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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

20 Aug 1990: Mdlalose, Frank

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POM     This is the 20th of August and we're interviewing Frank Mdlalose. Minister, taking your mind back to Mr. de Klerk's speech on February 2nd, were you surprised by the contents of his speech and what do you think motivated him to move so rapidly and so broadly at the same time?

FM     I was happy, and happily surprised, about the speech. And, in fact, I was a little surprised that he had gone as far as he had gone, and happily surprised that he had done so. I feel that this is the sort of measure that should have been a done a long time ago. One of the surprising things to me was that he had gone as far as even allowing the South African Communist Party to be off the hook. And I thought that was a good, brave step. I had not expected that he would go as far as that. The second question is about motivation. What do I think motivated him to take such a rapid step? I think he perceived that after all the many years of resistance by the people, he perceived that we were at a stage where it was no longer possible to stand back and hold up a tide of water, it was no longer possible.

POM     Do you think that Mr. de Klerk has conceded on the issue of majority rule?

FM     I think he has conceded on the issue of majority rule but would like to have some protections.

POM     What form do you see that protection taking?

FM     I don't know what he has in mind, but when we were working in the Indaba in Natal/KwaZulu in 1986 we provided for these protections.

POM     Well, do you think that De Klerk has conceded on the issue of black majority rule?

FM     I think he's conceded that there's going to be black majority rule.

POM     But he still talks about power sharing.

FM     Yes, but look, as I say, I cannot talk on behalf of Mr. de Klerk. I can say what I perceive.

POM     That's what I'm asking for, when the word "power sharing" is used, what are the meanings of the use of that phrase?

FM     Power sharing is used, can be used, in a number of ways. He could be having in his mind the issue of an equal presence in parliament for his people, as South Africans, as well as all the others. He could quite well be having that. But in my mind, I don't think he's so naïve as to have just that approach. I think when he talks of power sharing, it's what we had with the Natal Indaba - power sharing with majority rule.

POM     Now that the obstacles, at least with the ANC with respect to talks, appear to be out of the way, and the government and the ANC are talking about setting up the next steps, how do you see this process unfolding? You have a couple of scenarios. One is a Constituent Assembly along Namibian lines. The second is a broad negotiating table with everybody sitting around it and some consensus reached on the way forward. And the third is a kind of an interim government, representative of the black community and the white, with some body sitting, composed of eminent people, again drawn from all political shades. Which way do you see as the most likely way forward, and to what extent has KwaZulu been left out of the process as it has been unfolding this year?

FM     Can I settle the last one: to what extent has KwaZulu been left out of the process as far as this year is concerned? KwaZulu has not been left out. KwaZulu, in fact, spent the whole of last year putting forward the problems that we had before we could negotiate. Now, among those things that we put out was release of political prisoners, release of organisations from being banned, return of exiles from abroad so that they too can talk about their problems which will be before the negotiations begin. So that when we went through the whole process with the government we reached a point and we said, "Right, so far as we're concerned, we are happy if you do those things." Then let them talk with the ANC, while we wait for them to be where they are. So where we were by the end of last year is where the ANC are approaching just now. So now they've advanced to a stage where we think they're virtually where we were when we said, "Right, we're ready to negotiate provided these obstacles are removed." So there's no question of us being left out, that's a very narrow outlook to assume. We are here because we've reached this point by negotiating and they are getting there by negotiating too. We don't have to talk about their political prisoners.

POM     How, then, do you see the process unfolding from this stage?

FM     I don't see either a Constituent Assembly or an interim government with eminent people, I don't see how that in the practical sense could come about. I see the way forward process myself as being that of getting to the table in the broad sense of allowing several political parties to come up and discuss the future.

POM     But doesn't this put the government in the position of being both the referee of the game and one of the players?

FM     The question of the referee of the game, that has been raised and I don't think that one is necessarily saying the government will be the referee of the game. But I can see that the government is not a colonial power from outside. It's an indigenous power, albeit not fully balanced, because it hasn't got us. If you do have real balance and had us, we would ideally come to the point that we're talking about but without any score and I don't think that can be wasted away. And to talk of Namibia or to talk of Zimbabwe, to talk of any other places, they say you should consider going to London or somewhere and have a referee there. I think it's a bit naive. I think the referees who come out here and who have crossed that point, it could quite well be that we need to, unless something else happens, it could quite well be that we need to have a chairman or some chairman as a body which will have to accept it. But in the final analysis because this is a government that is organised by the whole world, whether we like it or we don't like it, I don't see them just abdicating and saying, oh, now, we'll give in to a Constituent Assembly, or, oh, now, we'll give in to an interim government, or, oh, now, we no longer have the responsibility of governing. I can't see that happening, do you?

POM     No, so, you're saying, one, that the way forward would be a broaden negotiation table representative of the political parties in the country?

FM     Yes.

POM     Which would be chaired by a mutually acceptable chairperson.

FM     Person or persons.

POM     And that there would be no interim government.

FM     I don't see that.

POM     Does 'no interim government' mean, not a government in which the National Party might invite some members of the ANC and Inkatha to accept some posts in the government, so that while the negotiations are going on, it's not their government, it's more the government?

FM     I don't see that.

POM     You don't see that.

FM     I don't even know what purpose it would serve. I mean, only one member from Inkatha, I can't say for ANC, if you get one member from Inkatha sitting there to be government on the laws that he has not made and the laws that he doesn't believe in, on the party that he does not believe in, it doesn't make sense to me.

POM     I suppose Mr. Mandela, when he was interviewed last Sunday week in his TV interview, said that already the National Party and the ANC had entered into an alliance of sorts. And he referred to these monitoring committees that had been set up between the police and the ANC, implying in some way that already the ANC were sharing in power.

FM     Oh, really? That he was implying that the ANC's already in government?

POM     Well, not being in government, but saying they are in an alliance with the National Party.

FM     I can't see that, getting into government and taking a permanent seat to be governing on the laws that Inkatha has been fighting against all the way through and assuming that now they are part of the government, but I don't see how. If he can see that from the ANC side, well, then, that's good for his side. But I wouldn't see that as being part of government, the federal government. If you are talking of monitoring groups for anything, that is not government. That could be set up and I can quite well see Inkatha getting into a situation to monitor what is happening about a particular issues. We can go into a community and send people into a community to see how housing needs have been met in any area in South Africa. And we think that's an important thing, and we can go into that, but that does not mean we're governing.

POM     How do you see the process unfolding? There is this broadened table - who would be at that table?

FM     I've said that I see political parties, and I think that we now are in a position of sorting out these, how would we get those political parties selected? Not coming in. And I think that is what is important. I mean, if I were to come up now and say, I'm political party A, B, C and I've got twenty people following me, therefore I want to have the table there, that doesn't make sense. You would have to see what constituencies that you have and what respectability is there. Now, I'm not giving the fundamental, whoever they are, end-point answer of saying, If your party has 1,221, therefore, which was accepted, which is 1,220, I'm not at that level. But I'm just on principle that I think we've all got to come to agreement and I don't think it can come from only one person. That the political parties that are going to be at the table have to have some measure of constituency support. I couldn't lead a party of twenty and hope to be at the negotiation table.

POM     So, it's at that point, again, how do you see the process unfolding from the point where you have the parties around the table?

FM     There would be a chairmanship of some sort which, again, is still is unspoken of, my personal idea would be a group of people that would provide chairmanship. And that could be a judge, and it could be two others who would be occupying a position of neutrality of some sort, who would neither be a governmental politician or a politician of the opposition, or whatever. But some person, and again, here, we are not going to be laying down the law and saying, it's got to be this, that, and the other. We're going to sort things out because we are talking about the country, twice as much as playing marbles. It's important. So, we would see in our best world a chairmanship of some sort, and then we would get into a table where there were political party representatives that would then sort out the modus operandi of working out how the rest of the details of the talks would come about.

POM     What do you see as the main obstacles that lie in the way of successful talks?

FM     Many obstacles, of course, lie in the way of successful talks. Within the chamber you can expect a broad spectrum of approaches. There will be an approach that will be 'me, me, me', 'I, I, I'. With nothing to do, for some it's a process of 'me alone', whatever political ground they occupy, but that might be an attitude. There will be another attitude on the other extreme end of, say; I have ideas that suit other people, let's share ideas and see the way forward. I feel that there will be a lot of groups, not in parties necessarily, but groups occupying several positions even before we come to the issue. But their attitudes, and I think these are the obstacles that we'll face and it might take time to get to a conclusion, that, look, I am clever, but other people are clever, too and let us share ideas.

POM     Do you think that the last several months, while the talks about talks have been going on and as the process moves one more step forward, that cracks are now seen in the ANC/UDF/COSATU alliance, or cracks within the ANC itself, as different forces vie for position and power and influence?

FM     Well, my perception is that the ANC/Communist Party/UDF alliance is not a monolithic alliance. My impression is that they have a number of divisions, differences, separations, cracks, if you like, to cover. And I do not mean to say that those cracks are irreparable but I think there are those cracks and I think within them there is jockeying for position of importance and position of authority. I think the Communist Party people have their own agenda and I think the ANC nationalist wing has its own agenda. And I think the UDF have already developed certain strengths within the country, that they are no longer going to continue as ANC satellites, but they see power within their reach. So, these things are going to weigh within them. They may overcome them but they may not.

POM     Do you think, for example, that COSATU might have a far different economic agenda than the mainstream ANC nationalist wing of the party?

FM     Well, I think the COSATU people are primarily only in the interest of workers, are supposed to be only in the interest of workers, would have an approach that would not necessarily be coinciding with the approach of the ANC nationalist wing. In many areas, of course, they would still find lots of common ground, but I don't think that their totality of approach is the ANC's.

POM     I'd like to turn to the violence that's been sweeping the country in the last couple of weeks. Your predecessor, Dr. Dhlomo, said that, "Those leaders who are ethnicising differences between blacks were preparing South Africa for the worst possible scenario." Do you think that is happening, and if it is, who is doing the ethnicising?

FM     Well, I don't know, you will have to ask Dr. Dhlomo about that. Ask him about his statement.

POM     Well, I'm asking you, would you agree or disagree with the statement?

FM     I don't know in what context he said that, really. I got an impression that when he was talking along those lines, he was implying - but then, that's an impression of mine.

POM     That he was?

FM     I'm not going to say what he was saying, but I've got an impression that he was suggesting that it might have been Inkatha that was ethnicising the position, from a statement which I read. But I never read the full statement that was written by him, and I never interviewed him on that, so, really, I would find it difficult to talk on that statement.

POM     Well, would it be your own personal opinion or not that the conflict is becoming more ethnic?

FM     Well, I wish you could ask me not directed to what Dr. Dhlomo has said, but if you ask me directly what I think, I can talk now. But not if you keep referring to my former colleague.

POM     No, I didn't. I said, "Do you think." I'm asking you the question: do you think that the conflict has become more ethnic in the last couple of weeks?

FM     Yes, I think in the last couple of weeks, the conflict has become ethnic.

POM     And why do you feel that?

FM     It has had an ethnic overtone, I would say.

POM     Why has that happened?

FM     I don't know why it has happened. I couldn't tell you that it is because of this, that, and the other. But I think it is true that in the Transvaal, where it has reared up with that ethnic sort of ugly face, I think it is definitely not possible to deny the fact that it is ethnic. There are the reports going, one hears that the Zulus versus Xhosas, Xhosas versus Zulus, and so on.

POM     When you think of yourself, of your identity, do you think of yourself as a Zulu first, and then a South African? Or as a South African first and then a Zulu? It's a question of where does your primary allegiance lie?

FM     I will have to ask you that question. Are you Irish?

POM     I'm Irish.

FM     Now, what are you, how do you answer that yourself?

POM     Well, I just did. I said I'm Irish.

FM     Yes, well not what?

POM     I'm not, for example, I'm not British. Now, if I was in Northern Ireland, and I was a Protestant, and you asked me that question, I might say that I'm British, even though that's not an ethnic identity. So, we have people of primary and secondary identities.

FM     What you are saying is that it will depend on the circumstances at that particular time. That's what you said.

POM     No, I'm saying when you think of yourself, how do you primarily think of yourself?

FM     Yes, yes, I know, but I'm trying to find you answering that question because when I answer you, I know how you yourself give it. I know the answers but, I mean, often people talk of us and say, "Look, you're ethnic, you're tribal," forgetting themselves. Let me answer the question, then. Perhaps I've caused, you might have reason to realise that there are many ways of looking at that question, depending on the particular point in time and place that the question is put. I regard myself primarily as a human being, homo sapiens. That is where the primary issue is: are you asking for your rights as a human being, when the whites, in fact, are more human than blacks? And the primary thing, to me, there, is that I'm a human being, a homo sapiens, surely I must have rights. Whatever other nationality I belong to doesn't matter. I'm a human being, that's the primary point at that time. But if you ask me, now, on the other extreme end, when we are having a meeting out in a village, in a village where I grew up, who are you? Where do you belong? I might quite well say, "Oh, I'm Mdlalose, I belong to the clan of Mdlaloses, I'm not just a Zulu, but Mdlalose", Because in that particular setting it is important that I am Mdlalose and I've got a clan of Mdlaloses, as opposed to Zulus, clan of Zulus and family of Zulus. And in front of the Buthelezis, in this particular setting, I am Mdlalose and I will say that. But even among the Mdlaloses if I'm asked that question of where do I place myself, I suppose I'll say, I belong to the house of Mdlalose and not another house. It just depends on the situation.

POM     But, let me give you more specifically an example of the kind of distinction I'm making. You have England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. Now, if you ask a Scotsman who he is, he will not say, I'm British, he will say, I'm a Scot. If you ask a Welshman who he is, he won't say, I'm British, he'll say, I'm Welsh. So that the umbrella identity that holds them all together is being British,  but the primary identity is being Scottish, being Welsh, being English. So, I'm asking you, in this context of there being this umbrella of South Africa, if within that you see yourself first as a Zulu.

FM     Not at first, but I see myself as a Zulu, that I am a Zulu. I am a Zulu. But saying, I see myself first as a Zulu, as if to say I

POM     No, I'm not. A British person doesn't renege on their identity. If I ask a Scotsman who he is, he'll say, I'm Scots. He doesn't say, I'm British. But his first answer will be, I'm from Scotland, I'm different from the English, even though we're both British. She's English, I'm Scottish. That's the kind of distinction I'm trying to make.

FM     Well, I am Zulu.

POM     OK. Going around in circles here.

FM     No, no, I want to be clear about it, because many people, when you talk of what they want to, turn it around, and they say, "Oh, Zulu - so you look down upon all others." That is a tribalistic man, who is this guy? And that some people say, "Oh, I'm South African first", when, in fact, they're hiding the fact that they are this, that or that. Some people do that. And I'm saying that I could look at myself as a homo sapiens spruced up and quite as too under certain circumstances. But I can look at myself as a Zulu, which is what I am. And also among the Zulus, I'm Mdlalose, of course, and among the Mdlaloses, I am this particular house. These are all the descriptions that we all have but there's nothing to be presumed off on that.

POM     What is the perception of Inkatha regarding the ANC? What do you see as similar and what are the sources of your differences with them?

FM     You know, Inkatha and ANC have a lot in common. I myself was a member of ANC early on and very active from in 1950 until it got banned.

POM     Until?

FM     Until ANC got banned, I was a member of the ANC. So, really, fundamentally, the ANC and Inkatha have one goal: liberation of the blacks in South Africa. I think the differences lie in methods of attainment. We think that can be attained by diplomacy, by negotiating, by pressurising, and within the country and working in a political sense in the country. ANC, I believe, also believe that, but I think their stress is on violence, armed struggle, and sanctions.

POM     Even though they now have at least formally ceased or suspended the armed struggle, you still think - ?

FM     When, when?

POM     Pardon?

FM     When?

POM     Well, that assumedly happened at the time of the Pretoria Minute.

FM     Which was on the 6th of August. It's just hardly two weeks ago. I'm trying to say this is where the differences have been all along. And to say that two weeks ago, they've said, look, they've now got rid of the armed struggle, they no longer believe in that, then, of course, the Queen, Mrs. Mandela, has come out a few days later to say, no, no, that doesn't mean that we withdraw violence and in some sense create some good within the country. No, no, I won't talk about what individuals say. No, no, no,  they express what they want. I mean, I don't think that I can now say to her, "Get rid of the armed struggle." I don't know. But they say so, and that is encouraging to me. I'm happy to hear that. But I mean, that has been the case for many, many, years, adhere to armed struggle. And one doesn't see that by the statement of the Pretoria Minute on the 6th of August. Therefore, it's only to go like, hey, presto, we've arrived! Do you think, do you see it that way? Do you yourself?

POM     Yes. If there isn't that much difference between you, what are the causes of this awful animosity that is leading to the deaths of so many people?

FM     It's a painful thing to me. It is most painful to me because I know people who have died in this, people who were friends of mine, that are related. I know somebody who was very good and powerful as an Inkatha member when we were talking peace with them, with the UDF/COSATU group within this community. And he was a good friend, wanting peace, an Inkatha man, and he was shot dead a few days later. Now, when you've got that sort of thing it's no longer theoretical to you when you have a person like I have you here, when we are meeting for the first time. But when I have someone that I've known for some time and I know how sincere he is and then you hear that he's shot dead, it's not a thing you can look at theoretically, it's a painful thing. I don't believe in violence, I don't believe in the armed struggle. I want peace, and I want us to give and acknowledge that we may differ but you don't have to kill each other because we differ.

POM     To go back to the question, what is the cause of the awful violence that has been spreading in the last couple of weeks and before that which has been consuming Natal?

FM     I'm trying to say that it's the issue of different philosophies. This is what I've been trying to put into it, I believe in peace and I believe it can resolve our problems, but when we have been shot and killed like that by people who believe in the armed struggle, by people who believe in violence, I can quite well see that it always takes two to tango. I can quite well see some of my people in that position, some of our people who are also assaulted and are also killed by other people in retaliation. I think it's the question of the clash between two philosophies, one of peace, the other of violence.

POM     Well, among the explanations that have been put forward to us in the last five or six weeks is one which says that the ANC will not bridge political opposition and what they want to do is to wipe out Inkatha, get rid of it as a political opposition force and eventually establish a one-party state. How would you react to that statement?

FM     I believe that is a fact. I don't like to talk about the other person, but as I indicated we'd be - no, no, let me explain this. We believe that we can hold different views without killing each other. We don't believe in killing anybody to start with, but other people believe in the armed struggle, other people believe in violence. Other people don't accept that you can have different ideas and still live together. That is where the problem comes.

POM     So, we're agreeing, you would agree with that statement that the ANC - ?

FM     I would, yes.

POM     Now, let me tell you what we also hear, which is the reverse side of that and I'd like for you to comment on it. In other parts of the country where we have been, and we've travelled pretty extensively, most people we've talked to say that Inkatha is losing support. It's losing support both within Natal itself and in the rest of the country, too. I'm not saying that I believe that, I'm saying this has been what's been reported to us by people who have no particular political axe to grind. Just your comment on that observation, how is Inkatha doing nationally, how is it doing, is it maintaining its level of support within Natal?

FM     Yes. Well, I think one can do that from various points of view. But the first point of view is, what is Inkatha membership? We have 1.8 million and you can go and check up the books, this membership, now, which has grown over what it was like at this time last year, it was then 1.7 million. So, I wouldn't have thought it was losing support. Secondly, I think we can have a look at the Inkatha conference. We normally have our Inkatha conference in July. We had our Inkatha conference this year on the 13th, 14th, 15th of July. We normally have about ten thousand people attending the Inkatha conference. This last conference that we had in July, some people put it as far down as 12,000 people. That's what many papers have said. Which in any event, would be far higher than what we've ever had in the past. But we think it was 20,000. Choose between the two. Either way, even at 12,000, it's still about what we've had before. So, I think one can look at it from that point of reference, conference attendance, and say that you're losing? It's not losing, and this isn't in terms of the figures.

     The other way of looking at it is in terms of what is actually happening throughout the whole country. You see, Inkatha is being slain and being assaulted and being attacked by the ANC/UDF/Communist Party alliance, singled out, clearly, because it is the most powerful possible opponent. Nobody will assume the Dekwandetla(?) Party. Do you know the Dekwandetla(?) Party? You wouldn't know about it. Why would you know about it, because it is so small, you wouldn't know whether it is gaining support or not gaining support. Do you know the Mneza Party? You wouldn't know, it is a party in Kangwane. You know the Monshaka Party? You wouldn't know it, it is out in Gazankulu. So, I mean, all these others are not being assaulted, they're not being attacked, they're of no consequence, because they're so small. They now attack Inkatha because it is so powerful and then, going on on that - allow me, please, to continue. Going on on that, you want to discredit, you want to say it must fall, and you want to pronounce that it is, in fact, fallen, and you want to bring about whatever evidence there is that is falling, and you want to keep people against supporting Inkatha. You want to fight it to smithereens because it is so powerful a thing ahead of you. So, you must create propaganda to say with your support, oh, no, you don't offer it and all people like grey-headed old men who will also go for it. No, no, there is no support from the men at all, it's all the old people that are dying anyway, so why bother with them? Inkatha is dead, it's gone. That is the propaganda that is being promoted.

POM     You said earlier that you agreed that outside of Natal the violence could be seen increasingly in ethnic terms.

FM     Over the past two weeks.

POM     Over the two weeks. Do you think that members of Inkatha generally see the ANC as being highly representative of the Xhosa tribe, see it as a tribal organisation more than one that is based across all ethnic groups and that this lends shaper cleavage to the divisions between Inkatha and the ANC?

FM     Why would it lead to sharper divisions?

POM     Because they would see the attacks by ANC/UDF/COSATU as being an attack by Xhosas who want to dominate or eliminate Zulus.

FM     Well, let's just get over a few things cleared up. I was trying to let you ask a question in a different manner so that I could clear certain things, it's not coming out that way.

POM     OK.

FM     Let me get on to it. You see, ANC takes everybody, Inkatha now takes everybody. Before the 15th of July, but that is before this last annual conference, it took only blacks, whether they be Zulus or Tswanas or Sothos or whatever, they were members of Inkatha. It was never a Zulu organisation. I hope that is clear to you. Now, we could not take whites because it was within the country and there were laws that prevented Inkatha from taking other people than blacks, but we took blacks and we had all other blacks there. There was never a reason for us to fight Xhosas because there were Xhosas among us that were Inkatha. There was never, even though we saw at ANC that all their people were mostly Xhosa, but we had no reason to attack them as Xhosas. There were Xhosas in ourselves, too. We have them even now. So it's never been a sharp issue of Zulu Inkatha seeing ANC being mostly Xhosa, therefore taking it. That is not the point.

POM     We've talked to young people in the townships and to people who had been burnt out by UDF and by the ANC, and talked to them at some length. And many of them see it that way. Why would they?

FM     I think some of them would see it that way, not Inkatha as an organisation.

POM     No, I mean -

FM     But individuals. I think they could see it that way when they examine the fact that there has been a concerted attack on KwaZulu government, a concerted attack upon whatever seems to be Zulu by the ANC and all the other people that are around the ANC. When there's been that attack, because even now, as you know, the KwaZulu police have been called all sorts of names. Nobody gives those names to the police and it's as if they don't have police forces, when, in fact, they do. But all they think is one KwaZulu police. And when the attacks are against KwaZulu schools, and nobody attacks the Sotho schools, nobody attacks the Kangwane schools and so on. It's only Zulu things, one attacks our own Zulu clinics, KwaZulu health clinics which have nothing to do with politics. KwaZulu health clinics will take anybody, but anybody, who's ill. If you've got a cut, you don't need to be a Zulu. We don't even ask whether you're a Zulu or not. You may be as white as snow, or as yellow as the Chinese. We still treat you there but because they are Zulu health clinics certain people try to make them non-functional. And so I can understand that some Zulus who would say, look, we have been assaulted and been attacked because we are Zulus, therefore we respond as Zulus and attack back, wherever we perceive to be hating for being Zulus. And that would not be an Inkatha reaction, but it could be a Zulu reaction. And not all Zulus are Inkatha people. Some of them are in the UDF, as you know, some of them having nothing to do and some of them don't even know what Inkatha's all about. But when they are slain as Zulus, they respond as Zulus.

POM     Given that the Chief Minister had, over the years, spoken so many times on behalf of Nelson Mandela, insisted that he be released from prison before he would consider entering into negotiations, insisted that political prisoners be released before there'd be negotiations, do you think that Mr. Mandela is snubbing the Chief Minister? And if so, why would be snub him?

FM     I don't really think that Mr. Mandela is snubbing the Chief Minister. I think the answer to that came out in one of the interviews that the Chief Minister made a week ago on TV in a manner that was really sympathetic. He said Mandela has now become a captive of his own people. We know that in our minds that Mr. Nelson Mandela would like to see the Chief, he has said so before many times, he has written letters to him several times, and the ANC must feel that when he comes out, one of the things we do is to go out, and we know it's a good time to get to speak to you. He had a crowd of people that said," 'No, don't", and even after that he has still got some of the venom that is spread by those people around him. And he himself has said, "Look, people almost throttled me!" I mean, it's not the sort of thing that a man snubbing Buthelezi would be saying.

POM     Why do you think these people are so insistent that he doesn't meet Chief Buthelezi?

FM     I don't know.

POM     I mean, what's their agenda, what are they trying to make happen?

FM     I don't know other than to say if you, Dr. Mandela, see Buthelezi, you give some respectability to Buthelezi or you give him some acceptability, that he's also a human being and yet we want to destroy him. Because we don't want anybody who's going to be powerful, who has a philosophy that is in any manner different from ours.

POM     We've talked to a number of people about white fears, and particularly their fears that South Africa in some way will become 'gone the way of the rest of Africa', the economy falling to bits, there being widespread violence. What do you think the violence of the last couple of weeks conveys to whites?

FM     I think the violence of all types, really, perhaps more so of the last two weeks, I don't know, but I think violence of all types will scare whites. It must scare whites. And I think violence, particularly if it's ethnic, will make the whites even more scared, and they will want to be polarised even all the more. That can only be to the advantage of the hard leftists who want to fight to the finish. It should not be in the interest of Inkatha, for example, which is a centre body. Violence as it means on the white side being scared, being worried, and being oversensitive to what's going to happen to the future. They must ask themselves, what if these people are going to reign tomorrow? If they kill one another like that, what about whites? We'll be dead before the sun reaches mid-day. That is what whites will think. And therefore, the whites will move more to the extreme right and be more supportive of the CP, the Conservative Party, more supportive of the AWB. And it will make the whites feel all the more clear that we must have a fight to the finish. We will not allow any compromise, which would suit the believers on the extreme end, the Chris Hanis of this world to say, "Aha, that is where we want the whites to be, because we really want to fight and finish them off", and to that end, the rest of the world will know that we've no alternative but to fight them. Therefore, the armed struggle is justified. Inkatha fell off somewhere in between. Violence cannot be in the interest of Inkatha. Violence will mean to the whites that they must be polarised more to the right.

POM     Do you think if this violence continues in the manner in which it's been continuing, that the white people will have a valid point when they express those fears?

FM     I don't think it's a real valid point but I'm talking about what the tendencies will be, whether they're to be valid or not relates to another point. I could argue that it would not be valid, but you see, valid things are not always what happen.

POM     One story that was told to us by Piet Coetzer, the MP, he talked the other day about a Zulu woman whom he had helped some years ago came into his office to thank him for what he had done, saying she was sorry she missed him for two years, and then suddenly, she was totally non-political, and she suddenly said, "Why is everybody attacking us Zulus?" And he said it was the first manifestation that he had seen of Zulu nationalism, where because they were being attacked they were banding together to defend themselves as a people. Is there such a thing as Zulu nationalism?

FM     Well, there is a certain nationalism.

POM     How does it manifest itself?

FM     I think one should be asking, where does it come from? Zulu nationalism is there because King Shaka established it. King Shaka, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was the ruler in these parts and this whole area was called KwaZulu long before the whites ever had any inch of ground here. It was called KwaZulu. And King Shaka made the Zulus, combined all the tribes into one nation, all those were put together and they formed one Zulu nation. And when he went out to conquer people, he conquered them so they should increase his Zulu nation. And he ruled from the bottom of Mozambique right down to somewhere in the middle of Transkei. These were the areas where King Shaka ruled. So there was a Zulu empire, there was a Zulu nation. That was the origin of the Zulu nation, and it has nothing to do with what Pretoria, or anything like that.

POM     I've just got one more question for you, and I'll make it a short one.

FM     Good, please, please bear with me, I'm under pressure, pressure all the time.

POM     I understand, sure. I understand, I mean, I wanted to meet you this time, but I'll be coming back again over the next five or six years. But that nationalism - ?

FM     Oh, yes, nationalism. And that is when Zulu nationalism started. And of course, he was a military man and King Shaka made us a military nation, and when we met the Afrikaners in 1830, 1838, and so on, they were threatened by us because we were a very, very strong nation. When we met the English on the 22nd of January 1879, we beat them, with their British army and all, with the machine guns or whatever they had, we come with spears and shields, that's all, and we beat them at Isandlwana. We were a Zulu nation. I mean, that put out by Pretoria. So, that nationalism went on, we were the last to be beaten, even when we really had been conquered. 1906 was still in rebellion as a Zulu nation, because sects had been conquered. So that Zulu nationalism is there, and it was in Fournier's study. But of course, we've also accepted the fact that South Africa has to have one nationalism. South Africa belongs to all the people that come here, and the Zulu have spread beyond KwaZulu, they're in Cape Town, they're in Johannesburg, they're in Pretoria, they're in Durban and they're all over South Africa. And we cannot take, for example, our independence of KwaZulu, even though we would probably have the biggest claim to independence. Bigger than any other group in South Africa. But we were already integrating into the fabric of South Africa, and all of South Africa belongs to us and others.

POM     Finally, a year from now, if I'm talking to you at this time next year, how will things have advanced? Will the violence still be continuing or will it have tapered off? Will Dr. Mandela and Dr. Buthelezi have met?

FM     Oh, dear. I don't know how to answer that. I'm not a prophet, but I want to tell you that so far as the violence is concerned, I wish it had never started. I wish it would end yesterday, I wish it would end last year. I wish it would have never started, that's my genuine wish, so that if it goes on and on, the more it goes on, the more hurt I have.

POM     Do you think people will be sitting around the negotiating table that will be broadened and people will be sitting around it?

FM     If, of course, violence continues, it will hurt if we're to reach that negotiating table. It will be almost impossible to talk peace if violence continues. And that is precisely why some people want the violence to continue and that is precisely why Inkatha does not want the violence to continue because we believe in compromise, we believe in talking, we believe in negotiating. Violence is not that. So, if we had our way, we would be long rid of violence, so that we can get to the negotiating table. And anybody who doesn't see that must really be absolutely naïve.

POM     So, in a way, am I right in reading you, really, as saying that the ANC may have ceased an armed struggle in one direction, but they're fermenting violence in a second direction to achieve their agenda, which is an ANC state, a one-party state?

FM     That's one way to put it. That's how I look at it.

POM     Last, last. Will this process have to be completed by 1994 or before?

FM     We've come to the last, last. A double pun.

POM     Will the process have to be completed by 1994 before -?

FM     You mean, before elections?

POM     Yes.

FM     Well, we would want it to have been completed a million years ago. We want it to be completed yesterday, if you can help me to get it completed yesterday. But whether, of course, it will or not by 1995, then, no. But if, in fact, it doesn't get completed by 1994, God help us because I think there'll be a huge avalanche of fighting here in South Africa. If it goes on, if this violence that I hear prevents talking, which is what some people want to see happen, if that goes on, it might mean settlement will go beyond 1994, and then of course, Treurnicht will get into power. If De Klerk can't solve this within his period of time, he's had it. And then Treurnicht and Terre'Blanche and all those will get into power, and we'll have a different ball game which will be absolutely too ghastly to contemplate. It would not be in Inkatha's favour, but which would be in favour of other people, some other brothers of ours.

POM     OK, thank you very much.

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