Title: Transcripts of interviews conducted by Gwendolen M. Carter, 1972-1985
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Title: Transcripts of interviews conducted by Gwendolen M. Carter, 1972-1985
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Language: English
Creator: Carter, Gwendolen M.
Copyright Date: 1972
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Bibliographic ID: UF00095707
Volume ID: VID00009
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MOTLANA, Dr. Ntatlo : Chairman of the Committee of Ten Mar._J, 19729
The thing that interests me is why ybu started the C. of Ten
I was actually sitting in my rooms one day when these two boys walk in.
They were contemporaries of Steve Biko but they didn't show much interest
in school. This was in 76, after Soweto. And between then & June 77,
the Urban Nantu CooeinifF8Rsgat. tatixtka by the students, tAfth~f es
quite a lot of us felt that there should be some sort of organization
to articulate their desires and their wishes. And these boys came in to
see me about I~Te S iacKr1 rrizing a conference of relevant people,
x8xktzlaxxtExkzmxtmas;to decide how Soweto is to be ruled. This was the
whole idea. It wasn't my idea; it was their idea. These were all BPC boys,
And they invited me to come and chair this $meeting. We looked around
br a venue and Aggrey Klaaste, whoWbx A~ha e1tne oys, suggested we ask

Percy and his news peofodlet us have the use of his canteen, a hall
above his offices, and we met there on the tenth, I.ena,197 e ;d to
what we then called the Soweto fa xzkz Local Authority Interim Committee.
a Town Council if you like. And we then elected ten members. That meeting
was attended by just under a hundred people, very representatveB PA0
pjerepresented; ANSA (?), the social workers were represented; UB was
represented (the journalists); ASSECA;. It was really representative; a
cross section of almost all organization working in Soweto were
represented at this meeting. Manteta was there. All blacks. The govt.
went on to claim it was self-appointed but it was really representative.
And then, of course, the committee sat down to do some work. How
they saw the people of Soweto:( controlling Soweto. (Did you issue any kind
of statement?) We met a week later and we decided to draw up a blue print,
ideas in writing. I should add that we talked around; for example I had
several consultations with a chap named Hopple (?), legal adviser to the
Johannesburg City Council. I want ed to know how do you run it; what is
that? Very interesting, for the first time I heard about the Local
Government Ordinance, and he produced a copy for each of our members. We
got to know how City Councils are composed, how they work; Town Councils;
Committees... And we studied this. We went to the university, Wits, and
said "where are your lecturers on local government?". And we said to them:
"Look, we want to know how Local Authorities are run.' And thentYssaid:
"We'll construct a course for the people of Soweto. a crash course."
(Did they?) But then we were arrested We couldn't do some of these things
KErAtanx NXXX c^^^ < ^^ ^^^ce/







Motlana, Dr. N. Mar. 1, 1979 -2-


but we made a start. We had in mind a nice progression. To take person
who knew nothing and to have them visit their counterparts in the city.
and to know how these things are done. But the important publication
that came out from the Committee of Ten (Can you get me a copy?)
It was published, the whole thing, in the World.and asked me to vote
for him. The newspapers probably know more about the Committee of
Ten than we do.
The statement consisted of three parts: the first part defined
how the Council would work; then the second part described develop-
ments like the Central business district, housing; the third part was
a projection into the future, to the year 2,000. Of course, we made
the mistake of mentioning the OAU there, and the Arabs, and money.
We got our best support from lftnEewspapers, particularly
Dr. duToit. They thought this was wonderful. The liberal press, the
RDM and the Star didn't cotton on to this thing until quite late.
But Rapport, the Transvaler etc welcomed it. I suspect the reason
why we had such a response from Afrikaners was that in essence the
Committee of Ten, its desire to form this city council etc. was a
reflection of their own policy. We ere criticized in black circles
everywhere. But I've always said the govt. missed a golden opportunity
j lB ot ilg ipeconsciousness, the so-called young milJitHtfiAWA1cve
was consonant with their policy and this is what people like Roscoff (f)
were saying. When we were looked up many of us were surprised because
I think they were damned foolish. (Did it suddenly come out of the
blue or did they say you have done this?) They said that we made it
impossible for them to talk; that the people were to look to us for
guidance, for everything instead of to them. They said, after they had
removed us, Soweto kept quiet. We said "yes" it was fear; they swept
us off the streets. Everything's quiet. So they locked us up and K
think they missed the boat. You Iese Iliit /ga l blio meeting and
askat the people to accept, reject or amend our statement. The meeting
was banned. (So you never really had a public meeting?) No, but I
hear, between you and me now, that people did write in, in their
thousands, and that Prime Minister Vorster personally asked Percy not
to print them. (How long was this going on?) June to October. We were
very active; we moved very fast. (Ina: the thing that struck outside
people like kxaanxfx myself was that the Committee of Ten when it was
elected meant the coming together of heole whom one would never have
expected to work together. I always had the feeling that this was what








Motlana, Dr. N. Mar. 1, 1979


the government was so frightened of). To me it was an amazing thing
for Sally to sit down with Matsupula4 ex UBOY the secretary) A lot of
people felt also that this was the thing they were scared of. You knoll
they'd always worked on a divide and rule basis ) I don't know if the
govt. was watching in those terms. One of the things that Jimmy
Kruger said was that we made it impossible for him to control Soweto.
I think they know now that they made a mistake. (At least KoornhoP
does) But he isn't very bright. But other members of govt. are
sorry. You see we had the BPC involved. We had set out z blueprint
and if the people of Soweto had endorsed this blueprint, they could
have approved it. This was not a revolutionary document; it wouldn't
have upset the govt. ftxsxztx You know the restraints the govt. has
set on local authorities. (You were going to be the local authority
in the system?) In the system, yes, of course. One of the worst
criticisms of us, the boys from Durban, for example, saw it as being
separate development. Which it was, in a sense. Although Matanzima
said he was glad we had seen the light at last, we said we see
Soweto as part of greater Johannesburh. We see Soweto taking part
in meetings with Lenasia, and other parts of the city on such
matters as Si4kararower, and in no way fix you equate us with
Transkei going its own stupid way. (Was there criticism closer to
home?) No, mostly Natal. They were under the influence of a doctrine
doctrinaire Marxist fellow, some of them had been put out of the BPC
& Sasso, as too radical. Remember BPC had this communalism view. Bu
in South Africa today its dangerous to say what you think. If we h
had succeeded in getting this blue print accepted we would have bee
involved & between you and ma we would have had to think of somethi
else. (Why?j I wouldn't have liked to go cap in hand to govt. and
say "Look, we in Soweto think we should rule ourselves. What do you
say?" We would have wanted to decla e publically "This is what Sowe
is about.". But to go to Cape Town and to see Vorster... That wopld
be another thing. (Were you erer really elected?) This meeting's
at the World was indoor. We wanted meetings out of doors but the
pvt actually banned meeting kxatx indoors / After that no meetings
naograsor idiaxs outdoors. The only meeting that were allowed were
SiXP~karx*if meetings. (He was allowed to have meetings?) Yes. He
was allowed to have meetings. (Did you have contacts with him?)
Yes I had contact with his secretary, Thula. but when we wanted
his support he gave it unstintingly/ But when we called to all
t'e black organizations, the black individuals they came out PARTL
in support. Later they watered down their stand.


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Motlana, Dr. N. Mar 1, 79 -4-
to all black individuals, they came out partly ix
in support. Later they watered down their stand. They told the people of
Johannesburg to vote as they pleased. (But even so it was only 6%) It was
picked up by the migrant leath e s? Th og anea6fte in Soweto was the migrant
labour, in the hostels. We've lost them now, its a pity, there was a chance
during the voting. But the interesting thing is that the week we were
arrested the Rak UBC (?) announced the opening of nominations. (Had he
been involved in what you were doing?) Not at all. (Was he BPC? or was he
not?) I have no evidence, or knowledge of what David (Thebehali) was. I
do know that he was very active in student politics at Turfloop. (I'm pretty
sure he was in that meeting described in Gail's book that I was at.) But
anyway he took his line to go with the govt. (I know when we were talking
to Koornhof he said "well I must talk to Thebehali) he was elected" and
whoever was with me said rather loudly "Yes. by 6%" and K. said "yes, that's
right be 6%." So he had no illusions.) Of course after the first voting,
early 78 the Afrikaans press was totally opposed to the election of the
Council, Voskoff and deKlerk, they really had some very good ideas and
they advised the then minister, Mulder, to scrap the election, to release
the 0. of Ten from detention and go back to the people. Anyway the govt.
didn't but this is what they recommended: talk to the people. DeKlerk is
very good. I've met him tw ice now. I spent the'whole morning one day from
9 to 1. Although he's moving forward, groping for a way out I think his
heart is in the right place. Gerrit Viljoen is the man I'm talking about;
they were together, in the executive of the Broederbond. Vijoen is a smooth
operator, he thinks the Afrikaner can get away without much change. But
deKlerk is groping for some kind of change. He had prepared a paper on multi
nationals which I was allowed to read; its kind sound. I don't know if
you've seen him on TV, he apt to say that Africans are ungrateful, quite
unappreciative for the changes that have been done. And of course we see
no changes at all. I say we want fundamental change not whether I can go &
eat at a hotel. (le W.A.deKlerk"s Puritans..) I found it very interesting,
esp. on Calvinism and race, & very good on social engineering.
As soon as they detained us they called for nominations for the
community council. After the first abortive elective the two Mulders didn't
know what to do. They knew that Inkatha had agreed with us not to nominate
candidates. So they went around to Nyembezi (who died) and saidYcan yo
help us with the by-elections to fill up the 18 seats."And they said what
are your demands and N. said "our demands are the same: autonomy, land tenu
and Mulder, like the clever man he is said "I offer you both." And N.
accepted. And th third condition N. made was lease security. And on







Motlana, Dr. N. Mar. 1, 1979 -4-
And on these conditions and that they release the 0. of Ten N. agreed.
They released me and Mosala and kept the rest in detention. And of
course they reneged on practically everything. When we got out we said
"Where is the freehold tenure" etc. and I think this was the start of the
decline of N.; he was kicked out of Inkatha. When I was released I
immediately released a statement condemning the whole thing, and said we
wouldn't move until all the otjer members were released. I tried to play
clever politics & said "M will not make any statements until the whole
committee can be consulted and agree" in the hope they would all be
released. Of course they didn't; they released them in dribs & drabs.
The last chap to be released was our secretary, He was
released sometime in Sept. (Didn't Ellen come out first?) Yes, but not
as part of the deal N. made with Mulder. (See my letter diary)
Mine was even more amusing. zxxaxxx He came there a little after
Xmas, Kruger, and there was such tremendous pressure by the world press
re Percy. W e think he came there because Percy was witb us. He selected
a few students to talk to; we don't know why. Then he came into our cell
& I'd become quite chummy with the Deputy Comm. of Prisons, a bald headed
chap with a PhD in criminology, who used to come & chatb omge eg6 when
Kruger came along he came & said to me whispering, its best you get on the
floor. Kruger comes along & says "How do you like it here?" and I said
"I want to get out of here.". And he says "Suppose I was to release you
tomorrow;j what would you do?" and I said "Because I don't know why you
locked me up in the first place I'd do exactly what I was doing before."
And he said "No you can't do that; you mean you'd continue with the 0. of
Ten?" and I said "Of course" and he replied "You can't; the Com. is banned
Van den Bergh knew everything but Kruger didn't know the 0. of Ten wasn't
banned. Van den Bergh is really intelligent about security; he does what
he likes. Apparently Kruger went back to PaKl & told Mrs. Suzman "He's
still cheeky." Unrepentent. He is a most unpleasant man. So we had to
stay in, until after Xmas, to the end of March. Being Section Ten we cd.
have exercise and books and held meetings: with all the other people who
were there. But of course we were scared: how many of us were detained
simply to keep watch on the others. (cited Maxchine ? who served on Robbin
Isl. came out, raised a family & is now in danger of being sentenced to ten
years because fellow prisoneW Ryty anrganized a cell on Robbin I'sl.)
Black consciousness to me is black nationalism, what we in 1948 at Fort
Hare talked about. The fact that it has a different label means nothing at
all. Therefore its been very easy for our boys to relate to BPO or ANO.








Motlana. Dr. N. Mar. 1. 1979


Mashinini was different; he was a bombast. Its said the Nigerians
encouraged him. They were tired of ANO and PAO and they thought he
represented a middle of the road. But it seems that when our young
Soweto boys leave the country, they are forced to choose between ANO
and PAC. (And most choose ANOyeg'I told him of Mbeki & OBS film)
And Mbeki let his face be seen?
I tell you the 0. of Ten will go on. Two of our members are
banned for five years so we must replace them by cooptation. And
we think we will concentrate on Soweto; its too difficult now to
organize a nation-wide movement. We want to have an organized kind
of support; maybe card carrying, maybe not, but people tho are known
& committed. And we would plan to have a meeting in say a year and
tell them what we have been doing to see if they approx.e. You know,
Jimmy Kruger is watching us like a hawk. nxt We should concentrate on
local organization, local areas, but make no mistake what Spweto does,
the rest of the country will do too.
As for G)atsha I've told him "Inkatha is a wonderful movement;
I'll join it in a moment if you get out of X politics." But he won't.
Why be bound up with a small part of the country when everything is
that much bigger? And he causes so much dissension among blacks. I
think he's a wonderful fellow and I try as much as possible not to say
in public anything to disturb him but its difficult. But of course
Inkatha is a black people's organization. And its incredible the people
who are involved in Durban. Bill Bengu of BPO acknowledges this. Its
lawyers, doctors, professional men. But what we say is if Inkatha were
to be cut off from KwaZulu, it could become a wonderful movement. Yes,
it would Brobably be banned along with Gatsha, the same time But
as long as Inkatha is linked to a homeland its terribly divisive. I hear
students are being forced to join; (I know teachers are.) Of course the
govt. supports it. (re Thula) they clashed after Thula quoted something
Gatsha had said against foreign investment and now he is in support of
it. There were some terrible tough things by migrants against Soweto
kids. (Ina then cited bullying in four schools that Thula stopped and
was afterwards "given hell." And also said within Kwa-Zulu where there
had been trouble about pensions & she tried to help someone "this is a
completely autocratic regime inside Kwa-Zulu." Motlana asked if it were
worse than with Phatudi & this was the answer.) Of course the chieftain
ship must go; all these little despots. They should be replaced by
elected village councils. You know in Inkatha "they have to ask him


about


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Motlana, Dr. N. Mar 1. 1979


everything; even the colour of their shoes" (I cited talking withthe
Ministers of Educ. & Interior & how Gatsha asked their opinions & also
left the room when we were talking ) But he still makes the big decis o1
and after all he/s got the govt. with him. In Soweto also teachers are
forced to join and the police backs him up. (I asked if it was true
that Soweto was 60% Zulu) No that's too high; of course the migrants
are Zulu; & then many people lika from outside, Malawi etc. may say
they are Zulu because its easy. (Ina: you'd be amazed how many women
are Inkatha. In the Sunday Times last year there was an article with
photos & I was shaken to realize how many I knew. I'm talking about
teachers & professional women and in private conversation afterwards
many say that its because it has govt. support they join; that is that
they don't think any organization without that support can survive. )
Motlana then cited a woman named Pauline, a nurse, who is close to
Soweto & she belongs to Inkatha because she thinks that one day they
may go back to Kwa-Zulu and she sees this membership as necessary since
Inkatha controls the schools. Its not at all the notion of liberation
but of fear. They come Htax together for a social gathering & because
their children get into school because they're Inkatha. Its hogwash!
(I raised the matter of self-help, tilling small plots to grow their own
food.Y in Natal). There's none of that in Soweto; if so it would be v.
tpod. Kwa-Zulu needs it. (Ina mentioned Mrs. Thula's work in Timbaza)
We all wisA Inkatha would make itself more useful in regard to the
workers, black trade unions. When they move in that direct watch for
the govt. Talked about the former Minister of Labour who intervened in
the Durban strike and another in 1978? who would have been the chap
to head this up but Gatsha quarrelled with him so he's outt


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