The Presidential Years

You needed to work with the fact that the king had a vested interest in the old order, a great part of which was material. So, if he was going to be worse off that would not be an incentive for him to accept the change that was coming. That’s one. But also, you needed to develop and convince him of a narrative which begins to work on his mind as an idea – in our interaction with him we were saying to him, ‘You are the king of the Zulus and the Zulus will belong to different political parties. Some of them belong to the ANC, some to the PAC, some to Inkatha. You are the only one who transcends all these party political shades. Your people will continue to kill each other unless there is someone who is able to rise above these things, so in that sense you are more important than the political leaders.’ I think that was music to his ears. He understood that if he sits in one corner he actually does his own position a disservice.

This approach was consistent with that advice which Nyerere gave to the ANC, which was to say, ‘If there is going to one day be one man one vote in South Africa,’ which is what we called it, ‘anybody who can read the situation will see that it will result in the ANC becoming the government of a new South Africa. How then do you incentivise people to accept that inevitability and say that we will live under that government and that it is not a threat to us?’

Sydney Mufamadi