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Source: Nii Amu Darko - As promised earlier, this is my ‘two pence’ contribution to the current ongoing discussion on South Africa in the wake of recent xenophobic attacks on African immigrants.

This will be a five part piece under the following headings, Before Apartheid, What Apartheid is and how it was applied in South Africa, ANC’s response to Apartheid, The Consequences of Apartheid and The consequences of ANC’s response to Apartheid. As always, your comments and input will be appreciated.

Related: THE SOUTH AFRICA I KNOW; Myths, Opinions and Facts - What is Apartheid? - Part 2 (i)

Related: THE SOUTH AFRICA I KNOW; Myths, opinions and facts - Political evolution(The Cape and Orange Free State) - Part 2 (ii)

Related: THE SOUTH AFRICA I KNOW; Myths, Opinions and Facts - Political evolution (Natal and Transvaal) - Part 2 (ii)

Related: THE SOUTH AFRICA I KNOW; Myths, opinions and facts – Commentary on Political and Economic evolution - Part 2

THE SOUTH AFRICA I KNOW; Myths, Opinions and Facts – Political (Economic) Evolution Part 2


Before Apartheid

The most important political phenomenon in Black South Africa was the rise of Shaka kaSenzangakhona or Shaka the Zulu in the early part of the 19th century. Through brutal wars, conquests and occasionally diplomacy, he created one centralized Kingdom from disjointed clans. He taught that the quickest way of becoming powerful was to conquer through wars and bring the conquered under your control. He created a new social DNA for the Zulu based on the violent, ‘’warrior’’ mentality.

Zulu monarchy and Shaka Zulu

He created the Zulu monarchy around 1820 and for almost a century the Zulus were perpetually at war, either crushing other African chieftains or fighting Europeans (British and Afrikaners). The Mfecane which means annihilation was adopted by Shaka in dealing with recalcitrant tribes. Even his deputy Mlikazi Khumalo who rebelled and left with his clan applied the same Mfecane in the Transvaal. He later established his Matabele kingdom in modern south-western Zimbabwe where he defeated the Shona.

That Shaka was a military genius is an understatement but his violent rule was extraordinary. He killed the mother of Zwide, a rival chief by throwing her into a house with hyenas. After she was devoured by the animals, he burnt the whole house the next day. When his mother Nandi, died, he ordered that any woman who became pregnant got killed together with her husband. Even cows were killed so their calves would know how it felt like to lose a mother. He ordered the splitting of a pregnant woman’s abdomen so he could see how the fetus lied in the womb. It is a myth that the violent nature of Zulus is because of apartheid. In my opinion, this is the violence virus that has infected the Zulu people till date.

Personal experiences in South Africa

I lived 3.5years in the 2 largest cities of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban and Pietermaritzburg. I have some of my very best friends ever there but make no mistake, do not cross the line. The level of violence was something else. A group could burst into the Emergency Department and demand that treatment to an injured enemy be stopped. They would remove drips and shoot the person there right in front of you. They could break into an operating theatre and finish off an enemy on the operating table. We treated them, so in all fairness, they were very nice to us. I never had any problem with them.

1994 meeting between Chief Buthelezi and Mandela

When Mandela met Buthelezi before the 1994 elections, he knew exactly what was at stake. He knew Zulus ‘’shaaa body’’ (they don’t joke with their words), they do not do body swerves. If they promise war, you will get war. He gave so much away to Buthelezi to secure peace. Mandela made no special deal in prison. What was the deal about? He started the armed struggle to secure one-man one-vote, De Klerk agreed to one-man, one -vote, so why continue to fight? The person he made a deal with was Chief Buthelezi.

Mandela agreed that the National government would pay the salary of the Zulu King and maintain his seven (7) palaces. He agreed that 92% of KZN land to be vested in the King. He agreed to Provincial governments but not the full autonomy Buthelezi wanted. Buthelezi wanted a constitutional monarchy like in the UK with the Zulu King as the ceremonial Head of State; Mandela refused but agreed to the option of KwaZulu-Natal being called a Kingdom instead of a Province and the King as its ceremonial head.

When Buthelezi's IFP got only 10% of the votes and deserved only one ministerial post, Mandela gave IFP 3 posts. Mandela was acutely aware of the history and culture of violence. Mandela knew what happened in Zimbabwe after their independence. Madiba did not want a Mugabe's GUKURAHUNDI in KwaZulu-Natal, so, he did everything to bring Chief Buthelezi on board. When General Viljoen’s Freedom Front and other Afrikaner groups campaigned for a separate homeland, Mandela refused. He made no deal with them and there was nothing they could do.

Mandela's 1964 Rivona Trial

This is what Mandela said in 1964 at his Rivona Trial “During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, my Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Mandela did not promise one South Africa in 1964 and delivered a different South Africa 30 years down the line. These are the facts. It is an absolute myth that the Zulus are misbehaving because they are frustrated at the kind of South Africa Mandela delivered. Yes, apartheid did many evil things but inculcating the spirit of violence into Zulus was not one of them. Burning and senseless killing of women and Mfecane by Zulus started 200 years ago.

Tswa omanye aba.

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