This article underlines that not only was apartheid ruled by white people, but black and coloured people also played their role...
"The National House of Traditional Leaders is demanding that that the Constitution be amended in rural areas to do away with elected local government and give the amakhosi the power to govern. Under the guise of “tradition and culture”, they wish to re-establish old bantustans.[...]
Apartheid was a complex system that benefited not only a White minority, it had a range of African, Coloured and Indian beneficiaries as well. The late colonial and apartheid state in South Africa was always White dominated but supported ‘tribal’ leaders in the homelands or bantustans and a minority of Coloured and Indian collaborators.
Apartheid would never have lasted a day without its collaborators located mainly in the rural parts of our country. There were exceptions among 20th century traditional leaders but they were small in number and persecuted by the apartheid state.
Today, most of our university students would struggle to name even five homeland leaders [...].
The power of homeland leaders over people was not fake. Unless you voted for their one-party “regimes”, kissed their hands, gave them money — your access to land, education, health and other social services were restricted. Most damning is the power they exerted over women, girls and young men. African women in most rural areas never became adults with full legal personalities. The system of chiefs, homeland “self-rule” and “independence” was also a part of the violence against our people. Inkatha chiefs killed thousands of ANC supporters who then had to defend themselves. All Bantustan jails were filled with activists while their police shot and beat people indiscriminately during protests.
Our current version of history and struggle is a romantic myth with “bad Whites” and “good Blacks led by the ANC”. We forget that there were many African, Coloured and Indian collaborators who used minority rule to exploit our people. Most of them flooded into the ANC after 1990.
Religion, tradition and culture are an important part of South Africa’s diverse people. Democracy means developing forces into a progressive tradition that respects human rights. A struggle is emerging over democracy and the Constitution in South Africa. This struggle centers around the ideas of freedom, equality, social justice and the right to elect our representatives. If conservative Chiefs and other traditional leaders, Priests, Imams and Rabbis together with their business counter-parts have their way, minority rule will be manifested in different forms. The domination of women, girls, young men, workers, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex people will become a part of our daily lives.
It is vital that we read our history and that we understand that the struggle for democracy and social justice is never won — it is a permanent struggle. Now is the time to re-examine the role of “traditional” leaders and collaborators under apartheid. They did not go away, they entered the ANC to continue plundering the state as they plundered the Bantustans and the stooge Coloured and Indian Parliaments.
We have to ensure that tradition, religion and culture is respected and developed, to promote human dignity, equality and freedom, not our subjection."
by Zackie Achmat