The Inkatha Freedom Party presents itself now as a moderate non-racial force in South African politics. The author is concerned with the period from 1975, when a women's wing was inaugurated within Inkatha, to 1990, when Inkatha became a political party. The paper highlights significant areas of women's experience that Inkatha has appropriated and woven into its discourse. The key areas identified are: the family/household, and motherhood. Despite Inkatha's reconstitution of the ideology of the family along supposedly "traditional' lines, this reconstitution has been strongly influenced by the ideology of a nuclear family which derives from capitalist, Christian society. This in turn places Inkatha's notions of the family within the same framework as that of the state, and makes it possible for interventions by the state, eg the National Family Programme, to coincide with Inkatha's own projects to establish control in Natal. Any attempt to understand Inkatha's construction of gender has to be located within an understanding of Inkatha's reconstitution of "Zulu tradition' and its manipulation of popular conceptions of tradition for political purposes. -from Author

Discussion Papers - McGill Univeristy, Centre for Developing Area Studies

Hassim, S. (1991). Conservative politics and the construction of gender in South Africa. Discussion Papers - McGill Univeristy, Centre for Developing Area Studies, 67.