“I can imagine the deep sense of shock that they experienced when cliques of students began abusing me with their swearing ... Our youths, our sons and daughters (are) of a warrior nation and they had gone to the university to commemorate one of their greatest warriors in Zulu history, and the simple fact of the matter is that this violence so carefully plotted, so carefully orchestrated and so cunningly executed produced the inevitable counter-violence (Tom Lodge and Bill Nasson, 1991:162–163).”
These were the words of the 55-year-old IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi after the slaughtering of youth by other youth, his supporters.
The statement he made was enough to distinguish between fact and fiction, between propaganda and reality.
He said his supporters were shocked that he was abused.
He did not stop the supporters from attacking others because they swore at him. He felt good that his name would be protected at all costs.
But what was amazing was that the very same Buthelezi denied that Inkatha was responsible: “Why should we be blamed for attacks by people wearing Inkatha uniforms?” (Lodge and Nasson, 1991:163).
The elder was denying for the sake of denying, because he realised the blunder he made in the statement just above, before this one. The conflict was between Inkatha and the United Democratic Front, and not with people who wore Inkatha regalia. People feared Inkatha and therefore there was no way they would wear its regalia against its will and dirty its name. The Ngoye massacre lay in his hands.
Buthelezi issued the statement out of excitement and it exposed him. He never apologised. Yet there are those people who said he was a “man of integrity”.
It is the following categories of people who gave Buthelezi that tag: The ones he entertained, his masters from inside the country and abroad, by not stopping the killing of his own by his own (referred to as “black-on-black violence”).
The other category falls in the same as with the first, the master-race supremacists who got entertained and showed their children in amusement black-on-black violence.
The other category was Inkatha, which did not represent the “Zulu Nation” but tribalism in cahoots with the racist masters.
Last, the ANC is trying its best to win over Zulus, Inkatha or both within and outside the party in order to maintain its hold on KwaZulu-Natal and consolidate its position generally.
But at whose expense? At the expense of history, they are distorting and deceiving the nation, especially the youth who do not have a clue about what the man and the party he led did to other African people.
Be that as it may, it is on record what really happened at Ngoye. Academics, writers like Nasson and Lodge, might not be rich or popular like politicians but what they did must be applauded.
This is the first or one of the first events to haunt the “man of integrity”, a month after he passed on.
How can the abuse of your name be more important than lives, especially those of children?
Can you condone or justify the killing of children by other children? Then you do not apologise 40 years down the line for the statement, and then you are referred to as “man of integrity”.
If the students did not respect one of the greatest Zulu warriors, why in his statement it is first about him and not the warrior, King Cetshwayo?
Why did Buthelezi Inkathalise the celebration, and force Inkatha down the throat of every Zulu person? By the way, he changed the Inkatha Cultural Movement, formed by King Solomon Dinizulu, into his selfish sectionalist tribalist political party. The original Inkatha would have not allowed the murdering of fellow Zulus and other African people for the sake of an individual.
Before advocating for reconciliation between the ANC and IFP before he died, he should have first apologised for the statement he made after the massacre of students at Ngoye.
* Ndabeni is a former history tutor at UWC and a former teacher at Bulumko Senior Secondary School in Khayelitsha.