they will die, they will give their life for Mr. Buthelezi?
GM. Yes, it's traditional Zulu. They could be in towns and townships but its traditional Zulu. You are a hero if you die for the chief. You don't like anybody saying evil things about your chief. And I know it as somebody who comes from a royal family.
POM. Is Buthelezi's family part of the royal family?
GM. No it's the mother who is from the royal family.
POM. His mother was?
GM. His mother was. His father was just an ordinary chief.
POM. So does that give him any particular relationship to the royal family?
GM. Yes, he is a nephew to the old guys and he is an uncle to the young guys.
POM. So he claims relationship? I mean we've heard other people say ...
GM. But not royalty.
POM. He's not royalty, he's just related to royalty. Thank you very much. You have shed light on a number of things because on a lot of these things we have just talked about right now, Frank yesterday kind of clammed up, thought that he was ...
PK. He had the hardest time saying that he was a Zulu. He beat around the bush, finally he said it, but it was all this defensiveness you know, I'm a man. A nice man, a very nice man. Has anybody in your family joined Inkatha?
PK. I mean in your family back in home?
GM. The chief is a member of Inkatha.
PK. That's your brother.
GM. Yes, I have a brother who is a chief. He is an Inkatha member.
POM. Do you have discussions with him?
GM. Yes, a lot and he sees our point. He's Inkatha because he's scared. If the Chief Minister would hear that he has got some sentiments which are anti-Inkatha something would be done to him. Either killed or - they can't dethrone him because he was not elected but projects in his area would be frozen out, won't be done and things like that.
POM. So there is a lot of patronage paid, the power of patronage paid, it's a big element in this?
POM. Wonderful, glad you turned up.