Israel and the Bantustans

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VOL. 15


No. 3
P. 53
Israel and the Bantustans

In the middle of August 1985, while the world was watching South Africa writhe in agony, the chief of the Zulus was taking a camel ride in Jerusalem. The chief, 55-year-old Gatsha Buthelezi, was on an official visit to Israel. That Buthelezi was also chief minister of the bantustan, [A bantustan is an area designated by the South African government as the native country of a given tribe of blacks, usually austere and far from employment. Through forcible removals of blacks, the government is reducing their presence in white areas and around urban centers; four bantustans have already been declared independent countries, and South Africa's intention is for all the pseudo-states to do likewise.]  or "tribal homeland," of KwaZulu did not detract from the warm welcome he received from the Israeli government. Not since the 1976 visit of South African Prime Minister John Vorster had Israel given a South African official such a high-visibility reception.

Jane Hunter is the publisher of Israeli Foreign Affairs, an independent monthly research report, and the author of Undercutting Sanctions-Israel, the U.S. and South Africa (Washington, D.C.: Washington Middle East Associates, 1986).