Inkatha Freedom Party


Inkatha Freedom Party
Political party in South Africa consisting largely of the Zulu.

It originated in 1924 as a cultural movement under King Dinizulu. His grandson, Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi, revived it in 1974 as a political party after breaking with the African National Congress (ANC). Under Buthelezi, Inkatha advocated a struggle against apartheid but a willingness to accept power-sharing arrangements short of majority rule. From the late 1980s Inkatha and ANC followers were regularly involved in bloody clashes with strong ethnic (Zulu v. non-Zulu) overtones. In 1991 the white South African government admitted that it had secretly subsidized Inkatha.

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      black political movement in South Africa that derives its main support from the Zulu people. Inkatha was founded in 1975 in the black homeland of KwaZulu by Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi (Buthelezi, Mangosuthu G.), chief of the Zulu people and the chief minister of the homeland. Its purpose was to work against apartheid (the official South African policy of racial segregation) and to encourage the political and cultural aspirations of South African blacks. Under Buthelezi's leadership, Inkatha advocated an evolutionary struggle against apartheid and declared its willingness to accept special power-sharing arrangements that would fall short of majority rule in a post-apartheid South Africa.

      By the early 21st century Inkatha claimed to have more than 1.5 million members. Inkatha did not expand beyond its Zulu tribal base, however, and the organization was criticized as being collaborationist and ethnically divisive by members of the African National Congress (ANC) and other more radical black antiapartheid organizations. In the late 1980s and '90s followers of the two movements were regularly involved in bloody clashes that had strong ethnic (i.e., Zulu versus non-Zulu) overtones. In 1991 the South African government admitted that it had secretly subsidized Inkatha in the latter's deepening rivalry with the ANC.

      In South Africa's first post-apartheid elections, the Inkatha Freedom Party won 10.5 percent of the vote and 43 seats in the National Assembly. Buthelezi was subsequently appointed home affairs minister by President Nelson Mandela (Mandela, Nelson). Over the next decade, however, Inkatha's power waned, and in the 2004 elections it was outpolled by the ANC in KwaZulu/Natal (KwaZulu-Natal).

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Universalium. 2010.

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