Country owes Buthelezi respect and gratitude

The intention to remove Buthelezi's name from a street in KwaZulu-Natal demonstrates a complete disregard for history by the current political rulers in the province. It also suggests that the country is moving down the slippery slope towards eradicating from the South African consciousness all voices other than those of the ANC.

The intention to remove Buthelezi's name from a street in KwaZulu-Natal demonstrates a complete disregard for history by the current political rulers in the province. It also suggests that the country is moving down the slippery slope towards eradicating from the South African consciousness all voices other than those of the ANC.

Buthelezi has never been an enemy of the ANC. He has been either a fellow traveller or an adversary, offering principled and constructive opposition. By now the myth of his causing the black-on-black violence that racked KwaZulu-Natal before 1994 should have been relegated to the dustbins of history. The Truth Commission is largely to blame for this truth has not been more widely disseminated.

The myths about Buthelezi have for a long time been dispelled by academics unafraid of contradicting ANC propaganda and President Thabo Mbeki himself, who admitted as much publicly at a rally for reconciliation on the East Rand in his first term of office.

Before 1994, Buthelezi campaigned unremittingly for black liberation, but did so non-violently. Not only the IFP, but the entire country owes him gratitude and respect. Many more South Africans should have the courage to support a tribute to this veteran politician, the longest serving in South Africa.

Ruth Rabinowitz, Durban

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