Inkatha Freedom Party

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A South African Zulu political organization under the leadership of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The party was founded as the Inkatha movement by Buthelezi in 1975 to counter the Xhosa-dominated African National Congress (ANC). Unlike the ANC, which sought to overthrow the apartheid system through armed struggle, Inkatha was pledged to represent Zulu interests by working within the Bantu homeland system established by the White regime. From the early 1980s onwards, increasingly violent clashes took place between supporters of the two groups, resulting in an estimated death toll of over 5000 people. The Inkatha movement became a political party in 1990 and changed its name to the Inkatha Freedom Party. In South Africa's first multiracial elections in 1994, Inkatha initially boycotted the poll but eventually participated. It won 43 seats in the new national assembly and Buthelezi was appointed home affairs minister. Inkatha's standing was damaged in the 1990s by revelations that it had been covertly funded and armed by the security forces in the 1980s, in an attempt to increase ethnic tension and destabilize the ANC. It lost ground to the ANC in the 1999 and 2004 elections, and went into opposition after the latter.

Subjects: World History — African Studies.

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