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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Inkatha

Inkatha was founded in 1922 and was initially an almost exclusively Zulu cultural movement. Its aims were to demolish racial discrimination, promote black cultural emancipation and improve aspects of community development such as black education. Non-violent means were to be used. Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi (a grandson of Dinizulu, the last king of the independent Zulu state) became leader of the Zulu homeland of KwaZulu in 1957 – which some critics saw as lending credibility to government policy. However, he later refused to accept the independence on offer from the government because he was an opponent of apartheid and separate development. In 1975 he became the leader of Inkatha and a few years later broke with the ANC* because he refused to accept ANC-in-exile dominance. In the 1980s the tension between the exile leadership and Inkatha reached breaking point and boiled over into ongoing UDF* – Inkatha violence; the situation deteriorated into virtual civil war by 1989. Soon afterwards, in 1990 Mangosuthu Buthelezi declared his intention to transform the cultural movement into a political party, the Inkatha Freedom Party* (IFP), which would be open to all. The announcement brought another wave of conflict between Inkatha supporters and UDF comrades, this time on the Witwatersrand where Inkatha had a significant following in the migrant worker hostels.

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.