SIBONGAKONKE SHOBA: Honour Buthelezi if you must, but he was no hero of the struggle
'We later learnt that our attackers had been bristling for action after being addressed by IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi at a rally in Durban'
When KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu was called to the stage, I expected a balanced, frank and honest analysis of Buthelezi and his role in the run-up to democracy and afterwards.
Mchunu, a former unionist and a veteran of the struggle, endured more at the hands of the apartheid forces and IFP-linked militia than many in the province.
But I realised he was also suffering from historical amnesia when he told us that Buthelezi was a man of peace, and that if he was not, "we wouldn't [be] here".
He went on to declare Buthelezi a father figure "to us", and claimed he had played a similar role even during the struggle.
The serenity of that Sunday evening was brought to an abrupt end by a huge bang. Then gunshots rang out, followed by heart-wrenching wailing. Mvemve Road, where my friends and I were playing soccer, immediately turned into a war zone. Amid the gunshots and screams, war chants grew louder as the impis got closer. Thick smoke covered that part of K-section in KwaMashu township. There was pandemonium on the streets. I must have clocked the fastest speed in my life as we ran to escape. We ran deep into the township until we reached the home of the Thwalas, old family friends. That is where my mother, sister and I spent the night. My father and other siblings slept in the bushes. It was 1993, at the height of political conflict in KwaZulu-Natal. My family were fortunate to live to tell the tale. Other families suffered worse trauma; attacks that resulted in casualties on both sides of the family divide. It was not the first or the last time that IFP impis raided the area. Due to KwaMashu...