When asked why he established Inkatha, Dr. Buthelezi said:
"I wanted democratic forces emerging in South Africa to accept a multi-strategy approach and offer to work in harmony with the ANC Mission in Exile. In 1974 when I set about gathering leaders together to establish Inkatha in 1975, I set about doing so with the clear intention NOT of subverting the ANC Mission in Exile - but of proving to them that democratic opposition to apartheid and non-violent tactics and strategies were still possible."
His attitude was that if the ANC Mission in Exile had (understandably) opted for violence, then it was incumbent on black South Africans to prove that democratic opposition could be productive. Dr. Buthelezi added:
"I rallied black South Africans under the national colours of black South Africa - black, green and gold. I brought together a very considerable constituency, which had provided the old ANC with grass-root support while it was in the country. We sang old freedom songs and in every way identified with the ANC Mission in Exile. I told my people that they were our brothers and sisters and we should wage a struggle in harmony with them."
Dr. Buthelezi kept in contact with the ANC Mission in Exile and liaised with their offices in Swaziland. His emissaries had frequent meetings with the ANC Mission in Exile personnel. "I sent emissaries abroad charging them to argue the merits of a multi- strategy approach with them, and to offer co-operation in those projects where Inkatha's aims and objectives coincided with the ANC Mission in Exile aims and objectives - and where tactics and strategies were not mutually hostile…." said Buthelezi.
There was one issue about which Dr. Buthelezi made his views abundantly clear. He and Inkatha had never accepted the unilateral decision, which the ANC Mission in Exile had made, to commit black South Africa to the armed struggle as the primary means of bringing about change. He said: "I established Inkatha as a black liberation movement in the sincere hope that the dangerous divisions in black politics could be bridged. I could not side with the Black Consciousness Movement's rejection of the ANC Mission in Exile. I understood the grave difficulties, which the ANC Mission in Exile had been facing in the outside world. Both in South Africa and abroad I argued in public that the ANC had been driven underground by South African police brutality and that it was understandable that in an exiled position, where they were rejected by the West, the Mission in Exile should seek recourse in violence."
"I accepted that the ANC Mission in Exile having being rejected by the West, would naturally seek alliances elsewhere. It was for me understandable that they should start thinking in terms of the application of force against apartheid. I, however, never accepted the unilateral decision, which the ANC Mission in Exile made to commit black South Africa to the armed struggle as the primary means of bringing about change once they were in exile. They never consulted black South Africa about this very fundamental step. They made the decision unilaterally only after they had been in exile for some years".
In response to Dr. Buthelezi's and others questioning whether the armed struggle had a mandate from black South Africa, Mr. Joe Slovo, a member of the ANC Mission in Exile and the head of Umkhonto weSizwe, its military wing acknowledged: "The attempts, particularly in the West, to question this policy and to influence the ANC to consider the adoption of a "peaceful road to change" is nothing less than a recipe for submission and surrender of national liberation aims. We must bear in mind that the ANC was declared illegal long before it adopted a policy of armed struggle".
The decision of Dr. Buthelezi and the Inkatha National Cultural Liberation Movement, and later the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) not to support and adopt the ANC Mission in Exile's armed struggle would later be one the greatest points of conflict between the ANC and Inkatha. This conflict would result in the tragic loss of lives on both sides
Inkatha under the leadership of Dr. M.G. Buthelezi, however, remained firm in their rejection of the armed struggle.