The IFP Mayor of King Cetshwayo district municipality said the fight for freedom in South Africa was a collective effort and many kept fighting in various ways when almost all dissenting voices had been silenced.
Thami Ntuli says one of those who kept the fight going on was Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and his political party, the IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party).
In a recorded speech, Ntuli was speaking in Richards Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal during a street parade ahead of the King Cetshwayo July, an event almost identical to the famous Durban July.
He was speaking about the vision and the past work of Buthelezi, the founder of the IFP who is also the traditional prime minister of the Zulu monarch and nation.
Ntuli said even the late Dr Nelson Mandela and former Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda confirmed Buthelezi and the IFP fought for the liberation of South Africa.
“Those who picked up the baton (from Pixley kaSeme) and kept on fighting are the likes of Nelson Mandela, Mr Oliver Tambo, Steve Biko and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who is still amongst us today, and so many other politicians.
“I told learners (of Bizimali High School in Nkandla) that after the apartheid government silenced all political parties in 1960, arrested others in 1961 and 1962 and others went to exile, the struggle for freedom died down,” Ntuli said.
He added that it was the likes of Buthelezi and the IFP that kept the fires burning even when there was a risk of being killed.
“The lone voice at that time was the Prince of KwaPhindangene (Buthelezi) who was at the time a member of the ANC youth league.
“When he (Buthelezi) visited Zambia, in Lusaka, the former President of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda, told him to form a (cultural) membership-based organisation (the IFP) because he was arrested, the struggle would be over,” he said.
However, Ntuli, said nothing about the claims by the detractors of the IFP that the party later abandoned the struggle even though it was started as a proxy of the ANC to keep the fight going after the jailing and exiling of prominent leaders like Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.
Ntuli reminded the people that the IFP was an ANC project, hence they had songs that were demanding the release of Mandela.