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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

10 Nov 1993: Gwala, Harry

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POM     I know you were very close to Chris Hani. Could you tell me what impact his death has had on the political process as a whole and in particular for the ANC?

HG     Well Chris Hani was an exceptional character and his popularity was next to Nelson Mandela, if not on a par with him among the youth. His assassination set the country ablaze. No-one could believe it. Many people, including leaders who had seen many of these killings broke down in tears. I remember we were in Cape Town attending a funeral when the news was broken. Tony Yengeni who broke the news just collapsed and everyone was hysterical about what had happened because in the dark moments of our struggle Chris would always be a beacon of light and would give encouragement to everyone. His name was a household word. Everyone mentioned his name with admiration.

POM     Do you think that since he would have been one of the chief contenders of the leadership in the event of Mr Mandela's death, do you think that his death will mean that the ANC may in the future become a less revolutionary organisation if it was headed by somebody other than Chris Hani?

HG     Incidentally he didn't want any leadership role. In fact he declined to be Deputy President of the organisation and he would easily have been elected Deputy President. Before his death he had always said that he didn't even wish to go to parliament, he wanted to be among the people. He was a people's man, in the townships, in the shacks, all over you would find Chris there. Here in the Natal Midlands he was in the thick of battles that took place, he was always there with the people, even a little child knew him. So I doubt if he entertained any ambitions of getting into Nelson Mandela's shoes.

POM     The situation in the Midlands and in Natal in general, the last time I spoke to you in January the situation if anything has gotten worse. The number of deaths per month just seems to go up and up and up. Do you see any end to this or do you think the violence will increase up to the time of the elections on April 27th?

HG     There are indications that violence is likely to increase if one goes by the preparations Inkatha is making of taking every able bodied young man for military training and if the utterances of the leaders of the AWB that since they don't have enough manpower they will expect their allies in the Bantustans to supply them with that manpower and then they will supply the expertise. The leader of Inkatha has sworn that there can be no elections in a violent situation and other people like Terre'Blanche have said the same, including the Conservative Party. One can only see these people going ahead to intensify the violence and one has to remember what President de Klerk said when Mandela said they will crush any right wing uprising and then de Klerk said, "Look at Ireland and other places with all the security forces, they have not been able to do so." So there is one impression one gets, that is entertaining an idea that this could be the problem.

POM     I saw in the paper this morning the analogy he made with the IRA and since I do a lot of work in Northern Ireland, there are no more than say fifty or sixty IRA volunteers who are operational and maybe they have a backup of about maybe 500 other members and they tie down 30,000 British troops and have done so for the last twenty years. Can you see that kind of situation emerging here where the right wing in particular would be able to resort to that kind of guerrilla campaign and would have support in elements of the white community?

HG     Oh yes lots of support and if we go by Comrade Chris's assassination, Waluz for example, although they don't want to get into this deeply they do mention that he had international connections and that there was an international counter-revolutionary force which just linked up with these forces here in South Africa. So if one is realistic one must foresee a situation where this sort of thing can carry on in this country for quite a long time. And we, if we become the government, will not have mustered all the security forces on our side. Some of them will cross over to the insurgents and we will have quite a big problem on our hands.

POM     So am I hearing you say that you think that there will be at least a low scale civil war in the country for some time after a government is put in place?

HG     Yes that is possible. We can't dismiss that possibility. Provided they get assistance from their allies abroad they will carry on.

POM     Some polls show that the ANC and the IFP are running neck to neck in Natal and essentially if the IFP did contest the election that it could be a very close result in which given the level of violence and intimidation that will exist it would increase the propensity of one side to say that the election had been stolen. The loser would always say, "We really won but the election was stolen". Do you see any kind of Savimbi-like situation developing just with regard to this region here?

HG     Yes. Natal is unique more or less. That danger certainly exists here. Our people would wish that the ANC had overwhelming support. We have no yardstick to make that - the few rallies we hold and the rallies that are held by IFP are by no means our yardstick. We have a big problem here in the rural areas where we are just not allowed to operate. Similarly on the farms, practically every farmer supports the IFP and a lot of our people are farm labour tenants and are farm labourers so we will have a hell of a problem over that. For all I know there will be a neck and neck race. As you say the possibilities in this province are there.

POM     Does it make the situation more explosive?

HG     It makes it much more explosive than we can imagine. You see now there are always polls and any polls against IFP, the IFP comes out and says, "We dismiss them, they are doctored", but once they favour them they are good polls. You can see what type of people we are dealing with. In an election where they lose they will cry foul.

POM     Do you distinguish between the IFP, KwaZulu government and Buthelezi or do you see them all three as wrapped into each other?

HG     I may be exaggerating the situation. I don't see them wrapped to each other. I see Buthelezi being everything in one. In fact he is the KwaZulu government, he is the IFP. There can't be an Inkatha without Buthelezi. They know that themselves. They point a finger there. Look around for any figure, you take this man who is said to be charismatic, there's nothing in him, from the PAC when he thought he saw green pastures across he went to this Oscar Dhlomo, Multi Democratic Institute, he was there, he's now gone over to the IFP, so he is a man on the march. Who else is there? Mdlalose was at ... and was discredited there, he went to KwaZulu. They are political degenerates more or less all those people. The only person of any semblance was Oscar Dhlomo, he's left now. Gatsha is everything there.

POM     But from people I've talked to in the IFP one gets the impression that there is a fight going on between the very hard liners who say stay out of negotiations period, stay out of elections period, and those who believe the IFP should get involved in the elections at least. Do you think they will contest the elections?

HG     No, at their own peril. What are they worth? They are just intellectuals. Oscar Dhlomo who was disgruntled was bought over by this Institute of his. He tried to criticise Inkatha, he was told to shut up and indeed he did shut up. These are just a bunch of intellectuals who have no hold on the people, on the masses. They can't on their own address a mass meeting. Take any rally, there cannot be a rally without Buthelezi and he himself is having problems now, that is why he takes Zwelithini along.

POM     He's trying to play the Zulu card.

HG     Yes, he's trying to build up his vanishing image.

POM     What do you think he's after?

HG     He is a dreamer among other things, just like Hitler you know. When Hitler was a schoolboy in Geography lessons he would always make Germany bigger because he dreamt of a big Germany. Buthelezi is an historian. When he studied history the might of the Zulus in the days of King Shaka, he dreams of that. He used to say he was on a par with Nelson Mandela. He considers himself an international statesman and a great leader. So he wants recognition, he's fighting for recognition.

POM     Do you think part of the problem is his own towering ego?

HG     That is certainly part of his problem, yes.

POM     I'll put the question this way, it's speculative. Everybody I talk to always talks about Buthelezi in terms, I mean every time I've interviewed him he uses the word 'insult' or 'I've been insulted', in every other sentence. It's just like a constant refrain. "People in the ANC insult me", "The churches insult me". Do you think that deep in his heart he knows that if he were to contest elections that the IFP might end up with 5% nationally and a much lower percentage in Natal/KwaZulu than any poll had ever indicated and that that would be the ultimate humiliation? He would be shown up to be a nobody even though he had tried to prop himself up all these years.

HG     What I would like to say is that psychologically, you see Buthelezi has never been exposed to the downtrodden people. He grew up in a royal environment, in the royal house, finally himself becoming the Chief of that tribe. So he is used to giving orders. He has never stood where there are people debating against him and saying hard things against him. That is now why when you go to Ulundi you are even sjamboked there. That is why Chief ... was sjamboked when he fell out of step. That is why ... was also sjamboked when he fell out of step because he cannot understand how you can do that. Originally he boasted of seven million Zulus, that has gone now, he realises that and if he goes to the polls and gets defeated, which is very, very likely because although people work for him and so on, they fear him, they have no love for him, so he will feel there again he has been slighted. That is his biggest problem. He's not against the election as such because he has been an advocate of elections all along. Suddenly he realised, no, I have lost a semblance of an organisation, of a following. Nationally in South Africa what percentage will he get? He might get less than .01%.

POM     Do you think then he will, coming down to these final stages of negotiations, whether the government can make any offer that he will accept or that he will accept no offer and stay outside the process?

HG     He will accept an offer and the offer he wants is that elections will be postponed sine die in Natal until there is no violence and he will have the so-called KwaNatal where he will be the head of his backyard. He will accept that. But if you say all right go into parliament, become a Cabinet minister, that is insulting for him. He doesn't even want to be Deputy President for that matter. He wants to be co-President with Mandela. That is why he wanted the troika, himself, de Klerk and Mandela.

POM     The ANC too has been trying to pull Inkatha back into the process and in the act of dealing with say COSAG first and then the Freedom Alliance they have made a number of concessions on the question of whether you call it regionalism or federalism or whatever. Can the ANC go any further in terms of what they could offer in terms of the devolution of power that might persuade Buthelezi or have the ANC gone as far as they can go? Have they reached their bottom line?

HG     I think they have reached their bottom line because they have made that very clear. They have said that they can go no further. They have done everything. Beyond this there is nothing else they can do.

POM     Let me ask this question, it's not intended to be a slighting one and if it is tell me. The leadership here in the Midlands has always been known as being more militant than the leadership in other regions of the country. If the National Executive made a deal of sorts with Buthelezi that would give him an awful lot of power in Natal/KwaZulu would the ANC here accept that or would they say, "We have shed too much blood to just be sold for thirty pieces of silver"?

HG     No we would certainly fight that but we would fight it within the premises of the ANC because we are bound by the decisions of the organisation, but we would continue fighting that because it would be totally undemocratic and against the wishes of the people of this province.

POM     So you think in effect that the IFP will not contest elections?

HG     I don't know. I think it's a fifty/fifty chance. They might just spring us a surprise and start contesting when we all become complacent and think everything is over then they just come up like that. Element of surprise.

POM     If you look back to the beginning of this whole process from the time of Nelson Mandela's release and you follow it through to what appears to be the conclusion coming up when the interim constitution will be accepted, what for you, when you look at that period, have been the critical turning points?

HG     Could you rephrase your question again?

POM     If you look back to February 1990 when Mr Mandela was released and the ANC was unbanned and you look at the peace process as it's gone on with first of all CODESA and then after CODESA the Negotiating Council, with in between things like Boipatong and other things, what do you see as the critical turning points which moved them to momentum towards the ANC or away from the government?

HG     It's a very, very difficult question. You will recall that the ANC walked out of CODESA because of the escalating violence when the government did nothing about it, but the assassination of Chris Hani in my mind was a turning point because it was not only the leadership now that was reacting, it was the whole nation as if orchestrated. In fact if the leadership did not restrain the people hell would have been let loose in this country.

POM     So for you that would be the critical turning point in terms of - like when it was Nelson Mandela who addressed the nation not President de Klerk, symbolically power had changed hands.

HG     Exactly. That to me was a turning point. It showed that the people now said we can do it on our own now and in the history of this country there is no funeral that was even a quarter of what we saw at FNB Stadium and the memorial services all over the country went beyond anyone's expectations. Even in the country off the beaten track there you found thousands and hundreds of people turning up for this memorial service on this particular day and itching that something be done.

POM     Again looking back at just the negotiating process going from CODESA 2, from that period through the Negotiating Council, what do you think have been the main concessions or compromises made by the government and what have been the main concessions and compromises made by the ANC?

HG     The government is interested in keeping all its hands and tinkering with apartheid they called reforms. They were talking of this troika and they were talking of an indefinite period of transition. Now they have been forced to abandon this question of a troika, to set time limits to what could be done. On the other hand the ANC has also made big compromises. This question of government of national unity where you see that even the National Party, even the CP, the Bantustans, should come in provided they have so much percentage, it's a very, very big concession which doesn't go down well. And this question of fusing together the armies and the security forces doesn't go well with the people. The ANC hadn't made concessions. The question of civil service where you want to pension them off with big handouts, this is totally against the grain as far as the people are concerned. So that there have been big concessions from both sides.

POM     Do you see the ANC as having made big concessions on the question of federalism?

HG     Oh very much so, yes, yes, because this regionalism except for terminology is tantamount to federalism.

POM     On balance when you look at the constitutional proposals that are out there now on the table with the TEC, the interim government and the government of national unity, on a scale of one to ten how satisfied are you with those proposals?

HG     The TEC for example, having the TEC while at the same time they say they are going to level the playing field, you are having the TEC and we are still having the same Nationalist Party government, what does the TEC become? It becomes an advisory body of the Nationalist Party government. On the face of it, it appears to be advancing our cause but in reality it doesn't.

POM     In fact it could be the ultimate form of co-option.

HG     Exactly and that's what the people are saying. And according to the polls 72% of the people say they don't understand the ANC now. If I were to take today's local newspaper called the Natal Witness there is one letter there which says this ANC is another ANC, it talks in tongues. That is the problem of the organisation today.

POM     So you're saying, even as they made these concessions and want to become part of the power structure is that the majority of the ANC supporters out there see it as a kind of buckling under to the government?

HG     Precisely so because now if you come to those ANC members who concern themselves with political fury, you may not agree with them, they are saying that the constitution is not power. You can have a very good constitution but it is not where power lies. Power lies elsewhere. Political power, the people want political power and then to get that you must have control of the state apparatus, what goes under the name of a bureaucracy. How long will it take the ANC to dismantle the apartheid bureaucracy and set up a democratic bureaucracy? Whether the ANC will succeed is difficult to tell.

     Then the question of reconstruction. What are you talking about when you talk about reconstruction? South Africa is a country of two worlds, they have got the third world of the townships and the countryside, no houses, shacks, no jobs, no water system, no electricity, no schools. Then you want to change all those things. You must have money and as a government you must say something about the economy of the country and then you will be treading on forbidden soil. You might even find investors pulling out, you might find people in this country raising their tails that you can't do this. That in itself, in the space of five years, I would not be surprised if we would go to the polls and people vote for another organisation rather than the ANC because the ANC shall not have delivered the goods.

POM     My question here is that the ANC and COSATU have very different economic objectives, some cracks have appeared already over this strike which COSATU wants and the ANC doesn't want, do you see after the alliance is in power, or whatever, that the strains between various movements like COSATU which is committed to a socialist economy and the ANC government which for the time being at least seems to be committed to a mixed economy, do you see these strains getting worse?

HG     We were committed to a mixed economy before but not now. That is not in our vocabulary now. There's very little of mixed economy, just the word 'economy' and people don't understand us. I think you are aware that last week, within a fortnight, there were about three demonstrations against the African National Congress at Shell House and the demonstration by COSATU at the World Trade Centre was an indictment on the ANC itself. That is our biggest problem. Now when it comes to the economy of the country without having some power to see that the economy produces goods, that is produces something that will benefit society as a whole, there is no freedom, there is no democracy.

POM     Last year you said that not until the ANC had control of the economy in its hands could you talk about a transfer of power, yet the ANC's economic policies at this point don't appear to be an awful lot different from the government's policies. Trevor Manuel goes to Washington and spells it off before the IMF and the World Bank and Derek Keys almost uses the same language.

HG     Yes. What I am saying here, when I'm talking about control, I don't mean nationalisation as such but certainly there are certain parts of the economy that must be nationalised because to begin with we have a lot of nationalisation in this country, the Airways, Railways and Harbours, the roads, the Post Office, hospitals, education, if that is to serve the interests of the people we have to nationalise those things and then we must have a big say on the question of the redistribution of the land. Now we go out to the famine community. To begin with the state has got so much land and that land must be given to the people. We have got to encourage all the farmers to produce more profitably in that they must produce for the market. If you can't produce for the market and live on subsidy then that farm is not worth running. We are even saying that the mines now, the government must have a stake in the mines, not let the mine magnates have the final say, the government must have its foot there. Now these are the things that put us in bad light. People like Harry Oppenheimer will give you money, they have not suddenly become angels. They give you money on the condition that you will soften down a bit and we are seeing this process of softening down on our economic policy. There is very little talk now about the Freedom Charter. I doubt if some of these people who are said to be the ANC economists ever go through the Freedom Charter now.

POM     So if you say you wouldn't be surprised five years down the line in a second election that the ANC might be defeated by another party, are the PAC waiting in the wings? Will they be the inheritors? Will they be the ones who are able to say, "We told you so, we told you that you were selling out"?

HG     Yes they will be waiting in the wings. Now you take Zimbabwe. We were all so certain that ZAPU would be the government after Ian Smith. No-one ever gave what's-his-name a chance and because of many compromises Joshua Nkomo entered into with Smith, he stood discredited among his people and when the people went to vote they didn't give him their vote. I think here they will give Mandela, Mandela is fairly respected, but people are not going to take Mandela's name to the kitchen and cook it. It's not going to bring fire into their houses, it's not going to give them clothes. And Mandela is only an individual so that when the ANC fail to deliver then people will look elsewhere. As it is when we came out of prison we used to attract hundreds of thousands of people and now crowds are going down because that note they were expecting it can't really be struck now.

POM     Even now there was a poll released over the weekend that measured expectations with regard to housing, education, environment, electricity and the level of expectations among Africans is still extremely high.

HG     Yes it is extremely high and we have got to be very pragmatic. You see some of our leaders never visit the people in the countryside, in the rural areas, in the townships here. They have got to learn from the people now and sober them down a bit. All right, you expect houses, they don't come in a day. You will have to work for these houses. It won't be the question of rushing into the houses that are being built and the swiftest person gets the house. There must be order in what we are doing and you can only do that by carrying the people with us, carrying them along with us.

POM     So what you are saying is that the ANC is not doing that, that once again it's out of touch with what the ordinary people think or the ordinary people don't know what the ANC thinks?

HG     You may not agree with me and it may differ somewhat with my own organisation, we have what we call the old people who are used to politics of the townships, of the fighters, etc., people like Nelson Mandela. That is why you often find him amongst the people. He goes to the people and when there is trouble he goes there. People like Walter Sisulu. Even, you may not agree with Winnie Mandela, her name in the townships stands very high, but can we say this of all our leadership? I doubt it.

POM     Do you think too much of the leadership have moved away, so to speak, from their roots?

HG     That is the danger. That is the problem. We don't realise but there is a shifting away from their own self.

POM     On the government side, this last year has seen a precipitous decline in the fortunes of the National Party. A poll released this weekend said they would get no more than 12% of the vote in an election today. Another poll indicated that only one out of four people who voted for them in 1989 would vote for them today. What do you think has accounted for that dramatic decline in support for the government and the National Party and in particular for the immense drop in the popularity of de Klerk not only among whites but also among blacks? I remember two years ago going into townships and talking to people and when you talked about de Klerk people would say, "Oh yes, Comrade de Klerk". You don't hear that now.

HG     Well de Klerk, his party started as a party of the Afrikaner oppressed then it gradually moved over to cater for the Afrikaner capital and then finally for the white capital in this country and of course with apartheid and all that the whites felt that they were very secure. Here was their man. But de Klerk has moved slowly, he has even stolen the programme of the DP, and therefore he is neither fish nor fowl and his own people don't understand him. That is why if the elections were to be held he is hoping that he will probably be the Vice President. I will not be surprised if the CP becomes the next biggest party. Here in Natal I think most of the whites will vote for IFP if they contest elections, not for NP. They think he has betrayed them, they think he has become another General Smuts whom they say sold to the imperialists. He fought the Anglo Boer war but then he compromised the Afrikaners to British capital. They think de Klerk has done the same here. He's another Gorbachev they say.

POM     What do you think the right will do? You have the Conservative Party out there, you've got Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, but let's look at the Conservative Party in particular. Do you think they will sit out this entire process and resort to some form of armed struggle?

HG     I think they are very shrewd. They are sending people to sleep while they come up with their propaganda, like General Viljoen. They might suddenly say, "All right we go to contest" and who will be their leader? It won't be Hartzenberg, it won't be Terre'Blanche because he is a buffoon. He is this General and de Klerk will have the hardest time, he will have a very big pull among the whites in that way and I wouldn't be surprised if they might win, walk away with the elections. You'll find General whatsisname being the Deputy President of this country.

POM     A number of people have said to me, white people anyway, that Viljoen was a respected man in the military, that he didn't carry any garbage with him, people looked up to him. As you said, he's not a Terre'Blanche, he's not a Hartzenberg.

HG     And the whites seem to be having hope now, Viljoen is their saviour now. He is constrained, he appears to be a gentleman and they can trust him with their money. They can put it in his pocket and leave it there, that's what they think. And for that reason I think that he is somebody to be watched very, very carefully.

POM     Do you think that parties like the NP and the DP should be able to organise and canvass votes in the townships or that the kids who throw them out are really doing the right thing?

HG     People feel insulted. All these years people are in those townships because of discrimination and apartheid. People have been getting low wages and so on and suddenly the same people come along and say vote us into power. People can see through that. They get very angry. That is why they go there and wreck these meetings, because they feel insulted.

POM     Do you think even though the people are insulted, do you think that ...?

HG     I don't think there's any wisdom in going there. Perhaps in the next election but not now. They haven't created that climate yet because people like ..., for example, have not joined those people because of a change of heart but they saw where their bread was being buttered, then they left their plate there with the NP.

POM     It seems to me that you are painting a fairly bleak picture of the future, that you're talking about an ANC that's become soft, moved away from the principles of the Freedom Charter, being the major partner in a government of national unity that may in fact include leaders of the Bantustans, that they will not be able to deliver within five years and that you wouldn't be surprised to see if not the organisation disintegrate or split off into different factions that you would see a new party and the only one I can think of I suppose would be the PAC, there might be some other new one, win a second election. It's not a very upbeat assessment.

HG     I used to be very optimistic when I understood my organisation, what we were fighting for and what we stood for. But recently I am confused myself. I should like to be in a position to defend every step we take.

POM     Now you are a member of the National Executive?

HG     Yes.

POM     Well then aren't the deliberations at Kempton Park taken to you and mustn't you ratify the decisions made by the negotiators?

HG     Well yes and no. Yes because there is a lot of paper work which goes to the regions. They hardly have any time to read all that stuff. If there was a space in between where the leadership went to the regions, held meetings, explained the major decisions taken, then the people would come along with you, but they don't seem to be doing that.

POM     This is what happened with the breakdown of CODESA. Many people said at the time that the grassroots voted against the decisions that were being made in secret by the leadership. The organisation doesn't seem to have learned very much in the meantime.

HG     Yes that is the problem. There is what they call the, in biology they call it a process of symbiosis, in politics they call it the inter-penetration of opposites. You are there in CODESA, you move on to the World Trade Centre, finally you are so used to one another that you have got something in common and here everyone seems to be interested just in negotiations, they must not fail, they must not fail. The substance of those negotiations perhaps come secondary. When we were in prison there was Professor West(?) from the United States and he was telling us about the psychology of a detainee. He says finally you find that you think alike with your captor. You even fight against those who are coming to release you because you have struck a friendship with him. I think that's what's happening with us now. There is more in common between us and the Nats than probably there is between us up there on top in the leadership and the masses down below.

POM     You said last year that even if there is a climate off violence that elections must be held anyway.

HG     Yes, we are hoping that, because now if the elections are held and we have a government then our attention should be directed at violence and among other things the most important thing is to stop this clandestine funding of the Bantustans. Dismantle the Bantustans themselves because if you take Inkathagate, now Comrade Mandela was saying on Sunday, that de Klerk said he had given Buthelezi a quarter million rand. Buthelezi denied that and then they said they would stop these covert operations. After that they got eight million rand. Now if you have a government that stops all that, that stops the money going to KwaZulu, going to Gqozo, going to Mangope, then the violence would diminish, that's what we are saying. That is why now we say even if there is violence let the elections be held.

POM     This is related to what we talked about before but I want to be clear on your answer: that if elections were held in that atmosphere in Natal/KwaZulu and the results were very tight, 1% or so between the IFP and the ANC, it would be an extraordinarily volatile situation in which each side might cry foul, we lost or it was stolen from us. I want to just ask you a bit on the Savimbi factor, if the IFP lose they say foul and they continue to fight?

HG     The ANC won't take up arms. But if IFP continue to fight we shall be the government of the day, disarm them, take away those arms from them, arrest the perpetrators of this violence.

POM     So you wouldn't see an ongoing fight between members of the ANC in Natal and the KwaZulu Police?

HG     That fight would diminish. Dismantle the KwaZulu Police. Disarm the people who are carrying weapons. Somebody else must arm them.

POM     I know last year you said that one way to deal with Buthelezi was simply to pull the commercial strings on him, just take away his subsidies and without support from Pretoria he is nothing. Yet the history of conflict shows that people fight with nothing, with no resources. One can look at Somalia, one can look at Bosnia, one can look at any of these places where there is no economic infrastructure left at all yet the fight continues.

HG     I don't want to pretend I understand what is happening in Bosnia and other places but here I have got a clear picture of the country. Many of these people are being misled. You will be surprised that in Natal 80% of our membership was the membership of Inkatha and that was still making big inroads into what was originally called Inkatha territory. Because after all what are these people? What do they want? They have fought, they are being killed, their economic condition has not improved. We are saying, we are all part of you, let us come to you and improve our economic conditions. If we are different people, speaking another dialect then there will be problems but we are speaking the same language, we live in the same areas, we suffer the same.

POM     A couple more questions and thank you again for the time. Given what you have been talking about are you optimistic about the future?

HG     Finally yes. I am optimistic. I think initially there will be big setbacks but finally the people shall triumph. If you take the white people of this country, there may under discrimination be a big chasm between black and white, but they all have something in common and I know those whites who were always with us didn't do it because they were helping us, they felt they were part of the process of change in this country. I think more of them will join us and in that way our struggle will be non-racial, our struggle will be against the anti-democratic forces and that is why I'm so optimistic.

POM     Yet at the moment racial attitudes seem to have hardened. Whites seem more angry and more bitter, more resentful of blacks and of the ANC. I know Patricia and I used to, still do, but used to go into the townships all the time, nowadays they say don't, black people say don't do it.

HG     But let me tell you this. They say APLA is carrying out war in this country but APLA is not that force. There has been no APLA presence in the Free State and just imagine the places which are supposed to being attacked, you then ask yourself, why take those places? They are all strategic. What I am saying here is that there are people who try to fan these racial conflicts for their own ends. There are white people who would like to see this black/white confrontation for their own ends because that keeps the people divided, that doesn't unite the people.

POM     Going back to the National Party for a minute. For better or worse the ANC and the NP are seen as the two chief players, dancing partners of a type, and the belief on the NP's side is that the ANC will deliver the black community to whatever is agreed upon and the belief on the ANC side is that the NP will deliver or sell the package to whites, but as the NP gets weaker, and that appearance becomes more obvious, does the ANC need to find a way to boost the NP or could you find a situation where de Klerk can't sell whatever constitutional agreements are arrived at to the white community?

HG     I have heard it said at some of our meetings that we can't afford to let the NP weaken because we shall have to wade across the river with them. I have heard that said. But then we are not fighting for our liberation if we do this sort of thing. You won't weaken your opponent because you want to achieve something. I think our concern should not be the NP, our concern should be the white community because if you base it on a party basis then we are not going to succeed in getting to the white people, explaining who we are, why we should live together, why we should all be concerned with developing South Africa. We won't go to the whites via the NP, we won't succeed that way.

POM     These things are not happening?

HG     We are beginning to do that now but we have not been seriously doing it before. As it is now we are trying to get Nelson Mandela to go to the farmers. We have next to Pietermaritzburg here a German farming community, places called New Hanover, Greytown, we are planning that he visits those areas when he comes here over the weekend, although not all of them. We ourselves go out now, we've got farmers, some of them at Ladysmith, I don't know how many there are, who want to talk to the ANC. All the time ANC was painted as a devil with horns but we must show our face to these people and show them who we are without compromising the struggle.

POM     Thank you very much. You are most eloquent and insightful.

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.