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Fri, 03.21.1975

The Inkatha Freedom Party is formed.

The Inkatha Freedom Party logo

*The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was founded on this date in 1975. IFP is a right-wing political party in South Africa.

The dawn of apartheid in the 1940s marked major changes for all Black South Africans. In 1953, the South African Government introduced the homelands. During the 1960s, the Government's objective was to form a tribal authority and provide for the gradual development of self-governing Bantu national units. The first Territorial Authority for the Zulu people was in 1970, which defined the Zulu homeland of KwaZulu. On March 30, 1972, the first Legislative Assembly of KwaZulu was held.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who served as chief minister of KwaZulu during the Apartheid period, founded the party and led it until 2019. He was succeeded as party president in 2019 by Velenkosini Hlabisa. Educated Blacks viewed Buthelezi with suspicion and saw him as representing largely older people, the traditional, and those in the Government's pay. More so than any other opposition, his tough stand against independence for the Zulu people, which formed 20% of the total population, destroyed the Government's hopes to construct 'a constellation of black states' out of the homeland system.

Although registered as a national party, it has had only minor electoral success outside its home province of KwaZulu-Natal. During the first decade of the post-Apartheid period, the IFP received over 90% of its support from ethnic Zulus. Since then, the party has increased national support by promoting conservative social and economic policies. In the 2019 general election, the IFP came in fourth place nationally, winning 3.38% of the vote and 14 seats in the National Assembly. In the 2016 municipal elections, the party's support grew for the first time since 1994. The party had reclaimed support in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. The African National Congress (ANC) and DA both suggested that the NFPs' inability to participate in the election contributed to the party's surge in support.

The party retained control of the Nkandla Local Municipality, the residence of former ANC president Jacob Zuma. The party grew its support in the May 2019 general elections and won back the title of official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal. Hlabisa became the leader of the opposition in the legislature, as he was the party's premier candidate. Buthelezi confirmed his intention to stand down as leader. Hlabisa was elected president of the IFP at the party's 35th National General Conference in August 2019.

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