Saturday, South Africans woke up to the news of the passing of Gatsha Buthelezi and unsurprisingly, the colonial spin machine is on overdrive to portray its loyal, dependable slave as a hero, saviour and the best thing that ever happened prior to sliced bread. 

As in life, his death has provoked mixed feelings and intense emotions as some feel, not only that we should mourn his death but also shamelessly go as far as desperately attempting to sanitise the dirty legacy of the merciless butcher of Ulundi.

Not only South Africans, especially the natives who bore the brunt of this murderous apartheid collaborator, are being expected, at best and coerced to “forgive and forget”, at worst, the countless lives Gatsha Buthelezi and his warlords and nkabis (apartheid hired killers) mercilessly, callously and needlessly cut short in his overzealous effort to endear himself to his apartheid colonial masters.

Gatsha Buthelezi, the butcher of Ulundi, was a heartless mass murderer who didn’t hesitate to carry out his colonial master’s instructions. This is the truth that must, unashamedly and unapologetically, be told and not the claptrap about”not talking ill of the dead”. We are also being told that “it is unAfrican to tell the truth about the dead”. What balderdash, if I was to borrow from the very Gatsha’s lexicon!

To the contrary, it is very African to tell the truth that Gatsha Buthelezi was an apartheid colonial collaborator extraordinaire who not only enjoyed stoking tribal fires to divide natives and set them against one another in a violent conflict in defence of and against colonialism. 

He also actively and consciously opposed the struggle for genuine decolonisation with him being sent by the racist regime to campaign against economic sanctions and other efforts to isolate the apartheid junta internationally. Whether he started off as an ANC member is neither here nor there. Like in a race, it is not how you started but how you end the race that matters. 

The butcher of Ulundi not only betrayed natives and our country but he mercilessly maimed and killed them on behalf of his apartheid colonial masters. This is his legacy and it is exactly how all honest, principled and patriotic South Africans will remember him and not the mambo jumbo we are and have been, overtime, force fed. Tell the truth and it shall sets you free, so says the Bible.

Gatsha Buthelezi is responsible for the death excruciating and unbearable pain that natives endured and are enduring due to his instructions, on behalf of his colonial masters, to his armed, ruthless, blood-thirsty impis and nkabis who maimed and massacred mainly innocent, unarmed women and children. Who can forget Ongoye, Boipatong. Khumalo Street, Pietermaritzburg, Shobashobane, the list goes on, except the incorrigible denialists, shameless apartheid colonial apologists and pathetic revisionists?

The disingenuous amongst us are also scrambling to find cover behind the biblical scriptures by distorting the Bible. They deliberately misquote the Word by telling us that: “as Christians we must forgive and forget’. They conveniently forget to say that the Bible says: “those who live by the sword dies by it (even though Gatsha didn’t, sadly, die by the sword he so cruelly wielded and butchered innocent souls). They also conveniently forgets to tell us that the Bible also states that repentance precedes forgiveness and forgiveness flows from repentance.

Indeed, Gatsha Buthelezi never demonstrated any iota of remorse let alone ask for forgiveness. Instead he not only stubbornly protested his “innocence” but also took brazen and destructive steps to approach the courts and even bully universities like UKZN to withdraw copies of the seminal book by Cde Mzala Nxumalo titled “Gatsha Buthelezi – Chief with a double agenda” from their library shelves in his desperate attempt to suppress the truth about his murderous ways. 

The disdain with which he and his fellow apartheid travelers treated the “Truth and Reconciliation” Commission exposed the process for what it really was, a charade that denied millions of victims of apartheid terror justice. Why are we then offering what was not asked for by a defiant tinpot murderer unless we also want to cleanse our consciences?

The butcher of Ulundi hardly repented let alone asked for forgiveness, at least publicly. The false generosity we area asked to offer to him is totally misplaced as he like his apartheid handlers like PW Botha, FW de Klerk and so forth, opted to go to the grave without confessing their apartheid sins and taking steps to atone for their evil deeds.

My dear brother and fellow wordsmith (journalist to the uninitiated) who has branded himself as the “lowly newspaper man”, Mondli Makhaya, had only scathing words about the disastrous legacy of the Ulundi butcher. Aptly titled “Remembering a cruel butcher”, the piece that was penned way back in August 2018 when Gatsha Buthelezi was turning 90 years, emphatically states that: “to be silent about his evil past would be to insult the memories of those thousand of lives he ended prematurely…”. Aptly put and I can’t agree with him more!

Taking a leaf from Voltaire who famously said: “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth” we cannot overemphasise that, even in life, Gatsha Buthelezi deserved no respect as he not only shamelessly disrespected the rights of natives to life but brazenly trampled upon them in the extreme by even murdering those who opposed the apartheid colonial system and its offspring, bantustans. So, in death as we did throughout his life, we are giving the truth to him and in his face, nogal!

Like comrade Mzala Nxumalo, in his seminal work titled “Gatsha Buthelezi – Chief with a double agenda, correctly characterised him, he was and still remains a chief with a double (murderous) agenda. 

No matter how hard the revisionists, hypocrites and apartheid colonial apologists try, they are bound to dismally fail in their desperate attempts to rewrite history and sanitise the rotten, stinking legacy of the butcher of Ulundi .

Gatsha Buthelezi was a loyal servant of the colonialists. Whilst nauseating, it is hardly surprising that apartheid beneficiaries of all hoes want to force us to mourn their useful tool. They are dreaming if not hallucinating!

Refusing to mourn the demise of his “uncle”, my other brother and colleague, Fred Khumalo, didn’t have kind words for and spared no punches about the deadly legacy of Gatsha Buthelezi as he stated that: “now we are supposed to mourn? Those of us who survived many Inkatha attacks find it difficult. Yes, my mother is a Buthelezi. But no, I’m not going to mourn a killer”.

Like Bra Fred, I do not only find it difficult to mourn but I also can’t fathom the temerity of those who want to “recruit” us into shedding crocodiles tears for a murderer who flatly refused to take responsibility for his murderous acts, let alone ask for forgiveness. 

As I stated in one of my Facebook post, those who wish to mourn may do so. However, they shouldn’t dare whitewash or rewrite a history replete with callous spilling of the blood of especially the innocent.

The Bible also states that: “let the dead bury their dead”. Instead of being hypocritic by joining the fake mourning, I consciously choose to be on the right side of history by having my heart being firmly with all the families, comrades and true patriots who had devastation visited upon them by the cruel butcher of Ulundi. 

I am mourning with them as the vast majority of these families, comrades and true patriots have not found closure due to the discredited truth and reconciliation process and other manoeuvres of the elite. 

How unfortunate that the heartless butcher of Ulundi is going to the grave without assisting these families to find closure by confessing his murderous deeds and asking for forgiveness!

It is not only disingenuous but extremely idiotic to want to tell us that it’s African to lie about the dead. No one is talking ill about the cruel burger of Ulundi. We are telling the naked truth about him and his murderous deeds. “A truth can walk naked but a lie needs to be dressed”, so said Khalil Gibran. 

Those who inexplicably and stubbornly refuse to learn from history are huffing and puffing to dress up a lie about Gatsha Buthelezi. Why? Connect the dots! 

Instead of singling false praises for the callous butcher of Ulundi, history and posterity demand of all of us to expose Gatsha Buthelezi’s duplicity and his uncanny knack of revising history to suit his murderous agenda. This patriotic act will ensure that “we do not insult the memories of whose lives were ended prematurely by Gatsha Buthelezi”. 

Mogomotsi Mogodiri is an ANC member, former COSAS Soweto Chairperson, AZASO/SANSCO/SASCO leader, ex-MK Combatant and media specialist

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