AUBREY MATSHIQI: Love him or hate him, Buthelezi was a force in politics
“Buthelezi is an adroit and masterful politician who ... managed to straddle the worlds of struggle politics and the homeland system as well as traditional leadership”
I must confess that, like many people in this country, I struggle to be objective about Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has led the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) since 1975. As expected, the announcement on Sunday that Buthelezi is retiring from politics evoked strong feelings and views. Some expressed love and admiration, while others spoke of him not as one who made a great contribution to the liberation struggle and the country, but as a collaborator who worked with the apartheid regime to achieve ends not too dissimilar to the goals of the National Party. Others speak of him as an elder statesman, while some still revile him as a former bantustan leader who rejected the sham of independence for his homeland but headed a political and cultural movement that was the extension of the apartheid machinery of violence against black people and the liberation movement. In him is exemplified the fact that historical memory is not an objective reality. Subjective experiences and perception...