About this site

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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 1992: Zwelithini, Goodwill

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POM     Your Majesty, you mentioned that you are down here at your farm because of the extraordinary drought that has been sweeping parts of southern Africa.  Could you talk a little about the impact that drought has had on the Zulu people of this area and other parts of Natal?

KGZ     It is not just a problem that is facing Natal but a problem that is facing the whole of South Africa and is basically facing the whole of the African continent as you know, but it is something that is being mentioned more to the southern parts so as I am here in my farm I am forced by the situation that I should see where I am committed especially in my southern projects to visit them mostly because this drought, as it is facing us most, I'll have to see how things go, how or what my stock position looks like and to see what other new tactics I should use.  Maybe as you have been travelling from my traditional residence this morning you have seen a lot of the terrible state of drought in some areas up to here.  Although I am lucky that I have some cattle here in the bushveld where cattle can make use of the leaves if the drought is so heavy, although it is not so easy to say how long it will take as it is not the first time in my lifetime that I have experienced such a drought.

     I remember when I was a small boy when my father was still alive, the old people used to tell me of the drought that took place in 1932 when my grandfather was still alive, it was just a few months before he passed away in 1933 in March, so they told me that the drought was just devastating the whole of Zululand, but it was more in my district, so that's the time that I was told that my grandfather travelled to Pretoria to go and ask for help so that his people could get food because there was nothing that was growing.  The people could not till their land because of the drought that was going on at the time and the government of the time, I think it was the government of General Louis Botha, supported the idea of my grandfather and he sent some food into KwaZulu and then people who had no money, as you know it was just before the beginning of the second world war, so all over the world things were very terrible, but the government at that time tried to support my grandfather and people got food dished out.  In 1964, in my time, as well as it was in my father's time, I remember we had a terrible drought in Zululand also, which actually made the government  import maize from overseas, that was yellow maize actually which you Americans call corn, so that maize was brought into this country and I remember that it was strange to see yellow mealie-meal at that time.  So I experienced a lot of problems at that time.

POM     Is this worse than the drought of 1977?

KGZ     That drought was from 1977 to 1983.  Actually people that noticed the drought in 1989 realised that now it was a drought, although as far as I am concerned as a farmer, I noticed in 1977 that there was a drought and we had to go and call people to go to the churches to pray for rain, sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn't come, sometimes the rain that comes doesn't help us at all because if you want to see your land looking good you need more rain but we can't just change the climate to suit our ways, so as it is this time after my experience all those years ago that I told you about in 1977 up to 1988, I was stocking food myself which actually has allowed me to carry my stock up to 1983 when the drought broke, so I lost few cattle at that time. At the present I haven't lost any because that gave me a lesson to make some hay so hay is one of the reasonable things, but if you look at an ordinary man who just keeps his cattle, not selective, not having a good breed in our society, I think it is something I have learnt from the central government, let me put it like that, to have thorough experience and have thorough training for our people so that when they experience a drought they should look at ways and means how to achieve even when a drought takes place.

     Another thing is that we black people believe that cattle is our bank.  That is what most of the black men invest his income into because as a Zulu man I can have plenty money, but if I don't have any cattle I am not recognised in the community, so you must have a cattle crop so that you should be recognised.  But when it comes to these problems people don't have such an experience that if the drought takes place it is there to wipe out their own stock so at present most of the rural areas are overcrowded, they are being over-grazed and now the Department of Agriculture of my government working together with the central government they are trying by all means to give a hand to the community with small jobs which actually could allow them to get some stones into those areas that have been devastated by the drought and put some stones in dongas, so that when the rain comes it mustn't just widen them, they must be under control so that our nature shouldn't just be destroyed, although we don't know when the rain comes what damage and how many days or how many weeks it will take place because it will destroy a lot. I am trying by all means to get around my farms to look whether my stock is still in a position so that I can keep on until the rain comes or either I will have to do reduction so that I can have that small stock that could be available when the rain comes, they should exist.

     So these are the things that as far as I am concerned, although we are facing this new political structure in our country, which actually has been very tragic for South Africa, I must say that the South African people are facing this drought problem which actually the drought is very much problematic when the economics are not in a good position and politics as you can see there are a lot of things taking place in our country.  There are a lot of retrenchments through the drought, through politics and then it is my people that are suffering which actually needs to be looked at.  How people should be encouraged even when the drought is very heavy and the politics are so heavy, not thinking that they should go to towns where really there are so much retrenchments because when they get there they have got open land which they can make use of.  The government and some other organisations, especially the Department of Agriculture, is in a position to support people, to help them by getting them seeds and all that so that they can just plant and make use of their soil.  Because I don't agree with the people when they have problems with economics or there is a problem with retrenchments in some industries, not intentionally that when those industries are retrenching that the intention is that they can employ some other people because they are bound by the situation that they should retrench because to have more production if there is no way to sell it, it is no use for the company to employ people when it is running at a loss.  I believe that our people need to be encouraged to go back to their land to make use of the land, even if it is not on a big scale but on a small scale so that they can make a living.  When they get to the town seeking for jobs, because going to the towns and the big cities is only for one thing and that is to look for a job, but if they don't get employment there is some political organisation who can make use of those people or misuse those people for their own ends which makes people not benefit anything out of that, but benefiting out of paying and all that or either being killed on the other hand and these squatter camps.  That is what these squatter camps are being created out of because I don't think really if people make use of their own land that they have left for the cities the government should expect that those people, where should they stay instead of going to the squatter camps?  And then they find the people at the squatter camps and use them for their own ends.

POM     Let me just take you back to February 1990, it has been two and a half years now since Nelson Mandela has been released and the ANC and the SACP unbanned and a lot of high expectations at the time of rapid change towards a new South Africa which would include everybody, two and a half years after this process has begun are you disappointed in the progress made to date or do you think a lot of progress has been made or do you think the situation in South Africa is slowly deteriorating?

KGZ     As far as I am concerned the situation is deteriorating because there were a lot of expectations from the people, even from the outside world, it is a disgrace.  I am not a politician but I am the king of the people.  I was thinking that when they released Mandela there would be communication between him and the Chief Minister of KwaZulu because they used to get in touch when he was still in jail.  After all, the expectations that were with the people when he was still in jail, the people thought that when he came out he would do wonders and that a new government would take over, but as I have said earlier even the outside world was looking forward to an immediate change in South Africa but I think that even the outside world sees that it is in a very disgraceful position when they look at the whole South African situation as it is.  I don't know how many envoys have been into South Africa, coming to see things for themselves, to see who are the problem creators, why these problems are being created, but since Dr Nelson Mandela has just put his foot out of jail people have been killed which actually is a disgraceful matter, because people started looting in Cape Town on the day he was addressing the people for the first time and people in Cape Town were looting.  That was the big sign that the outside world should have learnt from, it means that this is not going to be peaceful in South Africa.

POM     What do you think has happened that has led to the present situation of violence, of deadlock and your own exclusion, the exclusion of the team of Zulus from the CODESA process?

KGZ     Well let me tell you this Mr O'Malley, you know I am the king of 7.8 million Zulus.  It doesn't matter if they are ANC, PAC, AZAPO or Inkatha.  It doesn't matter whether they are just loyal Zulus to the king of the Zulus, but there are people in other race groups that believe more and pay their respect to the Zulu King.  So now, as far as I am concerned, I cannot judge for a man who thinks so high that one day he would lead this country.  The only thing that is worrying me so much is that when Dr Nelson Mandela walked out of jail, when those political organisations were unbanned, Dr Nelson Mandela himself had never been in a car to get to the people who were negotiating with the government about his release.  People today do not live for the truth, I don't care who it is, politicians are liars, they don't tell the truth.  Today the way my presence bred hatred feeling that when they hated me they supported Nelson Mandela, seeing if they could make this country be led by Nelson Mandela excluding the Zulu people, that is a very big mistake because the formation of the ANC is here.  So the Chief Minister, he is the first black leader who has started to talk about the release of Nelson Mandela and he put it quite blank when he said he will not negotiate, he will never negotiate with the government about the future of this country before Nelson Mandela and his colleagues who are in prison are released.  Now, when he came out he looked at, which I actually don't want to say he, but his colleagues and supporters showed no interest whatsoever to consult with the Chief Minister, discuss the issue with the man had kept the colours of the ANC for all those years.

POM     I remember you telling me that when Nelson Mandela was released from jail he had spoken to the Chief Minister about wanting to come and visit you and to place a wreath on King Shaka's grave and so on.

KGZ     I discussed that with the Chief Minister and the senior members of the royal family and they agreed to that but he didn't turn up.  Fortunately I received his letter after he had sent his delegation to come and seek a conversation with me.  But there are some things that Nelson Mandela has said that make me and my people, they are very provocative, who are not prepared at all to see their king discussing anything with Mr Nelson Mandela because the thing that he has said is that it is Inkatha that is blocking him from seeing me.  He was actually talking poppycock because I am a man of 44 years of age and I have to decide things, so I am not like him who is being controlled by his followers not to go there go there, don't do this, do that.  If he wanted to come to me my hands were open so now the problem of violence that is taking place in this country is because the leaders don't want to lead and then they think that they can do things without including me and the Chief Minister.  So CODESA, I am very sorry about it because I have been praying to my God that I believe in and whom I know listens to me, it doesn't matter what people say, but I thank God because he crushed this thing of CODESA, I thank God for that.

POM     Crushed?

KGZ     Yes.  I don't think that the people who were negotiating there are there now because they think that by excluding me they can do something better so I am representing my people, they are not representing my people, I know what my people want, I know what I want for my people, both of us, myself and the Chief Minister we are not just led by persons to come and lead our people, we were led by God to lead these people at this time and age.  So now, it must be a deadlock in that because the intention of the ANC was to negotiate with the central government only not with everybody, thinking that when they negotiate with the government they can get an agreement and then they can just make the constitution which can lead the people of this country without being consulted.  So now, I don't feel sorry for those who thought that they can just push themselves closer to the ANC, they have got no history at all because I know what is worrying the ANC and those who are participating in CODESA with the ANC, it is those who believe in the communistic ideology, who are maybe afraid because they are in small numbers so I am not afraid of that.

POM     Do you think that over the last couple of years Mr Mandela has made statements regarding the origins of the violence and who is to blame for the violence and statements that are insulting to the Zulu people and to you as the King of the Zulus?

KGZ     There are a lot of insults that have come out of his mouth.  The time when I was in Portugal and I was at Lisbon airport on my way back home I was surprised at Nelson Mandela speaking in Durban and when I listened to the news at the airport I heard Nelson Mandela threatening and throwing insults that he had tried to get hold of the Zulu king and he had no success and he is now going to try for the last time and if he doesn't he won't go and kneel down in front of the Zulu King.  He was saying that in KwaMashu in Durban so I was very surprised.  There were too many people from all over the world waiting for different flights.  Everybody knew that I was in Portugal because I was there when the foreign and educational ministers of twelve countries were having a conference there and some of them were making their way back to their own countries and then some of them looked at me and I was just laughing.  In the morning I contacted the Chief Minister about what Nelson Mandela was saying in KwaMashu and he was so furious and then he was telling me that the way telephone calls were coming in people wondered whether he had heard what Nelson Mandela had said in KwaMashu about the team.

     So now in our culture when a man has talked like that he has not been in front of the King but I was surprised that later he sent a delegation, Mr Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Mr Nkadimeng,  Mr Jele, Mr Maduna last month, l think that it was the 22nd July.  So I just said that well, if they want to come they are welcome and then they were coming to say that, actually we were setting up an appointment for Nelson Mandela and then I said what do they expect me to say if Nelson Mandela has spoken like this after he had promised me that he will come to pay his respect?  So I said that it is very difficult for me because of the way he said those words, it was just an insult and it was heard by everybody.  So I know that from the ANC's side and the civil rights action group of South Africa and then with the outside world's civil rights action group, with the commission that they have just come around which actually as far as I am concerned, when people are standing for the truth they should go all round and speak as a group and do a commission of enquiry in the right manner and not taking sides.  So now that commission of enquiry that was held when it announced that the person that is very much involved in violence is the Chief Minister, I was very surprised.  I was very disappointed that people don't want to stand for the truth to look all round, not to look at all facts and then to find a solution to solve the problem.  Since Nelson Mandela has been released people are dying like flies, this can be proved with mass action that has taken place.  They are so proud saying that they have been very successful with the mass action; how could they say that they have been successful when there were some people that were killed during that mass action? If they are looking for freedom and they are looking out for their own black brothers, looking to make a change, to make a government by killing their own people, that is not fair.

POM     Your Majesty, let me take you back to a couple of points that you mentioned.  On the question of the way in which you have been treated by Mr Mandela would it be your position that he or the ANC has to, in some way, redress the insult to you and the Zulu people before you would consider meeting with him?

KGZ     Actually as he has just said an insult and something that was broadcast and it was heard by many people, that was an insult to me and to my people, so he must clarify that first before he comes to me, he must just clarify that.

POM     My second question would be in relationship to that, do you think that he and the ANC might want to meet with you because in some way they want to marginalise the Chief Minister?

KGZ     If they want to do that they are making a very big mistake because, if there is a king there must be a prime minister and then if he wants to see the king he must pass the prime minister to make an appointment, especially as a political organisation which actually has shown a lot of problems, which has actually created a lot of debts in this country which would mean that in order to see me they would have to take the right channels and Mr Mandela knows that very well.

POM     So if Mr Mandela wants to see you he has to go through the channel of the Chief Minister?

KGZ     He is my Prime Minister, he is the man at the gate of royalty, yes.

POM     At the opening of the KwaZulu legislature, Dr Buthelezi said, "We claim the right to protest, to demonstrate our anger at political injustice. To this end the Zulu nation will resort to every possible course of action to oppose CODESA decisions to which we are not party." Does this reflect your sentiments?

KGZ     Because I was excluded from CODESA, that is why he said those words.

POM     What do you think is the intention to exclude you?  The ANC obviously were for your exclusion. Was the South African government for your inclusion? Did they fight hard for your inclusion? Was this kind of a deliberate attempt to marginalise the Zulu nation and leave you out of the process?

KGZ     You know, let's look back at history.  In the history of this country there is not a single nation like the Zulu nation that has fought the wars with whites in this country, with the settlers. Now the late kings on whose throne I am sitting negotiated with the government of this country from the beginning and then I have been negotiating with the government, and if there are some things that I am not satisfied with, such as this CODESA thing, I have discussed it with the State President on 10th January this year about my exclusion and I will not allow and we will not accept any decision that is taken at CODESA without our presence because the central government has never discussed the future of this country with us from the beginning, I mean the Nationalist Party.  Nor did the government before this government ever negotiate the future of this country with us.  So how then now if a change must take place that the government should just form with ANC on CODESA and exclude the Zulu people?  Who is going to discuss the future of the Zulu nation, how are they going to be represented if I am not there or if the Chief Minister is not there?  He is my Prime Minister, he is the Chief Minister of the Zulu nation, and then be excluded, so who represents them there?  So CODESA was not for the people of this country because there were some other political organisations who were not happy about that CODESA with which the government has aligned itself and the ANC.

POM     So do you blame both the government and the ANC?

KGZ     Both of them.

POM     Do you think they are trying to make a deal together to rule the country jointly, or that the ANC want out of this process a government that they will dominate on their own?

KGZ     That is actually what was looked at as far as we Zulus are concerned, that the government is lining up with the ANC and excluding the Zulu people. So now we were just talking about traditional leaders, I am just a king of the Zulu nation.

POM     Let me ask you, you are the king of the Zulus, now the Xhosa people have paramount chiefs, what would be the difference between the leaders of the Xhosa people and the Zulu king?  Do they have a counterpart or counterparts to you?

KGZ     Actually as far as history is concerned it is only the Zulu king in the Republic of South Africa which actually has been known for a long time.  These paramount chiefs were delegations that were actually formed by the British government long ago to denigrate the Zulu kingship, but in the eyes and in the minds of the Zulu people they knew a long time ago that they had their own king and then these nations that we are with in the Republic of South Africa never had kings, it was just the Zulu king that is known, even all over the world.  Actually this thing has made, even the British, not to understand the way of life of the Zulu people.  Although they were saying that it was the paramount chief of the Zulus, but the Zulus knew that it was their king, so now since the KwaZulu government has taken over in 1970, they have just moved forwards and registered their kingship as it was before.

     Let me clarify this point for you.  The Zulu king has never denigrated and looked down upon the leaders of other tribes or other nations of South Africa and then the king, like the king of Swaziland, the king of Lesotho, were just paying their respects to the Zulu king, even today.  We still respect each other as brothers, as king of Zulus, Swazis, Sothos.  It doesn't matter about the problems that are taking place in Lesotho, but we still know that Lesotho is a kingdom.

POM     So you would say that because of the history of southern Africa, the history of South Africa and the history of the Zulu people and their cultural and historical development, that they occupy a unique position within South Africa itself?

KGZ     Of course. That has been seen by everybody in the whole world, that the Zulus have such a unique cultural value.  Because the Zulus, if they were against their kingship, I don't think that if this legislature was introduced to them they would just show such a recognition of their king if they did not respect him.

POM     Let me just ask you with respect the hostel workers; we have taken the opportunity to go round to a number of hostels and we have spoken with hostel dwellers and have found that they are irate, angry at the suggestion that fences should be put around the hostels, they say that would make them feel like they are animals to be locked up in a zoo and they do not want family units to be built and their families to be taken from the Zulu nation to go and live with them.  Do you think that they have been treated unfairly and what do you think should be done to ensure their protection?

KGZ     You know, I am so pleased that you have touched on this point.  You know, when Dr Nelson Mandela came to Johannesburg in his young days I think he stayed in a compound at the mines where he was working and now the new name is 'hostel' but it is still the compound where people who left the rural areas and went to Johannesburg or any city in South Africa looking for work, they would have stayed in a compound.   So now, it is so stupid that people should think that hostels could be changed into family units because the people living in the hostels are the people who are not there because they like to be in the big cities, it is because they are there to work to support their families, they are from rural areas.  If they change the hostels to family units it would mean that the people must just change from rural life to the city life.  Why do all the people who are living in the hostels leave the city towards the end of the month, at long holidays like Christmas, they move from the cities to go to their families?  It is very nonsensical as far as I am concerned that people should think that. It is an idea for the ANC actually, it means that they are safe, but the problem is this:  who is the problem creator, why is it that these people have never fought all those years before Nelson Mandela was released?  That people from the country should fight with people from the hostels, because these people from the hostels are coming from all over southern Africa, they have been living together for some years and there has never been quarrelling.  Who is making them quarrel?  Why is the ANC so worried about the hostels? Where should these people live so that they can wake up early in the morning and go to work for their salaries?  What actually have they done if they say hostels should be changed to family units? What have they shown that this would be good to keep the people from the rural areas who are working on the mines, can the man from the township go under the ground? I don't believe that, I have never seen that, I have never heard that.  The experience that we have from our own coal mines here in Natal, people of the township have never lasted long on the mines and we have learnt that it is not easy to run the mines with these people from the townships.  So now if they say these hostels must be changed into family units, that is very wrong.

     But the thing that is worrying me is that people when they are supposed to make peace, they don't want to make peace, they just want to implement something that people should defend like gates, when the people should calm their own people down and make people understand each other in order to live together.  Why are the people in the hostels looked at as enemies of the township people and the people in the townships are looked at as enemies of the hostel people because they have been living together for all those years?  Who is then the problem creator, because other political leaders from rural areas, from other homelands have never lived in the townships, but their own people are living there.  Why, in particular, do they always point their finger at the Zulu people because there they are living with the Xhosas, they are living with the Zulus, the are living with the Ndebeles, they are living with the Shangaans coming from Maputo living at the mines. If they close those hostels and make family units, where are those people going to live?

POM     If hostel dwellers were to bring their families, say from KwaZulu, what would happen to their land and their cattle?

KGZ     Everybody has got a home, if a man says I am going home, like the song he is saying 'I am going home to Jesus Christ', we say we are going to our father, the king of kings, the lord of lords, we are going home.  If a man is at work, in the afternoon he goes back to his family because he cannot make the industry his home.

POM     Would the man and his family lose the land and his cattle?

KGZ     If they are working up there, they would not lose their land and their cattle because their family would look after their cattle, so they cannot just have a home in the city while he has a family at home because he is forced by a situation to seek for work and come back to his family.

POM     Why do you think the ANC is so intent on excluding you from the process?  What is their overall aim?

KGZ     I think that they are afraid of me actually, because the history of the Zulu nation, I have got land that needs to be negotiated that was taken, my fatherland, my own land that was taken, so I am not talking from the air as I am not living in the city, so if Nelson Mandela was fair he must go back to the Transkei and not stay in Johannesburg, because there in Johannesburg it is a multiracial city, so everybody in South Africa, not just for Mr Nelson Mandela but for everybody.  If a man is sure of his leadership, he must stay where he was born and live with his poor people and bring them up and see how and what he can do to bring up their standard of living, not that he should live in the city.  I am very concerned, I am very upset when I don't see that communication, because that is one of the things that is worrying me. Dr Nelson Mandela, the Chief Minister was expecting him to phone, he is the leader of the ANC and with respect that he was giving him, but I am worried that they ever had to doubt the friendship that they had when he was in jail.

POM     Two years ago?

KGZ     So now, you know, they say trying to let the discussion to the small committee, my presence in CODESA.  Actually I am just fed up because I have got that respect from my people and from other people in South Africa, from all angles and all colours of people in South Africa, so I would not let really myself to be made a ball by CODESA people, people discussing me so that I would not be satisfactory to the Zulu people and other people in South Africa who seek me, who seek me to be there in CODESA.  But the ANC don't want me there and all their followers and all the participants in CODESA because I heard that the government was willing that I should be in CODESA but the ANC refused and then the ANC on the other hand says that the central government doesn't want me and when we tell the government that the ANC says that it is you that don't want him, the government says that they are lying. What is that? I would like to be there to hear and to discuss the future of this country because I have lost land, my fatherland, I have lost it.  So if a new change must take place in this country, I must be there because there are some holidays in this country that are there because of the wars between the Zulus and the whites in this country. Who must change that, because those holidays are not only for KwaZulu or only for the Zulus, they are for everybody in South Africa.  Even though we are not participants in the war that is taking place, why should they exclude me, why don't they want me there, why are they afraid of me being there?

POM     With regard to that, with regard to your own exclusion do you believe the ANC when it says that it wants to establish in South Africa a multi-party non-racial unitary South Africa?

KGZ     Actually I don't think along those terms.  If we look back at the communistic ideology, we have to be fair because we know the problems, we cannot today just say that communism is bad.  I do understand from history that the first communist party after Russia had founded communism was established here in South Africa.  So now, people can easily say that communism has gone, but communism has not gone, it is just there because people still believe in it.  There are certain countries that have experienced this communism that it has never done anything progressively with the means, but there are some people here in this country who still believe that they want to taste it, so they don't believe in a military state, they don't believe in a multiracial government, but they believe in seizing power that's all, they don't believe in federalism which actually could solve the problems of this country.  That is why they are talking about transitional government, that is why they are talking about interim government, that is why they are talking about one man one vote, because those are things that have created a lot of downfall and corruption in other countries.

POM     So would you see federalism as an essential part of a future settlement in South Africa?

KGZ     I think that federalism is one of the reasonable things where everybody can be represented by his own man, who knows what he wants, who knows what is required, not the man who just wants to take power and let the country down.  We see these days where people just seize power and then the economy goes down, no peace, no administration nothing.  People think that freedom is something that can feed them.  We have seen that there certainly are some exemplary countries that we can point to, but let's look at this country, no way will we run away while other people when they get their freedom come across our borders.  Even today those people who have their own freedom still run into our country and into certain homelands, rural areas that are led by chief ministers, from their own independent countries.  Why do they run away from their own independence that they fought for?  What is short?  If they say that their freedom is the rightful one, why do they come across to the people who are not free?

POM     So federalism would be one solution.

KGZ     It would be the answer.

POM     Would the Zulu people and you take a stand on that and say that for our people, we must have federalism?

KGZ     That's all.  Because the people will have to be very careful when they select the government because the government is who will make a better life for the people, the government is the government that must see that the people are getting everything.  Although the government cannot just satisfy everybody, like a man who cannot just satisfy his family in everything, because sometimes you are short of money and your wife wants to get something from you and you have to say look my wife, I have got nothing today, can you not just wait for a few days.  When you say a few days you are waiting for the end of the month to come and if your wife respects you she will just move back and say that's all right my husband.  But there are feeding problems, today, there are certain countries that are fed by South Africa and economically I do believe and I still remember in 1972 South Africa's economy was number one throughout the world, but today it is number 39.  Tell me now with such a drought and the political structures that are taking place, when people are being killed, when people are killing their own brothers and sisters, when people are burning down the houses of their own people, when they are staging mass action, when they are making stayaways thinking that they can change the structure of the government, while the structure of the economy is going down, that man who takes over, what can he use to feed the people if the tin is empty? We must be concerned about the well-being of our people, as I am concerned about the well-being of my people.

POM     Do you think the mass action, from the point of view of the ANC, was successful?

KGZ     While people were being killed?  That was not a success!  If it was successful, it was supposed to be a peaceful one, not a single death was supposed to take place.

POM     Do you think that the people who stayed away from work mostly stayed away because they were intimidated?

KGZ     They were in fear of their lives and some of them who participated wanted to save their lives by joining in not because they really and willingly wanted to and that they just being supportive of the ANC.  They were being intimidated because they wouldn't be dead if it was a peaceful mass action.

POM     Have you had some of your subjects come and tell you that they have to stay away from work because they were being intimidated?

KGZ     Oh yes, a lot.  I have got white friends who employ my people, and my people did not go to the factories to work that day because they were supporters or supportive of the ANC but because they wanted to save their lives, they didn't go there.

POM     After looking at South Africa, I remember two years ago when we first talked, when you talked about the failure of Mr Mandela to visit you and pay respects and to visit the Chief Minister and to go to grave and lay a wreath on the tomb of King Shaka, you talked more out of sorrow than out of anger. Now two years on are you speaking more out of anger this time than sorrow as to what is happening and how you and your Chief Minister have been vilified?

KGZ     Well there are too many things that have happened since we have been together, that actually created more anger also, because the way people have been killed in this country, that creates a lot of anger when you look at the people who are supposed to create peace, who come together because if you agree with what he asks, because it was not me who asked him to come to me, he said he wanted to come and pay his respects. I did not know Mandela it was my uncle that kept on talking about it, so it happened that I knew him because I had heard of him so I was thrilled when he said he would like to come and see me and pay his respects. Now he wrote a letter to the Chief Minister at the time when my father passed away in 1968 and he said that when he comes out of jail he would like to come and pay his respects to his son, which is me, the king.  But his failure to do so as far as I am concerned, I don't think that there is anything that I can do or that I can count on Nelson Mandela because it was not just me who said that I want to see Nelson Mandela it was him. I knew he was a very close friend of the Chief Minister as he was an attorney, I mean a lawyer for my father. It is a pity that he has never done that.  I should say that he is a failure because if he had doubt in his heart he would have just pushed to come and see me as he had said that he wants to come and pay his respects to me.  You know I hate nobody, I believe in peace, you know I am a Christian and I love everybody and that is why my people love me most, they know that I am very much concerned about their well being, but I will not let a man come over my head.  I respect a man of his age but if he doesn't show his respect to me, because I expected respect from the old man as I give my respect to him, but if he doesn't give it back then he can stay there and he must stay there and I will just watch and see what he wants to do.

POM     So what do you think must be done to get the negotiating process started again and how must it be expanded to ensure that it will indeed address all the issues and result in a just and equitable settlement for all the people of South Africa?

KGZ     It is to bring all the parties that are involved, that are leading people together, but if there are still some that are being left out negotiations will not go further in this country.

POM     So you think that the PAC must be there?

KGZ     Actually we are not known as the PAC, but the SACP which is the official opposition party for the government of this country because the ANC is not the official opposition party of the government of this country.

POM     They must be there?

KGZ     All of them must be there.  All parties must be there, if they are not there it is a waste of time if you are talking about negotiations in this country.  It will just die, like CODESA.

POM     So if a process is restarted and it again is mainly between the government and the ANC and if they reach some kind of settlement and ceremoniously sign documents and announce an interim government or whatever, do you see that that would not be acceptable to the Chief Minister of the KwaZulu government or the Zulu nation?  What do you see happening should such an eventuality occur?

KGZ     I am not God my friend, I must just say I will never agree with an interim government and I know that there are some people and some political parties that will not agree with the government if he goes with an interim government with the ANC.  You will ask me one day, maybe in one or two years time, maybe next year when I see you.  The thing that is worrying me is that there will be more problems taking place which actually is not what we want, because that is not our wish that problems take place, because we are speaking sitting around a table, people together, all colours and all parties it will create a lot of problems and then the matter should be debated.  I don't think that this will be good for us, I don't think that this would be good for our people, so let us do it right, we can't just run our country like this, let's look at the economy and see how we can structure our economics properly because economics are one of the major things in politics because if the economics are not right then the politics are not right.

POM     Just a couple of more things I would like to ask, and thank you for the time you have taken and for being very generous with it.  Given the importance the Zulus attach to their cultural tradition and this whole controversy that has been going on over the number of years about cultural weapons, or the walking stick and that every Zulu man has this stick, what is your reaction to the whole controversy that is going on about the whites singing the national anthem at the rugby match last week and waving the flag, and if this happens again on Saturday in Cape Town, do you think that they should be allowed to sing what they regard as being something very important to them and to wave a flag that they see as being very important to them, or do you think that this should cease until the new South Africa comes into being?

KGZ     Let's face the facts, in America there are two national anthems, one for the whites and one for the blacks.

POM     Two national anthems?  No there is only one.

KGZ     The white government leads the country, but when the black Americans are doing their own functions, they sing their own national anthem which is known to the government, so we have also got our own national anthem which is Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and then there is a government national anthem, that is the government of today, and for sure the government of tomorrow can change the national anthem.  They can get into an agreement with the participants if they want to lead the country multiracial-wise and then to put into some words to form their own national anthem for the whole nation.  So now the government of today, I understand that you are referring to the Ellis Park game of rugby that took place, right? Blacks are not so much interested in rugby, it is an Afrikaner sport, but blacks are very interested in going to see and look at it, so when the national anthem is being sung there, there is nothing wrong with it as far as I am concerned because they are singing the national anthem of the country, you see, so I can see no difference as far as I am concerned.  People can just say this and this and this and this, but the only thing is that if people are not provocative they need to go for negotiations because you cannot just negotiate about a national anthem, because the national anthem is a song that doesn't fit the nation at present.  People must just sit together and discuss the problems that are facing the country, they mustn't just talk about small things that can be negotiated when people have just discussed things and sorted things out.  When people are singing the national anthem in the stadiums they are singing for their own country, when they move out of this country and when they participate in sport outside this country their national anthem is being sung, just like when they are at home.

POM     In June when the massacre of Boipatong occurred and it made worldwide headlines and precipitated the ANC walking out of the talks at CODESA, again do you think that Zulus, particularly the Zulus who are members of the IFP, were unfairly pinpointed as being the perpetrators of that massacre?

KGZ     Well I cannot just judge on that, I know you have asked about traditional weapons and all that. You know I have got my own traditional weapons, I have got my own spear right here on the farm and it stays here. I know that it is something that I can use to defend myself with if somebody comes and attacks me. So the Zulu man has got several traditional weapons, if you are a Zulu man you must have your own spear for hunting, you cannot take a spear for slaughtering your own cattle here and take it home for hunting. The Zulu man has got a spear for slaughtering, and then the Zulu man has got a spear for ceremonies and then there is a spear for war. As a man I must have my own spear which is now my traditional weapon, it has got nothing to do with all these killings that are taking place. Is the traditional weapon as dangerous as an AK47 that has been brought by the ANC into this country and that has killed so many thousands in this country? Because most of the people that are being found, I don't mean to say that I am protecting traditional weapons, but there is something that I do understand that there are thousands of people who have been buried in my area coming from big cities especially like Johannesburg who have been killed by an AK47.

POM     And their bodies are brought back to the rural areas?

KGZ     Their bodies are brought back to the rural areas, so now it is very painful when people are blaming traditional weapons because when I am just here at home and I am carrying my traditional weapon, I have no intention of killing somebody with that traditional weapon and people do not need to fear me because I am carrying my traditional weapon, but today when you see somebody carrying a gun on his hip, you don't know whether he is going to take it out and shoot you, so now this traditional weapon story as far as I am concerned, I don't think that it should be an issue of such importance that is should be discussed when other people are carrying so many hand grenades that are not local, and landmines that are not local, and AK47's that are not local.  But I cannot stop any man if he wants to talk about any issue, or something that he thinks might help in the cooling down and to make him believed in the outside world.  But traditional weapons have never been so dangerous as the weapons that have taken so many lives in this country.  It was not traditional weapons in 1982 that killed so many people in Pretoria, it was landmines which killed innocent people walking along the streets.  So now those who are blaming us because traditional weapons are not only carried by Zulu people in this country, or on this continent, it is a weapon that is carried all over the world.  In Europe they are carrying their own traditional weapons which is the revolver and all those things, and then you have got your own traditional weapons which are swords which are always carried in ceremonies, when there are traditional ceremonies in those countries, dressing up properly you don your own attire, just like us, but it is very worrying when people are being blamed as problem creators like this Boipatong matter. I don't know who started the problems and I do not know who started to attack, what happened that led people to attack one another in Boipatong.  So when people are protecting themselves when they are being threatened is a different story, so I have got no comment on that.

POM     Two last quick ones, one is in negotiations, when you are sitting at that negotiating table with your Chief Minister is there one issue of which you would find it almost impossible to make any compromises on, which you would say this we must have, this is not negotiable?

KGZ     Well, my status as the king I would have to state things that are important to my people, that would be to make everybody in this country to live together with the Zulu people, but when everybody is sitting around the table we will have to look at things, we have to talk about it because we need to get to solutions.

POM     Lastly, this came out of a conversation we were having in the car on the drive here, we were wondering how was the royal family treated when apartheid structures were enforced in South Africa?  For example, if you went to Durban could you stay in a 'white' hotel, were you accorded the status and the dignity of being the king of the Zulu people, could you stay in 'white' places, go to 'white' restaurants or was even the royal family subjected to the laws of apartheid?

KGZ     I would like to clarify this. The respect of the Zulu kingship in the eyes of all South Africans has been there for a long time and even the government extended respect to the Zulu kingship, even the treatment, you know treatment is not that important as far as I am concerned, you must look at the law.  We have not lost our land, at the time when I took over it was not the same as before.  Things were much better, you know that the whites were ill-treating our people but they paid a lot of respect to the Zulu king.  Let's say I want to go to my royal residence up north, because I have got a residence up north, if I want to go there, if I don't want to get there before tonight I can go to any of my white friends to sleep there, or pick up the telephone or send one of my aides to go and tell them and they would put me up, and any of the hotels on the way, I could just go there because we practise what we want to happen in this country when it comes to this apartheid between whites and blacks. But as far as I am concerned I know that sometimes I used to experience those problems because I know that sometimes when you go into a shop or a restaurant they will tell you to go to that door, but I would just ignore that and go where I wanted.  I want to buy something, if I cannot see something I have to order.  So those things are just gone, I don't want to think about and talk about them, because sometimes they make you angry and then you hate and I don't want to hate, I want to forget.

POM     Thank you very much for your time Your Majesty.

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.