Letter: Chief Buthelezi: not 'mad, bad or extremely dangerous', but much maligned

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The Independent Online
Sir: 'Dangerous myth of the Zulu warrior' by John Carlin came as no surprise, considering that he often used his reports to manipulate the leadership of the ANC against Inkatha, behaving like a white racist deriving solace in seeing the differences between Chief Buthelezi and Mr Mandela deepening. John Carlin has always been opposed to any meeting between the two leaders.

He wrote yesterday that Mr Mandela had 'developed an intense dislike for Chief Buthelezi'. This was clearly the projection of Mr Carlin's own true feelings towards Chief Buthelezi, which were demonstrated in today's malicious article. It has become a full-time preoccupation of Mr Carlin to insult and abuse Chief Buthelezi and the leadership of the Zulu nation. This contemptible and unprofessional conduct makes people wonder if being English and a journalist gives one the licence to abuse African leaders with impunity. (By the way, the picture in the article is not that of Chief Buthelezi but that of the Zulu King).

Whether Chief Buthelezi met with the Prince of Wales or not, does not merit this type of attack. The fact is those who are averse to Chief Buthelezi's political views wish to have all doors closed for him and feel infuriated when world leaders talk to him. To these negative campaigners the window of opportunity belonged solely to Mr Mandela and the ANC.

The Independent, like some World Institutions, wants to see in South Africa, a settlement that will enhance the views and plans of the ANC and the National Party. That is why in Mr Carlin's own weak judgement, it is not a good thing for Chief Buthelezi to talk to what he terms the 'pro-apartheid' Conservative Party, yet ironically Chief Buthelezi should accept to be dictated to by the ANC/NP pact. The NP, the real architect of the apartheid laws, has somehow won the confidence of Mr Carlin and the Independent.

If Chief Buthelezi is supported by whites and loathed by blacks, why do we have this low-intensity civil war between Inkatha and the ANC? Only unbridled hatred, contemptuous of truth and fact has propelled Mr Carlin to insult Chief Buthelezi as 'no democrat, no peace lover and no man of good faith'. Chief Buthelezi is a signatory in the National Peace Accord. The very fact that he is insisting that violence be given priority concern by the Multiparty Negotiating Council, and that he met with Mr Mandela yesterday in search of peace, is sufficient evidence to contradict Mr Carlin's unfair and malicious assessment of Chief Buthelezi.

Yours faithfully,

BEN M. SKOSANA

Representative

Inkatha Freedom Party

London, W1

24 June

(Photograph omitted)

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