Inkatha’s political programme contains contradictions. The movement presents itself as a modernising, liberalising force while simultaneously developing a conservative, precapitalist ideology to retain its rural political base. These tensions are exemplified in Inkatha’s attempts to engage women politically. Two instances are examined: the replacement of the Natal Code of Bantu Law by the KwaZulu Code, which removed the minority status of African women in law; and the efforts in the early 1980s to use the Inkatha Women’s Brigade to pacify the youth in the face of school boycotts.