About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

06 Aug 1991: Zwelithini, Goodwill

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POM. Thank you Your Majesty for seeing me again, for agreeing to give this interview. I greatly enjoyed our interview last year which I found very stimulating and I continue to use the traditional walking stick that you gave me as a gift.

. When I was reading through the interview we did last year, I was struck by the elegance of the way in which you were expressing your fears for the future. You said there are too many people who don't want the Zulus to live peacefully; other races are instigating the Zulus to fight each other; they want to divide the Zulus; they fear the strength of a united Zulu nation. In the past year, during which the violence has continue, how are your feelings on the same issue?

KZ. On that point, I would like to say this, I mean from what I said, I will not feel ashamed of what I have said in the past. As you can recall, the whole interview we had, it was at a time when the attacks were taking place against the Zulus and most of the things that were being said at that time,. I mean that were happening at that time, were just coming straight to the Zulus. So even now, as I say, I will not feel ashamed about what I said because if you can count, in most of the things that are taking place, people are still mentioning the Zulus as the people who are trouble makers which is actually not so because the Zulu people are not the people that really have been to outside this country to equip themselves with some western weaponry that is being distributed all over the country. So now, somebody should know the fact that the leaders of the Zulu people have never been out to seek for any help from any country whatsoever, especially as you know that communism is something in Europe, especially in Russia and other countries like the Scandinavian countries, that were very much supportive to the communist organisations. They have just moved away from communism.

. So now the attacks, as far as we are concerned, have been misused against our belief. Because the unity that is amongst the Zulu people is not the unity that really people should talk about now because it is something that was done long ago and if you can just recall to the time when Nigeria, and look at the time when they were fighting for their freedom, a country like Biafra, there is a country that they attacked and took over during the time when they were fighting for their freedom.

POM. France?

KZ. No, not France. Biafra. So the people of Biafra were very much united because communism and when people's nations were fighting for their freedom, they were very interested to overcome the other nations, so the way the Zulu people are being looked at is the way I look at it, as some happenings that have happened to the Biafra nation. These people were very much advanced in their unity and working together in the developing of their own country, which actually, with the wars that have taken place, with the attackers of the enemies from all round ...

POM. So you would equate the plight of the Zulus in a way with the plight of the people of Biafra?

KZ. Actually the way attacks are being thrown amongst my people.

POM. Why do you think that outside elements still want to label the Zulus as trouble makers?

KZ. Actually the most fact that people must understand is that we are more than any other race group in this country, and besides that the Zulus people are known with their deeds and how the Zulu nation was built.

. The time when the Zulu nation was built, if you can just recall that after 1928 the unity that was amongst the Zulu people was excellent. I mean 1828. So that was the time of the death of the founder of the Zulu nation, King Shaka. So now, to bring hundreds of tribes together within twelve years time is a very big job, which really I don't think it has ever been done in the whole world. So at that time, the accountability of the things that were taking place at that time in Africa and Europe, the fear from other race groups should take place but although we know that King Shaka was not conquering the nations to be subjugated, he just fought the people to bring them under his authority. So he never hated them, he just let all the tribes come under the Zulu rule, carrying on with the traditions that they were familiar with, but there are some other traditions that brought them together.

. Another thing you must not forget that it is only the Zulus in the RSA that still have a King. So, if the Zulus are proud of what they are because it is their symbol of unity, we must not forget that given the jealousy from other race groups, these attacks should be expected.

POM. Do you think that, to follow up what you have said, that the other nations, tribal groups in SA fear the Zulu nation in the sense that in a new SA that you might, as you have the biggest nation and the most unified nation, be able to dominate them?

KZ. Actually we are not in the process of dominating any other group.

POM. But do you think there might be fear on the part of other ethnic groups who remember you historically as being of warrior stock?

KZ. That might be it but it might not be it. We would have to look at this. The time when the SA government i.e. the government of Mr. Vorster, and Mr. PW Botha there was some black nations in SA like Transkei, Ciskei and Bophuthatswana, Venda who really had decided to take the initiative of setting the so-called homeland independent nations, the ideology of the SA government at that time. We Zulus have refused because the Zulus are spread all over the RSA and they have contributed a lot in each an every economical aspect of this country. So now, it would be stupid for us as Zulus, although we know that we have got our own constituency which is Natal, but we just take SA as belonging to all of us. So it would be wrong for us really to accept the homeland independence at the time when it was being pushed to us, because we took ourselves as citizens of SA. So, I can look at it, I mean from those who have accepted so-called homeland independence, as fear. They were fearing us. What really is going to take place because in numbers really, the Zulus are more than any other race.

POM. Since last year it seems to me, and correct me if I am wrong, that both the ANC, especially since they suspended the armed struggle last September, and the Zulu nation preach that they believe in multi-party democracy with elections held frequently, with a constitution and a bill of rights protecting everybody. What are the things that separate the Zulu nation from the ANC? What is the difference in your respective views of what a new SA should look like?

KZ. I am so pleased that you have asked that question. Actually a new SA is not going to be new with new people. It will have the same people that have been fighting for SA to change. So it is just the structures that are going to be the same. So, as it happened in 1948 when the NP was taking over power in this country, it has never changed the structure of other race groups in this country. It was just the policies of that party that were imposed to suppress the idea of blacks in this country.

. So, as we are people who have stood for so long to fight apartheid, to ask the central government to release all the prisoners, political prisoners, it is because we wanted all of us to work together. Unfortunately because differences are always there when people are fighting for their freedom, even when the country is being ruled by that certain party, but differences will still be there. That is why you find in some other countries some other rebels who just take the initiatives of going back to the bush because of not being satisfied with the ideology of the policy and the running of that country.

POM. What do you believe the ANC wants for a future SA?

KZ. Actually, to ask that question, as you are the journalist, I know that you have got a lot of reading and the way how they intend to do long ago, they wanted to seize power for themselves, and then to rule this country. So now, we don't believe in the seizing of any power but things must be done the way it can satisfy everybody. So when people, let me put it like this, when another party wants to take over it would mean that we people of KwaZulu have never contributed anything towards change in SA, something that has been taking place for so long, being contributed by the Zulus in the political seen of SA.

POM. Do you still think that the real agenda of the ANC is to seize power?

KZ. Actually I can't say that it is still in their minds because sometimes they don't pronounce it, sometimes they do with their sayings. It means that the idea from the beginning was to seize power so I think even today they still have the same idea to seize power.

POM. Do you think that what the ANC wants to do is to establish a one-party state?

KZ. Actually that is what they intend to do because as we are talking about this interim government, it still means what they meant in the beginning. Because this interim government, we don't know really where do they get it from, the idea of it. It is something that they have never discussed with us. Because, although I am not a politician, because I am above party-politics, but the way I look at it, I don't know whether this was done by the blacks of SA, this Harare Declaration, who has contributed. Because I have never heard of any Zulu man contributing towards that. So it is something that was done outside this country and then imposed on us. So that they intend to force us to accept it.

POM. You had no say in its formulation at all?

KZ. No not at all.

POM. Is the ANC perceived by the Zulu people as predominantly a Xhosa organisation, as being representative of the Xhosa nation?

KZ. Actually from the beginning, if you can look at the beginning of the organisation itself, the founder of the organisation is Dr. Seme, who was the son-in-law of my great grandfather King Dinizulu, he got married to the eldest daughter of King Dinizulu and people must understand that year before, I think it was a few months before he died, he was the patron of the ANC, which was found in 1912 in Bloemfontein by his son-in-law. And then, the time when he was not well, the ANC members in four different provinces, Natal, Cape Province, Orange Free and the Transvaal, the leaders there had collected some funds to assist King Dinizulu to be flown to Germany because the only hospital that would prevent the kidney disease was in Germany. But, because of the cold weather that was taking place at that time, his doctor did not recommend him to be shipped to Germany till the climate changed, so the contribution that was done by everybody in the RSA, it was the Union of SA at that time, it was just two years after the imposition of the Union of SA, so, I see no reason, although we look at it now as the organisation that predominantly is Xhosa at present.

KZ. I know that there are some of my people who are members of the ANC, but to me, I cannot say that predominantly it is the Zulus that the ANC has a large following from the Zulus.

POM. Do you think that part of the ANC agenda in that sense is that the Xhosa nation should dominate the Zulu?

KZ. I don't think that there is any race group that can dominate us. Actually that is what they are intending to do. But I don't think really, if they have got such thoughts they are making a very big mistake.

POM. I just finished Dr. Buthelezi's book before I came up and one quote that struck me in particular was that, "I am overjoyed at Dr. Mandela's unconditional release, and I ask that I tribute to him the one that he would want the most, the tribute of black unity" yet today that unit seems more lacking than ever. Why is that so?

KZ. I cannot answer for the Chief Minister, but what I can say is actually, I cannot answer for Dr. Nelson Mandela, but the world knows the fact that the Chief Minister of KwaZulu, Dr. Mangosuthu Buthelezi is the one who has made it a point that Dr. Nelson Mandela should be released unconditionally. It is very much surprising when you find that there is not so much relationship between him and Dr. Nelson Mandela because that was his dream for so long, that Dr. Mandela should be released and then at last he was released and then now the organisation, the followers they are behaving the way, really I don't think even Dr. Nelson Mandela is agreeing with. The time when he was in jail, I remember when my father passed away, he mourned with us from jail. He mourned with the Zulu royal family and then he phoned and then he wrote Chief Buthelezi the letter of condolences and then to ask him to send his condolences to the royal house, which actually has made me to feel that this man is a friend, whom when one day he comes out we will just work together, we will push to SA government to make changes in this country. But it did not work the way we thought.

POM. I remember when we talked last year you talked about Mr. Mandela was supposed to have come and visit you and that he had asked to put a wreath on the grave of King Shaka and how he had said he would meet with the Chief Minister, yet none of these things happened. Later on they did meet, and they did call upon their followers to stop the violence, but it had no impact really.

KZ. The way I saw it, it was only the Chief Minister who had called on some of the leaders of Inkatha who were busy going all over.

POM. Who were busy?

KZ. Who were busy going around and telling the people what was said. I have never heard of any meeting from the ANC side. I am not saying that it is because, in meaning that I am a supporter of Inkatha or a supporter of ANC, but the way as an observer I look at it, the way I look at things, I have never seen anyone from the ANC telling their meeting, telling their followers to calm down.

POM. So, am I correct in saying that after the meeting between Dr. Mandela and Dr. Buthelezi, members of Inkatha went around the countryside telling the people they have met and telling the people to stop the violence, but that the ANC never sent people around to do the same thing?

POM. The whole question of traditional weapons, they became an issue and again the ANC was calling on the government to have Zulus surrender their traditional weapons, and I think the agreement that was reached was that traditional weapons would not be carried in areas that were designated as unrest areas. Do the Zulus feel that they were being unfairly discriminated against? Was there any resentment among them that they had to stop carrying their traditional weapons, that they would be deprived of part of their cultural heritage?

KZ. I am pleased that you have brought up that point. These traditional weapons I don't think really we can take it as a main issue because people can say anything that they want to say at their own time. But the traditional weapons, as far as I am concerned, have got nothing to do with violence. So the only problem that I look at it, is something that is still showing the attack on the Zulu people. Because they wanted to create destruction in everything that the Zulus are proud of, because the Zulu traditional weapons have got nothing to do with all this violence. It is only the AK 47 that people should talk about which has killed so many lives of the people. So, traditional weapons, I don't mean to say that they are not dangerous, but I don't think that they are dangerous, they are more dangerous than the AK 47. Because the AK47 is the weapon that comes from communist countries that support communism.

. So now, when people are talking about traditional weapons, I am the one who is responsible for the traditions of the Zulu people, I have to look after them, I have to keep them, I have to see that traditional things that build the Zulu nation are looked after very well, so I would not be a Zulu man if I don't have my own stick. I would not be a Zulu man if I don't have a spear for hunting, if I don't have a spear for slaughtering, or either a spear for ceremonial and all those different spears, even when the Zulu man is carrying them, he is always carrying them with pride, not intentionally carrying it because he wants to kill. But if anything attacks him, he will have to prevent the problem.

POM. Now that he can't in those certain areas, do they feel that they are being treated unfairly? That this is part of their pride in their tradition.

KZ. Let me just, I am not trying to cut you off, but the only thing is that I am not being expected to carry a traditional weapon as I am here in the office. I cannot carry my traditional weapon like the Europeans carry their revolvers, putting them on the side. So now, the traditional weapon is something that stays at home. Actually, it is their security that looks after you at home. So the man is not always expected to carry a traditional weapon. It therefore surprises me that people can make such a talk about traditional weapons. Right, in an unrest area people have never been hated about not to be allowed to carry their traditional weapons, but it is a pity because that is the places where they are being attacked.

POM. My question was is there a resentment among people that they are not allowed to carry them?

KZ. Yes there is. Because the ordinary people do not understand why, because the war is on, they are not allowed to carry their sticks, when the war is on. What does he do, because he does not have a revolver and the other group has, because they have their suppliers outside the country. They have them in abundance. There are a lot of weapons that are being bought now. A lot. In fact there are arms caches all over the country. You asked the question earlier on whether the ANC still embraces a takeover in its programme, definitely so, yes. They have said it on several occasions, that if negotiations fail, they would go back to the bush, they would go back to the armed struggle.

POM. So what they are doing is they are suspending it on the one hand but they are building up their arms caches on the other?

KZ. Yes of course. And you can clearly see that the arms caches are there for the day of elections when it comes, then they would shoot at everybody and take over power. Because they are still intent on introducing a one-party state in SA. They want that on the political front. On the economic front they are still bound and married to nationalisation and also they have communism which they will introduce to this country immediately they come into power. That is why they still embrace Joe Slovo and others. Those are their differences with us. That which has failed in its mother country Russia cannot be accepted to come and rule the people of SA.

POM. Is that a reflection of your views Your Majesty?

KZ. Actually, we are not the founder of communism, it was found by other countries in Europe so now Zulus have fought too many wars. We know what a white war means and we know how many lives can be lost. And we know that the contribution that was made by our forefathers, so that is why they have changed their ideology from being a protective nation of war but to go for peace. Because we are not agreeing with communism because we know that communism means violence in the country. So if you can just look at Russia, even today, the people some of them are still in favour of communism, but most of the people of Russia want to do away with this thing because it has created them a lot of problems. You can just look now, economically President Bush and Gorbachev have made some agreements on an economical basis to help each other. Why if communism was perfect?

POM. I was just in Czechoslovakia three weeks ago and no-one had a good word to say about communism and you could not even make a telephone call for two miles across town because the telephone system was not working.

KZ. When the so called President, Gorbachev, had to go cap in hand to ask for food. We under apartheid have never gone to anybody asking for food. So it shows how bad the system is. [and in the other camps they ...] The other day, the chap from AZAPO said away with the free market system, we want a socialist system in the economic sphere in SA after liberation.

POM. So is this a correct summary of your views up to this point. That you believe that the major difference between the Zulu people and particular the Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC is that the ANC is communist dominated, Xhosa dominated, that it wants to establish a one party state and to implement large scale socialism and nationalisation and that the Zulu nation and Inkatha Freedom Party stand for a multi-party democracy, and a free market system?

KZ. Yes.

POM. I know this is going to be very painful for you to discuss the violence in Natal because it is for the most part between Zulus and Zulus. But before I get there, I would like to look at it in this context: I am Irish, I lived there until I was 25 before I went to the US, and in the US there was a large Irish-American community, 1st generation, 2nd generation and 3rd generation. And as you move their links in Ireland they have been more or less assimilated into the American mainstream, are the Zulus who left Zululand and went to Pietermaritzburg, or Durban, married there, brought children up, their children stayed there, married there, till you go a 2nd or 3rd generation of Zulus who are urban, who have lived all their lives in an urban setting and all their memories are of an urban setting, and is there a difference between this kind of assimilated urban Zulu and traditional Zulus from the rural areas of KwaZulu? Do these kind of differences in attitude reflect themselves in any way in differences in political opinion?

KZ. First of all I would not say that because the Zulu tribe knows its history anywhere you go. Like everybody is proud of his heritage. So now, Pietermaritzburg is still my country and in Durban they are still my people there, still my country. The people there, it is like anywhere in the world, in the country or either in any country in the world.

. You are what you are and nobody can change you from that. You can be highly educated, it makes no difference, you will be what you are because you are still the same. Don't forget that there is a link between the people of Natal and the people of Transvaal. Zulus come from Natal and they there are Zulus in the Transvaal, in the townships, and there is still a link between the families, relatively. So now, like in Pietermaritzburg, there are some members of my family who got married to the people of that place and there are some, like the Queen of Ulundi, she comes from Pietermaritzburg. So there is that link. It does not change any structure whatsoever. Right, political differences can take place but there is no differences between all of us Zulus.

POM. What is it that divides the Zulus in Natal along the political lines?

KZ. Let us take England and take what is taking place in Scotland. There is IRA there but there are some people from Scotland in England who are fighting the IRA idea.

POM. They are fighting?

KZ. The government of England is still fighting the IRA. The IRA is a political organisation, a terrorist organisation.

POM. Oh, the IRA, in Northern Ireland?

KZ. Yes. The Englishman that still lives there, if he is still loyal to his heritage, is fighting IRA. So now, even in IRA itself in Northern Ireland, there are British, there are Englishmen and there are Scottishmen, so that does not change that they still belong to one nation, they still belong to one government. That is why I have said differences in any country are always there. There is the Conservative Party in England, which is leading at present, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was their leader, she ruled that country politically and then John Major is the new leader of England and Northern Ireland. He is still amongst the other political parties which does not make any difference from them being English people. Because there is nobody who can fight differences.

POM. So am I correct in saying that in most countries, there are political different ideologies it is just that those differences are not pushed to the point of where people start killing each other about them. But in Natal ...

KZ. The only thing that we must not forget is that we are still on fighting to get to a new SA. The policies of the country, you must not forget that, have contributed. The apartheid in this country was written down. In other countries it exists also but because it was not written down the world has never considered that. So now, as the people that were being oppressed and everybody wants to contribute to change, that is why you find that most of the people come and find themselves clashing because of other political parties who may be are very much powerful in considering the situation, and how they should fight it. So now, we must not forget from what I have said some time back, you must not forget that there are some instigators that have been planted amongst the Zulu people to create bloodshed between them. That is why you find that there is such a lot of fighting between the Zulu people themselves because everybody is fighting for power. But that does not mean that with all the war, fighting and killings that are taking place amongst the Zulus it is something that has been blessed by myself and my government.

POM. I think you are saying that in the case of Natal that people from other groups, maybe other ethnic groups, are working to stir up trouble between one group of Zulus and another to get them fighting each other over political issues in order to weaken the Zulu nation as a whole.

KZ. That is what they are trying to do.

POM. In fact as it may happen, when you talk to people from the rural settlements ...


(I cannot hear this person). (He seems to be talking about Zulus in the rural areas and the Zulus in the urban areas and their differences). (He is placing his emphasis on the youth in the urban areas who have been influenced by people from outside KwaZulu. They are the ones who are more responsible for the violence than Inkatha. He also mentions the fact that Zulus should not be expected to all belong to one party. It is not a strange thing that there are Zulus in the ANC. Zulus are free to choose their own political lines without coercion from anybody, as is done in other parts of the world.)

POM. Just a few more questions and then thank you for your time. There is one thing that I have to bring up and that is the revelations about the funding scandal in the last couple of weeks. From my reading of the newspapers, some people say that there is evidence of a double agenda on the part of the government: helping Inkatha to undermine the ANC. Some people say that it shows that Inkatha is a puppet of the Nationalist government. I am here to listen to what your perceptions of the issue are. How do you see this issue?

KZ. I think on that one I can let the Minister answer.


. I would think people who are - you know the SA government was waging a war against sanctions all the time. Now, at the same time, the ANC was planting bombs all over SA, killing anybody who was unfortunate enough to come across or stumble over those bombs and the ANC they were going all over the world saying that this country must be isolated in all spheres including the economic sphere.

. That was a period of self preservation on both sides. The ANC to be able to carry out its programme received huge sums of money from many foreign governments. Here we are, the IFP, inside SA with a programme to carry out, incidentally, our views converged with those of the government with regard to sanctions, we felt sanctions were wrong and we still feel sanctions are wrong because they punish the victims of apartheid most, rather than the perpetrators of apartheid so we felt that it did not first reach the goal that these chaps intended it to go to i.e. punish the white South Africans because our viewpoint is that the economy of SA does not belong to whites only because they never built it alone, the economy of SA belongs to all of us. All what is happening is that they are having a better share of the economic cake that we have helped bake.

. Now, we are saying it is not the way to fight with this corrupt government by strangling the economic development of SA because in the process we, the oppressed, are more punished than the government itself. It was under those circumstances that these things happened and the people that were involved in the organising of this funding had at the back of their minds that here is a common enemy coming to destroy our economy and we are going to suffer in the process. Let us get a way of going to the people and saying to them, sanctions should not be encouraged. So we see nothing that makes us a lackey of the SA government because were fighting on our convictions.

POM. You think you have been unfairly judged?


. Most unfairly by the media because the media has been quiet on the fact the ANC has been getting and is still getting from foreign governments in order to kill and maim people in SA and nobody is worried about that. These huge sums of money were a means of carrying out a programme to introduce communism in SA. We are who are standing against communism in SA, so much is said against us for this little sum of money, which some people could refer to as petty cash, in comparison to the millions of dollars that come into the coffers of the ANC.

. So we think it is a confirmation of how we will be down the years. In fact we congratulate the newspapers on having discovered this because it is giving them another stick to beat us. Not because there is anything fundamentally wrong in principle. Not because we are a lackey of the government because on record we have opposed the SA government through and through. His Majesty told you that when the Xhosa accepted independence from Pretoria, we refused. When Bophuthatswana and Venda did the same thing we refused. When Ciskei did that we refused. Was that being a lackey of the government, because the government wanted us to accept independence? In fact there would be no talk of a new SA if we had accepted independence. It would have been completed. The policy of balkanisation in SA would have been sealed if His Majesty and his Prime Minister, Dr. Buthelezi would have accepted independence because we have the largest ethnic group and it would have been sealed, we would have been sealed or finished. In fact the Nationalist government has never forgiven us for refusing. All means and ways were used. The big stick was used, the carrot dangling was used. It could not succeed because these leaders in KwaZulu at present are men of principle. They stand firm and fair.

. So I am saying, sir, all this is just to show you that there is no stage where we have shown signs of being lackeys to the present government. Never. All what has happened is that we would take money to carry out the programme. Even from the devil himself because it was a matter of self preservation which is above morality as you know. People expected us to sit and fold our arms so that the ANC would walk over us and introduce a one party state. It is not going to happen. Over our dead bodies. If the Xhosas try to impose their leadership on us as a group, you will see the worst scene that you have seen anywhere in Africa, including in Angola and Mozambique.

POM. If one looks at Africa since 1967, there never has been a case where one elected government has transferred power to another elected government. They either become one-party states or one ethnic group was big enough so that it would always return to power, so you did not have democracy in the sense that the opposition party can really take part. What do you think there is in SA that makes a difference? Do you think this could be a real possibility in SA?


. If the people of SA don't do their homework properly, we will see in this country a one person one vote once, as it has happened all over Africa. These guys in the ANC have been out there in Zambia, which is a one party state, they have been in Angola, another one party state, in Mozambique, one party state, all over Africa one party states, and they want to come and introduce it here. All that they are planning for is to introduce a one party state government via a one person one vote once system, and then somebody will be president for life. Exactly the same thing. But South Africans must wake up!

POM. Why did the IFP not invite the ANC to participate in their congress when they invited just about everybody else including the Conservative Party, PAC and the DP there?


We are not pretenders. We are honest people.

POM. But they invited you to their conference.


They did but via a circular letter. There was a circular letter that was going around. It was not a proper invitation and so we would not - there are still many things that are still standing between us and the ANC, so it would not be proper for us to invite them because we have not smoothed off certain rough edges that still exist between us and the ANC. The leader of the ANC, Dr. Nelson Mandela still owes his Majesty a visit. He was supposed to come here in August. I don't think he is still coming, Your Majesty.

KZ. I don't think so.


I don't think so because now they are clinging to this so-called revelation so that they must now keep away from us because we are once more lepers, we are lackeys and we are not an independence organisation, so they say.

POM. Is that the reason why the IFP did not become part of the Patriotic Front (PF)?


. No. The PF was another issue. We say that is yesterdays politics, for blacks to gang up together against whites. Because in the IFP we have many white followers, what would we join a black line up for. Because we are already multiracial in our make up. SA is not like Mozambique where the whites were expatriates, it is not like Anglo which had the same thing. These are children of the soil in SA, they will be here now and even up to liberation. What is the ganging up for?

. If they had come up with this idea five years ago, then there would have been some agreement. But the whites now are saying they are willing to negotiate with us and they have joined our party. What is it that we don't want from the whites? We are not against whites. All that we are looking for is to go to the negotiating table, sort out our problems and become a one united nation of SA.

POM. Do you see a role for the traditional chiefs in a new SA. Like in Botswana where they have an upper house composed of Chiefs?

KZ. You must not forget that in Botswana, the state before it fell under the British government, the only thing that people must understand the Chiefs that were there before a new SA are the people who have been fighting for a new SA, so we are part and parcel of that. So, because they are leading people, they are listening for the people.

. I don't know about the other areas, but in KwaZulu, the King and the Chiefs of KwaZulu, it must be known that they have been contributing in change to a new SA. So everything as I have said earlier, we are the people that have been talking about a new SA. So we are not going to be excluded from what we have been talking about because we are the people who have been talking about the change.

. So if there is anybody who is thinking of isolating us, he is making a big mistake because we have got the people, we are living with the people.


To add to what His Majesty has said, I am referring to the issue of the Chiefs being part of a new SA, because the ANC has the idea that in the new SA the Chiefs must be abolished once and for all. They are making a very big mistake there because from time immemorial Chiefs have always been there with their Amakhosi. In our case here, the Zulu nation you have a Chief and you find under him Amakhosi. If someone comes and tells us that the abolishing of the Chiefs, such an old institution, and he thinks that he can do that successfully, with impunity, then I shudder what will happen because that sort of thing will never work.

POM. Your Majesty, these last couple of questions were really just some quotations from what you said last year. I would like to see whether over the year have you changed your mind about what you said, have circumstances changed from what they were about a year ago. You said that, "I don't think the ANC is interested in negotiating because they want to seize power, they just want power handed over to them. They don't want other parties to exist in this country, and that is what they are interested in and that is what they intended from the beginning".

KZ. I think they have still got the same idea.

POM. This is something that I would like you to elaborate on.

KZ. What makes us Zulus is that we stand for the truth. We believe that a lot of truth is the spirit of man, so we must always stand for the truth, that is why we are here. If a Zulu dies for lies he know that he is not going to rest peacefully.

. For sure. We know that. What is the use of dying when you know that you have been lying. What killed you are your lies. Because what God needs is the truth most of the time. So a man must stand for the truth. You cannot hide the truth.


The Zulus are known world wide, they are known for their honesty.

KZ. If we say no, we say no, if we say yes, we say yes. But if yes and no, and no and yes, that is not right. We don't believe in that. We believe in only yes if it is yes, if it is no, it is no. That is why we have refused this so-called homeland independence. That is why we had to fight to get back the part of our country Ingwavuma in 1982. It was given to the Swazis by the SA government. We just stood for the truth, that it does not belong to the Swazis, it belongs to us. Your government can't do this. We are not agreeing. That was that, and it came back to us. We did not please the Nationalist government by letting our country to please the Swazis with our own property that God gave to us.


. If we were lackeys of the government we would not have fought the government of SA for this piece of land. It was a critical issue.

KZ. It is one of the most beautiful countrysides in Natal.


There is a very critical tendency from people to tend to critically ... we got it from the horses. For them to see us as not lackeys to the SA government they should look at the Ingwavuma issue. We fought it and took it to court in Bloemfontein and we fought tooth and nail to retain Ingwavuma.

POM. You mentioned last year how you had been disappointed that Mr. Mandela did not keep his promise to come and visit you and the Minister mentioned that he was supposed to earlier this year. How would you assess his performance over the last year? Has he lived up to your expectations as a national leader, or has he disappointed you, and do you think he is trying to lead the African people in the right direction?

KZ. As the King of the Zulus I would not let anybody to show any degradation on me, because a degradation of myself is a degradation of the whole Zulu Kingdom. So if Dr. Nelson Mandela does not show any respect of what he asked for, because I am not the one who asked to see him, I don't see anything that can take him to where he can command me to come to him. I don't see myself doing that. I don't care they can think that they are in power, but I will stand and die where I am. My grave will be here. So as far as what really their intent is politically in this country, I must say that if they think that they can do things without the Zulu people they are making a very big mistake. Because we have been slaves for so long and I don't think we could allow our people to be slaves again. We cannot be ruled by the British first and be oppressed, and our country was deprived, and then the Afrikaners the second time, and then the Germans came with their Christianity, although they never fought a war openly with us, but they have taken our land whilst they were given permission, to run education and Christianity amongst our people. So that was one of the oppression. I don't think my people can be oppressed again. I think even God won't allow it.

POM. Let me stop at that point and thank you very much for your time and your patience. In time I will have a transcript made and sent to you.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to theThis resource is hosted by the site.